From collaborating with Charli D’Amelio to livestreaming what used to be exclusive fashion shows, labels are going all in, and it’s paying off with hundred million views.
By August of 2020, the end of the pandemic was nowhere in sight and everyone was just trying to live their lives in lockdown.
On video-sharing platform TikTok, however, users stuck at home with all the spare time in the world were posting videos of themselves in whimsical, layered outfits in response to the viral “Gucci Model Challenge.” It garnered over 12 million views.
But Gucci had nothing to do with this online sensation. It was neither a marketing move from their team nor an attempt to join the platform. It happened organically within the community, but it proved to be an example of what the platform can do for luxury labels.
As early as late 2019, some brands have already opened TikTok accounts, but others who haven’t, seemingly took note of the viral challenge, and in the same year, launched their respective official pages on the platform.
Here’s how high-end fashion labels have been using their TikTok accounts so far.
Inviting TikTok stars
What better way to gain traction than to tap the platform’s biggest stars.
At Milan Fashion Week in early 2020, Prada invited Charli D’ Amelio, TikTok’s young powerhouse with a whopping 106 million followers, to be in the front row of the Fall/Winter show. The 16-year-old also gave her followers virtual access to the show by sharing footage of the looks from the runway, as well as behind-the-scenes photos.
Noen Eubanks, also a TikTok star with over seven million followers at the time, joined Celine in November 2019 to be the brand’s new face. It came as a surprise for Celine fans as the 18-year-old personality was not a model or what would traditionally be considered a celebrity like an actor or a musician. But his looks and his following from creating funny dance videos was enough for Hedi Slimane to take notice.
Charli’s sister Dixie, also a TikTok star, also partnered with Ralph Lauren, along with fellow influencers Andres Willey, Iani Baker, and Sam Hurley, for the “5 Ways to Wear It” initiative. They all starred in a series of videos where they styled select pieces from the new collection while dancing to music in typical TikTok fashion.
Ralph Lauren did not stop at “5 Ways to Wear It.” They also launched the #WinningRL challenge, which dared users to create videos where they are either winning in tennis like the campaign star, actress Diana Silvers, or in real life outside TikTok.
Are you winning at real life? 🏆 Tell us how with #WinningRL and we’ll pick 3 champs♬ Clap – TikTok アシスタント
It garnered 825 million views all in all.
For the launch of the Thomas Burberry Monogram collection, Burberry challenged users to recreate the monogram motifs with their own hands. The #TBChallenge was a success, with over 111 million views.
Ready for the #TBChallenge? Master the Thomas Burberry Monogram now♬ Some Velvet Morning (feat. Kate Moss) – Primal Scream
Livestreaming runway shows
At the height of the pandemic last year, fashion labels flocked to digital platforms for runway shows.
What used to be invite-only events became open to the public—or at least any of the platform’s users.
Paris, World, we are stronger than ever together. It was very important to make this accessible to all. Thank you for the support #balmainsurseine♬ original sound – BALMAIN
Balmain, during Paris’ Digural Couture Week, presented its show supporting Black Lives Matter, via TikTok.
The likes of Prada, Louis Vuitton, JW Anderson, and Yves Saint Laurent also livestreamed their shows on the platform September last year.
A peek behind the scenes
Designers also joined the platform in the last year or so, including Simon Porte Jacquemus, JW Anderson, and Balmain’s Olivier Rousteing.
They all granted TikTok users access to their design processes for new collections.
Other brands like Calvin Klein dug through their existing video materials to repurpose for the platform.
For instance, behind-the-scenes videos of Kendall Jenner, A$AP Rocky, Noah Centeno, and Shawn Mendes from the My Calvins Spring 2019 jeans and underwear campaign shoot were shortened to fit TikTok’s time limit.
Apart from brand recall and views, the limit of TikTok’s power for luxury brands remains to be seen. The platform recently tested a new feature called TikTok Shop.
It will allow creators and brands to sell their products and services directly to TikTok users. There’s no word yet, though, if or when TikTok Shop, which was selectively tested in Europe, will roll out worldwide.