As a way to share news, opinions and media in real time, Twitter has become a must-use platform for those attending, covering and interested in fashion week. But this season, a popular hashtag other than #NYFW has emerged: #fashionflock.
When we first noticed people like Rachel Zoe, Steven Kolb and BagSnob's Tina Craig using the hashtag at the ends of their fashion week tweets with no context, we were a little confused. What does fashion flock mean? Were we missing something? Had some club formed that we weren't informed of? Is everyone hanging out without me? Turns out, the entity behind the hashtag is, in fact, Twitter.
"Each fashion week we see there are designers and influencers going on Twitter to share their experiences," Rachel Dodes, Twitter's head of fashion and film partnerships, explained over the phone Sunday. "While this is always happening, we wanted to invite many of the top influencers and form an exclusive group." The Twitter team reached out to about 50 "influencers" -- designers, editors, bloggers and celebrities -- that they had relationships with. "It's totally voluntary and fun," said Dodes.
So what's the point? In addition to creating an edited list of people to follow, the initiative has a sponsorship angle. Twitter partnered with Mophie to provide all members with the first customized (with the user's handle and "#fashionflock") juice pack cases for the iPhone 6, which, naturally, can now be purchased by using Twitter's new "Buy Now" feature. It also partnered with Ladurée to send each member special macarons, widely known as the most photogenic of desserts, with the Twitter logo. While Ladurée has teamed up with a number of brands -- many of them in fashion -- on special boxes and flavors, this is the first time in the bakery chain's 150-year history that it's featured a company logo on its product.
Twitter piloted the program last season with less than 20 people and without any sponsorship. "We noticed it would be really helpful to offer them something cool and exclusive and unique," mentioned Dodes, like the ability to "live-tweet fashion week without having to run out of power." Twitter also provided participants with its own tips and best practices, like how to use photo filters, post multiple photos in one tweet and take video. The members have not been compensated (aside from the Mophies and macarons) and don't have to use the hashtag or mention the sponsor. For instance, Kanye West, who is listed as one of the 50 participants, has yet to, well, participate.
"We would love it if they did [mention Mophie] but the key to all of this is it’s totally voluntary, we gave them a card with the handles for Mophie and Twitter Fashion and said thanks," explained Dodes, who believes the program is mutually beneficial for Twitter and the members. "We think it benefited the people who were part of [the #fashionflock program] because they got to really understand our best practices, saw their follower growth increase. It was really a two-way thing, we wanted to bring New York Fashion Week to the people and showcase Twitter’s unique capabilities."
And the name? "We love bird metaphors at Twitter and I feel like the people who go to fashion week and who follow fashion for the entire month are like a flock of birds." The program will continue into the European fashion weeks and Dodes says Twitter hopes to do "something innovative" during fashion week each season going forward.
Cover photo: Craig Barritt/Getty Images