On Tuesday, the word "selfie" was added to the Oxford Dictionaries online. As was "twerk," so it doesn't sound like that big of an achievement to me. But regardless of my personal disdain for the word—really, it's the worst—I have to admit that it must mean something that it's been recognized by a "respectable" organization.
And to be sure, no other industry has been affected by selfies in the same way as fashion. Unlike a personal style blog, which typically requires the blogger to plan her outfit, have someone photograph her, and often tell a story around said outfit, a selfie is spontaneous. It's raw. It's showing what the person looks like in the middle of the day, the middle of the night, before makeup and before bedtime. And that's why it might prove to be a far more effective marketing tool than a traditional blog.
Consider Cara Delevingne. The browtastic model has basically made a career out of posting selfies. Without them, her personality would not be so fully formed, and without her personality there's little doubt her client list would be far shorter. Other models have also benefited from self-expression through selfies. In the UK, modeling agency Next ran a contest in which the winner would be chosen by a selfie she submitted. And hot-again model Jourdan Dunn recently posed for the cover of I-D magazine in selfie-mode.
And it's not just models. From market editors to beauty bloggers, selfies offer an easy way to show off their world--much easier than uploading a blog post. Even Anna Wintour has contributed a selfie to Vogue's Instagram.
But where the real opportunity in the selfie is advertising. Brands have used user generated content to drive traffic to their sites for years. Most recently, GQ launched a "How GQ Are You?" feature, where users can upload selfies and get rated by other readers. With the advent of selfie culture, getting a larger group of people to do something like that is easier than ever. Now all they have to do is say, "selfie" and the user knows just what to do. Sounds like a brilliant marketing scheme to us.