Social media has definitely played its role in bringing small and medium sized businesses to the forefront. The fashion industry has not been exempt to this digital epidemic. This epidemic though, is a good thing, in that the industry no longer only belongs to the high-end couture-like brands that once ruled the world of fashion. It belongs to the seamstress who is able to deliver impeccable services, it belongs to the dreamer who would one day love to see his designs on his role model, it belongs to the illustrator whose sketches might just go viral and it belongs to the stylist who could well be exposed to an even wider world if she looked a bit closer.

Not only has exposure and visibility come out of it for the otherwise unseen designer, it has broadened horizons in an immeasurable manner giving African designers an insight into the fashion industry overseas as well.  Trends can now be watched globally from Africa and vice-versa. Designers all over the world are now able to freely interact with each other taking on several inspirations from each other globally. In this regard, Fashion has become its own language.

Within Africa, the labour market has equally seen an exponential growth. Digital marketing has paved a way for the Mountain to inadvertently go to Mohammed… retailers no longer have to physically visit potential clients, they engage the use of digital influencers. Digital influencers are individuals with what can be called a ‘digital net worth’. This digital net worth can be calculated in form of reach i.e. the number of followers. All of a sudden, jobs are created and social media influencers as they are otherwise called is an actual thing and voila that’s one new job created where there would have otherwise been a gap.

Fashion Models are not only limited to being scouted in busy malls or restricted to as many people look through their physical portfolios. Their portfolio is online with each model sub-consciously noting that their Instagram and Facebook pages have become their default portfolio. This has led to many getting scouted for runways across Africa. Now, whatever you put up is being sold to an audience so wide, the opportunities are truly limitless. If the scout has a smartphone, chances are they just might see your portfolio.

Fashion stylists are also making use of the digital space to share their work and be on the look-out for fresh new clothing boutiques and designers for their clients. For small and medium scale designers, this is huge as many have gotten their big break from designing for celebrities.

Small and Medium scale fashion enterprises haven’t been the only beneficiaries of this amazing new feat; the High-End fashion houses have benefited as well by being able to curate and share some of their designs and inspirations online, their aspirational traits have never been more in demand. First hand, the consumer is able to fall in love with their pieces and the upcoming designer is able to aspire to be like them someday. Online, they’re also watching for fresh new talent which they could put to good use: model, upcoming designer, illustrator, stylist and so on.

As fashion continues to evolve, the digital space does too and like clockwork, the minute and hour hands seem to be working quite well simultaneously. Such is the relationship between Fashion and Digital. Digital has truly become the open marketplace for the fashion fiend and it’s not looking like it will be stopping anytime soon. If anything, with new technology in the works such as digital printing, it’s only up from here on out.


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