The gap between the denim supply chain and influencers is closing.
At Bluezone in Munich, Germany last week, social media influencers shared how denim mills can tap into their vast and information-seeking audiences through collaborations, special products and as a vehicle to share their messages about sustainability and innovation.
Mills are “recognizing the power” and the influence of social media and the people who manage accounts, said Will Varnam, a freelance writer who uses the Instagram handle @rugged_style. By partnering with an influencer, Varnam said the supply chain is able to reach more people and tap into specific areas of expertise, knowledge and interest. “Influencers have become a go-between from the mill and the producer to the consumer,” he added.
And communicating to the end consumer has never been more important.
“Mills are representing themselves more as a brand,” said Wouter Munnichs, founder of the blog Long John. And as a result, they’re looking for ways to reach the end consumer to “feed” them with information about the ingredients and processes that go into the jeans they purchase, he said.
“The new way of advertising is through influencers,” added Kelly Harrington, a textile consultant and social media influencer.
This year, Harrington teamed with Ukraine-based denim label Ksenia Schnaider to help promote the sustainable story behind its avant-garde denim designs, such as its signature asymmetrical jean.
The brand worked with Isko to develop the collection, using the mill’s sustainable Earth Fit fabrics. Earth Fit fabrics are made with organic cotton, pre- and post-consumer recycled cotton and recycled polyester from plastic bottles. Several fabrics in the range have been awarded the Nordic Swan EU Ecolabel, which evaluates a product’s total lifecycle from raw material to recycling, taking into account environmental problems in each part of the supply chain.
In her Instagram post for Ksenia Schnaider, Harringon showcases the brand’s cropped jean jacket and frayed shorts with a caption that describes Ksenia Schnaider’s experimental designs and the significance of the Isko fabrics and their environmental impact.
For Harrington, promoting Ksenia Schnaider’s collection on Instagram was an authentic choice. “It’s a brand I wore previously and I love it,” she said. “So for me, it was a perfect setup.”
Authenticity is currency in the social media world. Ruedi Karrer, owner of the Jeans Museum in Zurich and the Instagram account @swissjeansfreak, is arguable one of the most authentic denim heads. Karrer’s passion for denim has led him to become a popular fixture in the trade show scene and to develop strong relationships with key players along the denim supply chain, including Candiani Denim.
To mark Karrer’s 60th birthday, Candiani teamed with the jeans enthusiast to produce a limited-edition jean made with custom fabric. The jeans, which debuted at Bluezone, include a natural leather back patch etched with Karrer’s face and pocket bags share his story. In a couple of weeks, Karrer will announce on his social media channels where denim heads can buy the jeans, which will retail for 299.70 euros, with proceeds set to benefit his museum.