A behind-the-scenes look at why we buy the things we buy, whether it’s booty leggings or a Cult Gaia dress.
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Tiffany Kohut, a blonde woman, said in a TikTok video: “This is my little reminder that if you want a dress, go buy a floating dress.” She’s pointing to a photo of Cult Gaia’s Shannon dress that she recently bought to wear at her wedding party. Although her average viewership is about 1 thousand per post, this video has a whopping 365 thousand. It’s a model that many creative people, both amateur and professional like Kohut — she’s a social media manager and blogger — have experienced when they post about fashion or clothing brands that go viral on their profiles.
“There are a lot of people turning to social media for advice and inspiration about fashion, and the videos on TikTok For You can prove it,” Kohut said. And she’s right. If you click on the #CultGaia start card in the caption, you’ll see 2.1 million views for videos about the brand’s products. In particular, the Serita dress, a knitted maxi that fits the side cuts that create a bra shape with an open back, is the main feature on this platform. Some videos show people opening brand boxes and trying on the dress for the first time, gasping when they see themselves in the eye of the camera. Others showed that a popular “dupe” from Amazon cost hundreds of dollars less than the original. It’s real-time reviews from millions of colleagues that create authentic feeling videos. Why don’t you trust that more than an ad or a sponsored post?
The most incredible part about the virality of fashion-tok is that it’s not limited to any brand, person or even item. You can see a dress go viral and suddenly your entire For You page is flooded with videos of people from all over the world wearing it. For brands, it’s a huge opportunity to be included in the development list in a way that no other social media platform has. Sure, you can get an influencer to advertise your clothes on Instagram and that’s sure to drive sales, but it doesn’t translate into thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands of videos of everyday people wearing your clothes and linking to it.
According to CNBC, social e-commerce sales are expected to grow 35.8% in 2021 to $36.62 billion. While they don’t break this down by platform, it’s fair to say that TikTok is driving a large portion of this increase because just a year ago, it wasn’t even considered in the numbers.
That’s why TikTok’s influence on fashion is t-making – it’s still relatively new. The platform launched in the United States in 2018, and in 2020, when the Coronavirus pandemic pushed most people inside and out of their normal lives, there were 2 billion downloads and 850 million monthly active users. Gone are the days when influencers were the only ones involved in the activity of fashion content and now anyone wants to be a part of it.
Dr. Dawnn Karen, a fashion psychologist and author of Your Best Life Costumes. “We used to dress other people, like your boss, your family or your friends. However, when we don’t see each other anymore, we have to dress. We had to look in the mirror and think about something. Clothes mean a sense to us. “She goes on to say that TikTok is the perfect place to marry newly formed individualism with our authentic and community needs through clothing, which doesn’t go away just because we’re stuck at home and barely dressed.” TikTok’s continuous scrolling also creates this FOMO, you keep seeing the same thing over and over again, giving a reinforcement that you need to buy that dress. All of these people feel normal like you can trust them,” Dr. Karen explains, adding that it’s something of a self-fulfilling prophecy. “If you keep seeing something over and over again, you’ll feel inclined to participate.”
The platform’s algorithm makes it so that once you’re interested in something, you’ll see a LOT of that stuff. If you want to buy a dress, the trial videos will reveal it from every possible angle and on people with very different body styles – some people make colorful comments and answer questions you might have about the item – allowing you to experience it 360 degrees deeper than a website. Retail supply. When you watch multiple in a row, it’s like you already own the dress; You’re hanging out with it, watching it live.
While TikTok seems to have balanced who becomes a fashion content creator, there’s no doubt that traditional influencers still play an important role in which brands and styles breakthrough. “Creators are still starting the trend,” Ali Berman, Partner & Head of Digital Talent at United Talent Agency, said in a call with Zoom. Berman represents some of the biggest creators on TikTok including Charli and Dixie D’Amelio. “It’s not for you without a video about what Emma Chamberlain was wearing,” she said. For the unfamiliar, Chamberlain is one of the top YouTubers and an indisputable Generation Z celebrity. On TikTok, she often shares her OOTD with her 10 million followers, garnering between 3 and 10 million views each time.
Together, brands and influencers like Chamberlain were able to move on to a new era of viral fashion marketing. “The entire Gaia cult took off after going viral on Instagram years ago, and since then, we’ve been lucky enough to recreate that moment a number of times with our everyday celebrities and Gaia girls now on TikTok as a frontier of fashion – social media focus, “Jasmin Larian, founder and creative director of the brand explains. She said the brand’s success on TikTok started with Serita dresses worn by everyone from Jennifer Lopez to Tracey Ellis Ross, but then really grew when content creators started creating 60-second trial videos that were easy to understand about their other styles.
There’s no exact formula or metric for which factors make up a fashion video that goes viral on TikTok, but there are three main types of content that dominate the platform and garner 5,000 views per video. For starters, if there’s a photo of a celebrity or influencer wearing a particular item, many videos use these examples as a kind of comparison review between a “real” person and a better-looking celebrity. In a way, influencers will promote style and everyone else can run that style.
The second general theme is the agreed-upon fit for a very specific body type. Australian brand With Jéan has a viral dress that fits what many on TikTok call a “medium-sized” body. Most of the test videos highlight the folding style that highlights the waist and hips without being pinched. (We’ll probably throw leggings whose booty is going viral into this category because what they do with buttocks is the main topic of conversation about them on TikTok.) in quality or brand, such as Christopher John Rogers for Target or Aritzia’s vegan leather Melina pants.
Around last year, when we just sat at home feeling lonely that some of us had never experienced, these conversations about regenerative fashion gave us a way to connect. Style is personal, but it can also be to find common ground. And brands have taken note of this feedback loop And they’re trying to maintain it. Dr. Dawnn Karen explains that many of them are actually looking at how and why we buy things to better regulate their marketing. She can’t go into specifics, but she does mention that getting to the root of this connection is something brands can use when forming new products or selling us the products they’ve made. For example, suppose a peak receives traction between people with larger busts. A brand can recognize they have potential with those customers and continue to meet them in a more targeted way. TikTok, like any social media, is basically a free focus group that never stops talking and savvy brands are paying attention.
However, there is a downside to all this success on TikTok. As some items have thousands of videos, the rise of popular counterfeits found on sites like Amazon or Shein also increases. In the case of Cult Gaia, having a dress on Amazon is almost indistinguishable from Serita when you can’t feel the material and are often considered by users to look for a more reasonable option. “Of course, when things go viral, it’s only a matter of time before we encounter tons of counterfeit goods being sold on the market. We’ve been going through this for years and it gets particularly bad when we launched Serita,” Larian explained. Tiktok’s viral cycle is new territory in the world of scams and faster fashion as it is no longer a guessing game for the Shein’s and Amazons of the world. We know what people want to buy based solely on views, and these brands are likely to bring similar designs to market within a few days. Not only does this compromise the integrity of the stylist’s creators, but the cheap and labor-intensive materials used to create these panties are contributing to a cycle of abuse and overuse that is rampant in fashion. It was not an attack, but an operation that exploited everyone involved.
While tok fashion has had a huge feel, it’s safe to say it’s just getting started. By the end of 2021, analytics firm App Annie predicts that the platform expects to have 1 billion active users, many of whom are likely to be involved in the popular clothing trends we’ve encountered over the past year and a half. For brands and style lovers, growth is an opportunity to change what and who is becoming popular in the fashion industry. As we enter the first real Fashion Month since the Coronavirus pandemic, many luxury brands may try to tap into strategies that have proven successful for Cult Gaia and others. There’s also the opportunity for smaller designers to get the attention of the averages in ways that a huge, expensive fashion show really can’t. If this year has taught us anything, it’s that things can change when you least expect it — and in fashion, TikTok can be the catalyst.