The Twitter Revolution: Fashion, Controversy and More

Hannah Yakobi is an award-winning journalist and communications specialist. Throughout her career, she has written for the National Post, OK! Magazine, the Ottawa Citizen, Canwest newspaper network and dozens of publications around the world. Currently, she is the Editor-in-Chief of FAJO Magazine, a Canadian publication with staff in Canada, U.S. and U.K. 

Twitter has changed everything.

This incredible social media channel is often the centre of breaking style-related news and is also home to plenty of informational material, photos, videos, links and discussion.

Whenever I go to a fashion event, I am surrounded by an army of reporters, bloggers, PR mavens and event organizers. They all have a smartphone or an iPad, and they all Tweet information in real time. Photos are snapped left and right, dozens of Tweets are sent out in a matter of minutes, and people even converse via Twitter during actual fashion shows. For example, on numerous occasions, I would look at my Twitter feed during a fashion show and see a conversation between people who are sitting in different rows and exchanging comments about the runway collection. Mind you, I show up with an iPhone myself. In fact, I traded my BlackBerry for an iPhone because I wanted my Tweets to be faster and my photos to be crisper – so I’m not far behind on the Twitter mania.

Now, let’s say I cannot attend a certain event due to a prior commitment. Never fear, the fashion Twitter army comes to the rescue! There is always a hashtag to follow – if a fashion show doesn’t have one, it will be created by attendees and carefully discussed at the start of the evening, to make sure everyone Tweets with the same one. There is no such thing as not being at an event anymore; if you have a Twitter account, you will experience it all. The added beauty of this is that every Tweet includes personal commentary, so following an event on Twitter provides a lot of information but also generates a discussion. Sure, nothing can replace the real experience of a fashion show, but Twitter has made it possible to have a perfect virtual experience.

Things aren’t always rosy in the fashion industry, of course, and because Twitter creates discussion, it also constantly generates controversy, spreading it within hours to millions of people. I think most of us remember how around the same time last year, a video of Dior’s head designer John Galliano took Twitter by storm. In this video, Galliano was making anti-Semitic comments in a bar and, shortly after the video went viral, his behaviour was denounced by members of the fashion industry around the world. #Dior and #Galliano were trending for weeks. About a month before the Galliano scandal, another well-known designer committed a faux pas online. This time it was Kenneth Cole (or his PR team) who Tweeted the following: “Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online at -KC.” This single Tweet instantly spread around the world, and offended a lot of people. The following apology was issued later that day: “Re Egypt tweet: we weren’t intending to make light of a serious situation. We understand the sensitivity of this historic moment –KC.”

Twitter is a powerful tool. Ultimately, if you are interested in fashion, it will provide you with all the necessary news, discussion and advice (in fact, I frequently give my followers fashion and beauty-related tips and tricks via my personal Twitter account and so do many of my fashion colleagues). But Twitter can also be dangerous to those who are not careful, as it makes all information public. So…be careful what you Tweet!

Twitter photo collage of the Toronto Fashion Week courtesy of FAJO Magazine; retouched with Instagram.