Expertise | 7 min read

The pursuit of customisation: how social media impacts men's fashion trends

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Customisation used to mean changing the colour of your sneakers or placing your name on a bag. In the era of social media, customisation has largely become a trend of showcasing your outfit creations and latest purchases on social media.

This trend is even more obvious in the last year, with Instagram a driving force for consumers, fashion influencers and brands alike. Let’s take a look at how customisation has become a status symbol for a fashion tribe we named ‘Luxury Seekers’.

Where does customisation come from?

Fashion marketing has undergone a digital revolution over the last few years.  But one of the principles remains the same for premium products: brands and designers aim to tell a story to impact consumer purchase decision in a way that this results in longing for status and luxury products.  

This has seen a raft of inspirational content shared across Instagram – from luxury style inspiration to luxury watch accounts. As such, this fast-growing trend of luxury seeking has resulted in a need for exclusivity.  

Luxury seekers – customisation as the ultimate status symbol

Who are the luxury seekers? Our research about men’s fashion trends on Instagram uncovered a diverse community who shares premium purchases, with a particular focus on watches. 18% of all content tagged with #luxury also featured a watch-related hashtag, including #watch and #luxurywatch.

Custom-made fashion items were seen as the ultimate status symbol within this community: 11% of content included the #bespoke hashtag, with shoes and tailoring being popular expressions of this.  Luxury Seekers also use hashtags such as #luxurylife, #luxurylifestyle and #premium, further demonstrating the aspirational nature of this fashion tribe.

Luxury seeker profiles had a high overall reach due to the high brand penetration and popular luxury-orientated accounts like @luxallday (1.5M followers).

The rise of personalisation and Boss’ #bespoke hashtag

Brands have recognised that consumers love customising their accessories. As Jodie Fox, co-founder of custom women’s shoe company Shoes of Prey, points out: “Customisation is a really important thing now, really having that ownership and connection to what consumers want.”

A recent study done by Infosys reveals, that 59% of shoppers who have experienced personalisation believed it had a noticeable influence on purchasing. This explains why personalising accessories, such as shoes, bags, watches, jewellery, sunglasses, and cufflinks is popular. 11% of content within the Luxury Seekers tribe included the #bespoke hashtag, which has been further tailored for specific product items - #bespokebag, #bespokeshoes and #bespokesuit being prevalent examples.

Brands are also responding to this by promoting specific items that can be customised. This is where brands apply simple product marketing strategies – by showcasing a single item they focus consumer attention purely on the distinctive nature of that item.  

Hugo Boss shares inspirational designs while adapting “#bespoke” to both their brand name and the product item, as in the case of their #bossbespokebag hashtag, which helps target and reach a specific audience.  

Other premium labels showcase whole outfits being worn by celebrities, such as Burberry’s recent picture of Stormzy and Flipz at Wimbledon 2017.

#Stormzy and #Flipz are pictured in @Burberry tailoring at #Wimbledon, London

A post shared by Burberry (@burberry) on

Influencers or brand ambassadors are also leveraged within custom-made product posts.  British premium loafer specialists, Duke & Dexter, take this further by including @danielcordas in their updates and referencing that he’s their bespoke artist.  He has over 30,000 followers on Instagram and focuses primarily on bespoke footwear.  

In the below example, Duke & Dexter have combined several aspirational elements - a customised shoe along with a range of paints and fabrics that emphasise endless creative options, along with the uniqueness of hand-painted designs by Daniel Cordas.

 

Customisation – big opportunities for brands

Instagram provides an ideal platform for the customisation trend as it offers consumers a window into extravagant lifestyles, showcasing luxury holiday resorts, customised jewellery and designer clothes. This aspirational world stands at the centre of the platform and is key to the fashion industry.

With men increasingly customising and personalising, brands should take this opportunity to exploit different ways of tackling the marketing of retail and luxury goods.  Brands are advised to look beyond the more generic and traditional approaches to targeting specific audiences, such as the luxury seekers tribe. Experiment with the interplay between events, social media marketing, storytelling, and even with diversifying your social media posts with exclusive hashtags used by consumers in the luxury domain.  

Customisation is one of the many trends we identified in our research on men’s fashion trends found on social media. Using social data helps brands develop content narratives, run targeted marketing campaigns, inform product development and reduce the cost of future marketing.

For more than 10 years, Linkfluence has helped multinational brands improve their retail marketing and understand the social web, using award-winning technology and a team of insight experts.

Get in touch to hear more about how social data intelligence can help your marketing strategies.

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