The uneven crossroad of Twitter and fashion
The corner of Twitter dedicated to fashion, or “Fashion Twitter,” is a weird place. It has never really been a place for in-depth exploration of fashion trends or to share what’s hot this Spring/Summer, but is more of a space for surface-level content. I think this is primarily due to the fact that other social media platforms have much more pointed communities for serious fashion talk, leaving Twitter to be the home of more superficial discussion.
Fashion Twitter has many different facets, but at its roots, it primarily serves two purposes: First as a medium for people to vent and second, to post fashion memes. Both of these uses of Fashion Twitter have attracted fashion snobs and marginally attached fashion consumers alike.
While the brands themselves don’t have a hold on the Fashion Twitter market, designers from Kanye West to Hedi Slimane have used the site to express their various troubles with the industry. Slimane's since-deleted rant started with the following tweet:
“FACT CHECKING / THERE HAVE BEEN INACCURATE STATEMENTS ON RECENT ARTICLES REGARDING HEDI AND THE USAGE OF THE YSL HISTORICAL LOGO”
It then snowballed into an in-depth, third-person account that I call “YSL: FOR THE RECORD,” highlighting Silmane's long history of using the YSL logo in his two different tenures at the helm of the fashion house (first as Menswear Ready-to-Wear director, then as Creative Director).
Kanye West has had his fair share of Twitter diatribes, as well: He (questionably) took to Twitter to ask Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, to invest in him after pointing out how many fashion houses have shot down his ideas because he is considered an outsider.
West also used the site to complain about how so many houses were biting the designs of Slimane rather than pushing the envelope, which is something that has been seen over the past few years.
It is interesting to me how designers and artists on the level of Slimane and West have used Twitter as the choice outlet for their frustrations. To me, the value of Twitter has always been the ability to send small tidbits of information to a large audience, so from that perspective it makes perfect sense to use it to express discontent with a situation. At the same time, however, the Twitter demographic does not seem to align perfectly with the group that someone like Slimane would be looking to reach through his self-defense. A couple fashion blogs will pick up the story and run with it, which is where it will gain traction, but it’s extremely rare to see Fashion Twitter having a serious conversation about the tweets themselves.
On the other end of Fashion Twitter are accounts like Four Pins. Since shutting down its blog in late 2015, Four Pins Twitter account has continued in high spirits. They can be found talking trash about Roshe Runs.
Or providing plenty of content to tag “your most swagless homie” (i.e. your only other friends interested in fashion on Twitter) in.
These tweets are lighthearted jokes that people who are interested in fashion can relate to, just like any other Twitter community but on a much smaller scale (compared to Four Pins who has 200,000 followers).
Something that I’ve asked myself is what value does Fashion Twitter add to the fashion scene as a whole? Facebook is great for buying and selling highly sought-after items, Instagram is a fantastic platform (for better or worse) to “flex“ the latest pickup and for the proliferation of trends in general and then there’s Twitter. Besides memes and the occasional tirade, I don’t think that Twitter adds much else, but paradoxically that’s what makes it so useful.
For something that many people view as a hobby, fashion can be terribly competitive: Competition shows itself on Facebook through people constantly seeking the most iconic (and expensive) garments from a designer, and it shows on Instagram with users always trying to post outfits in the most exclusive pieces. This sense of competition comes from the sense of urgency that has plagued the fashion industry. While everyone from designers to Instagram users are working so hard to be perceived as trailblazers in their own ways, Fashion Twitter hangs back and provides a place for people to complain from time-to-time and to post dumb jokes. For people like myself, this can be a much-needed break from the competitive scene.