A recent survey that appeared in a popular online magazine flagged up the fashion editors to follow on Instagram: those key figures who, in between fashion shows, events like Pitti and important sets, post images that become a must-see for their droves of fashion-addicted fans.
Now they've gone from web-influencers to social-influencers, able to express, with a photo or a status on Twitter and Facebook, precise opinions from an expert’s point of view that become an important element in capturing the zeitgeist, the spirit of the times related to fashion and trends.
Looking carefully at the list, the names are all those of well-liked and knowledgeable professionals, a long way from the wannabes who invent a role for themselves without having the status to merit it.
Simone Marchetti, fashion editor of La Repubblica, Repubblica.it and D.Repubblica.it is definitely one of the best-known and most appreciated names among fashion lovers on the social networks. His articles are a must-read, and not just during the fashion weeks around the world; but alongside the undoubted caliber of his journalism, Marchetti is undeniably seen as an example to follow, with his impeccable personal style. We met Simone specifically to get his opinion on the importance of the web and social networks for the fashion industry.
You have been mentioned in various quarters as one of THE fashion writers to follow on the social networks. How helpful are Instagram or Facebook in your work?
Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and also Snapchat and WeChat are important sources of information for me. And I treat them with the same passion as a traditional magazine.
Can you think of any particular incidents linked to the social networks?
Lots. There are the people who stop you in the most unlikely places in the world (the latest was the Kasbah in Marrakesh where I was on holiday) and the requests for help, information and support. And then there's the spontaneous self-moderation of stupid or offensive comments.
And how helpful would you say the social networks are to fashion and creativity in general? Especially with the younger generations, for example.
Oh extremely, I'd say. For the smaller labels they're a mine of visibility, contacts and even business. But you need the right tools to decipher and understand the numbers in these IT tools. Fake followers remain a problem and falsifying data is still common. But having said that, the latest analyses from the United States show that social networks and apps are becoming even more important than the Internet itself.
Talking of the generation turnover in fashion, there's the "Who is on next" at Pitti in June. How important do you think these competitions are?
They're fundamental. They help, guide and provide support and visibility. The only risk is that they can make a label known without supporting it at a business level. Today more than ever, those who sell can keep going while all the rest disappear. So apart from the fashion shows and presentations, you also need someone to support sponsored labels at a business level for a least a year after their début in a competition.
Are there any previous winners or participants that you particularly like?
All the ones that went from being in the news, from the catwalk, from the event into business. I'm not interested in the ones that stop at the image.
Do you have any special memories or moments linked to Pitti?
The performance by Tilda Swinton and Olivier Saillard during the last Pitti Uomo. Especially when Tilda took my coat with the embroidered butterflies and turned it into a sort of microscope. It was an unforgettable fashion and theatre moment.