A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of being asked to weigh in on the growing anti-social trend amongst some of fashion's most prominent names, supers in the field who've bucked the trend and choose to say more with less.
I often think about going anti-social myself. I don't have a big following, about 30k across my profiles, and I often find myself with nothing worth sharing. It's not that I don't live an exciting life, it's more that I tire of having to update everyone on what I'm eating, where I'm traveling and what tissue paper I use to wipe my ass. I obviously adore those who manage to make any of that seem interesting, but inside I feel I just lack that creative spark/time/commitment/intereste to make a morning coffee look like a page in Vogue.
That being said, I've recently made adjustments to better Olivier Zahm my life, taking a page from the EIC of Purple Magazine's book of strategic oversharing and just adjusting my eye to focus on those around me versus at the mirror.
I'm sharing a good portion of this type of storytelling now, but much like the anti-socials spoken about in this story, I've chosen to keep those stories private to a smaller group of my personal insiders. I might not build a million follower personal following in my lifetime, but at least I'm keeping someone swiping right...
Thanks Navaz for thinking of me for this! You can read the full story below or at Glamour UK.
Some of fashion's most influential designers are fighting back against the tsunami of backstage snaps and #OOTD - in their own quietly cool way. Meet the new anti-socials, says Navaz Batliwalla.
When Marc Jacobs accidentally shared a nude selfie with his 191,000 Instagram followers last summer, it was the ultimate cringe moment - and we collectively blushed on his behalf. The powerhouse designer styled out his social slip-up with trademark humour, of course, but for the traditionally secretive fashion industry, the social-media boom has been a tricky path to navigate. And now there are signs of a backlash.
There's certainly no shortage of fashion chatter out there right now, but there's also a new wave of social-shy visionaries on the scene, rarely seen or heard on social media. When Alexander Wang stepped down from Balenciaga, his replacement was the influential yet little known Demna Gvasalia from anonymous (and beyond cool) design collective Vetements. Then there's Johnny Coca at Mulberry, who arrives from creating handbags for über-stealthy luxe label Céline. And at Hermès, the appointment of Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski as creative director has reignited our passion for all things equestrian without so much as a hint of a #shoefie or #throwbackthursday. Instead, her softer, sportier take on the label has hooked us in by shining a spotlight on the clothes, not herself.
It's an unexpected twist at a time when the pressure is on to step out from behind the cutting table.
It's an unexpected twist at a time when the pressure is on to step out from behind the cutting table and join the online conversation. For the likes of unstoppable Brand Beckham and Givenchy's Riccardo Tisci, the chummy insider access felt by their fans inspires brand loyalty and equals sales. It's the reason H&M announced its collaboration with Balmain's Olivier Rousteing on Instagram. What better way to speak to a million potential customers instantly than by embracing his 'Balmain Army'?
Yet an increasing number of key fashion players are just saying no.
Christopher Bailey, Phoebe Philo, Miuccia Prada, Raf Simons and Hedi Slimane are among the most influential names in fashion, but they're also the ones we know the least about. And that's no accident. "Mystery attracts - and personalities who maintain the allure can gain longevity in the industry," says Daniel Saynt, CEO of Socialyte, an agency that represents some of the world's leading creative influencers. For Hedi Slimane, a public Twitter spat with critic Cathy Horyn following his Saint Laurent debut led him to dial down his social-media presence to near zero. Meanwhile, Céline's Phoebe Philo has always been enigmatic. The designer famously hates explaining her collections, and has said that, "The chicest thing is when you don't exist on Google."
The chicest thing is when you don't exist on Google.
Trend-forecasting agency The Future Laboratory puts the shift down to 'Peak Real' - the reaction to the overstyled, Instagram-ready version of everyday life being portrayed on social media. "It's a term we came up with around the idea of Anti-Authenticity," says their branding expert, Daniela Walker. "We've come to an exhaustion point when we talk about authenticity because so much is very carefully crafted." Think teen Instagram star Essena O'Neill, who dramatically quit the social network after revealing some of her posts were, in fact, undisclosed ads for clothes she was paid to wear.
After nearly a decade of hardcore Facebooking, Instagramming and Tweeting, we need a break. Enough with the constant life documentation. Inspired by the likes of Lena Dunham (whose answer to troll fatigue was to swap social media for her 'Lenny' email newsletter), a new generation is rediscovering the benefits of privacy as we enter the 'deletist age', in which we're more choosy about what we put out there.
For fashion's new anti-socials, that means a less-is-more and decidedly hashtag-free approach. "Instead of following what's trending among the Instagram set, saying less allows them to maintain their vision, without becoming another blur in the feed," says Saynt.
Mystery attracts - and personalities who maintain the allure can gain longevity in the industry.
It's a strategy that means going easy on superficial selfies and keeping things sharply focused, explains Matthew Williamson's business director, Rosanna Falconer. "Our most-liked posts are a stolen moment in Matthew's favourite market on holiday or a close-up of hand embroidery that he took in his studio." For architecture geek (and Louis Vuitton creative director) Nicolas Ghesquière, that focus is on futuristic buildings discovered on his travels and a peek into the design atelier. In fact, far-flung landscapes and backstage snippets seem the common language of the minimal feeds of this discerning set, which includes super-stylists Marie-Amélie Sauvé and Melanie Ward, and press-shy Céline model Daria Werbowy (think Irish landscapes and arty self-portraits). Just enough of a glimpse into their inspiring worlds to keep us wanting more.
Are you tempted to dial down your own social chatter? Then you might want to take a leaf from the playbook of the stealth social set. As chief anti-social star Kate Moss would no doubt agree, this strong-but-silent strategy could actually enhance the appeal of your personal online brand.
WANT TO JOIN THE ANTI-SOCIALS?
Edit and filter... So that you're sharing without oversharing.
Avoid the obvious... Think: those ubiquitous magazine-and-coffee arrangements.
Be mysterious... It's OK to maintain a dignified silence occasionally.
Be yourself... Relax: Everyone loves the real you.
For more fashion insider musings, check out Navaz's blog at disneyrollergirl.net