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How TikTok is influencing fashion retail

Sophie Smith
29 November 2021

Whether you use TikTok or not, the global social media app has become one of the most influential platforms for the fashion industry. With the hashtag #FashionTikTok trending with over seven billion views, this massive community is only continuing to grow.

The British Fashion Council recently announced TikTok as the principal partner for The Fashion Awards 2021. Aiming to evolve the awards into a worldwide entertainment platform, the partnership will help to celebrate fashion through global streaming and bespoke content creation.

So, if you didn’t think TikTok was that influential in the fashion industry before, this massive partnership certainly emphasises it now.

Fashion trends dominate TikTok’s fashion content. These appear on a users’ FYP (for you page) and can feature anything from a clothing haul to styling inspiration. TikTok provides an accessible platform for creators, which is why these fashion trends and the products included often go viral.

From videos such as ‘outfits inspired by zodiac signs’ to ‘items ordered on Amazon vs how they turned out’, TikTok is home to a plethora of creative content. In particular, the ‘TikTok made me buy it trend’ was highly influential in getting users to purchase different products after viewing them via this viral trend.

Cassandra Russell, Head of Fashion, Luxury, Beauty and Retail Brand Partnerships (EMEA) at TikTok, said: “The impact the TikTok community has made on the fashion industry this year has been incredible, from driving new fashion trends like #cottagecore, to bringing back old ones like #Y2KFashion or #upcycling. TikTok has fast become a home for fashion creators, designers and stylists to find their voice, collaborate, share their unique style and create the next big fashion trend.

“TikTok is all about creativity and self-expression, which has huge synergies with the fashion industry. As the community continues to creatively interpret trends in new ways, conventional style rules are challenged and real originality is born on the platform.”


Clothes I ordered on amazon vs. how they turned out #amazonfavorites #founditonamazon #fashiontiktok #summerstyle

♬ need to know x goosebumps DJ Lilli - DJ Lilli

As retail opportunities increase on the app, many fashion brands have joined in on the action. TikTok allows brands to reach consumers through the influencers that interest them. Influencer partnerships are a popular marketing strategy for fashion brands on the platform, as these paid adverts can generate both brand awareness and sales.

In addition, these fashion brands are also creating accounts to generate content themselves. This includes ASOS, H&M, Gucci and Prada.

John Mooney, Global Brand Creative Lead at ASOS, said: “TikTok is a creative and very fun platform, so it gives us license to play with that in a way that’s engaging for our customers.

“We’re always evolving our content, social media strategy and channel focus to ensure we’re staying relevant to our fashion-loving 20-something customers. When TikTok exploded in popularity during lockdown, we knew we had to be part of that exciting journey."


The Black Panther Party. Nino Brown. Michael Jordan 🤝 Just some of fashion’s major Black influences ✊ From the iconic @MrSchnack #asostiktakeover #fashioninspo #styletips

♬ original sound - asos

Fanbytes is a UK social media and influencer marketing organisation, that helps brands to engage with Gen Z audiences in interactive ways. Previously working with brands including Boohoo and Converse, Fanbytes helps to generate content that is part of the fashion community on TikTok.

Sophie Freeman, Fashion and Beauty Director at Fanbytes, said: “If fashion brands aren’t already on TikTok, then they are trying to get on it and work out how to do so. TikTok has brought about a new way of creating and communicating to the customer, in a way that brings a brand’s persona to life.

“People can get to know a brand on TikTok in a way that feels as though they are getting to know a real person. The brand story comes alive and the ability to see how a product goes from ideation to reality can be communicated to the customer through beautiful and often hilarious content.”

Another way fashion retailers have used the app is through streaming fashion industry events. In September, TikTok hosted its first virtual fashion month. TikTok Fashion Month saw the platform live-stream two events a week for brands including Louis Vuitton and Yves Saint Lauren.

This is hugely influential on fashion retail, as the platform makes fashion events accessible and interactive. They pull interest into the industry and the brands creating this content.

Cassandra Russell emphasises how these events help the platform to support the growth of fashion talent. She said: “We partnered with the British Fashion Council on NEWGEN, to help nurture the next generation of emerging designers, while also giving our TikTok community access to the life and vibrancy of London Fashion Week.

"We're also now the principal partner for The Fashion Awards 2021 on 29 November. We'll be presenting from the red carpet ceremony, before the show and through a live broadcast, with more exciting activations planned with a host of creators.”


Behind the scenes at SS22 #LFW show. Which look is your favourite? #TikTokFashionMonth #BFCNEWGEN

♬ original sound - BFCNEWGEN

However, live-streaming isn’t only limited to events. TikTok has recently launched its new live shopping experience. This aims to offer solutions, features and advertising tools to allow businesses to engage with customers. Along with maximising TikTok’s ecommerce potential.

TikTok Shopping provides a retail experience on the platform. It allows brands to add a shopping tab to their TikTok profile and tag products directly in videos.

Sportswear brand Ellesse has begun using these new features in unique and creative ways. The brand’s #BeBold campaign, which has racked up over 3.7 billion views, saw Ellesse team up with TikTok for the first shoppable livestream concert hosted by a fashion brand with a music artist.

Commenting on TikTok’s shopping features, Cassandra Russell, said: “With an ever-growing number of UK shoppers turning to digital platforms for both inspiration and product discovery, there's a huge amount to be excited about when it comes to ecommerce. Our community is constantly trading tips and advice on the latest products and doing so in creative ways on the platform.”

Since the app launched in 2016, TikTok’s influence on the fashion industry has grown quickly. Whether that’s style trends or shopping on the app, the platform plays a huge role in fashion industry and will likely continue to do so for some time.

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