“I don’t do fashion, I am fashion!”

A quarterly catalog, advertisements in the New York Times, and socialites in the front row of fashion shows ain’t cutting it anymore and fashion brands have taken note. In order to stay relevant, brands have to go where their consumers spend most of their time, where they shop, and where they speak to their friends: online.

The title of this blog post was said by none other than the grandmother of chic, Coco Chanel. Those words are truer today then ever before. During Madame Chanel’s time fashion was a luxury enjoyed by the elite. They had the prestige, pedigree, and money to indulge in the decadent lifestyle of high fashion. The exclusivity of fashion continued well into the 21st century until social media came into the picture.

Coco Chanel

Social media has become the great equalizer of the industry. A stay-at-home mom living in the Midwest can log on to Twitter and follow OscarPRgirl (Oscar de La Renta’s Communications Director) to get the latest scoop on dresses, parties, and events just as easily and quickly as an heiress in New York City. The veil of mystery has officially been lifted.

Fashion brands have learned that they need to create a highly curated space where they are able to create their voice and personality. This space enables consumers feel that they are a part of the community and appreciated. They have created a home where new and old customers feel comfortable expressing a range of emotions from unabashed joy to complete dissatisfaction. By encouraging and promoting an open dialogue with anyone, from anywhere, these brands have the opportunity to build a relationship built on loyalty and trust.

Speaking about the role social media, the CMO of Tory Burch, Miki Berardelli, says “We’ve brought in all the content into the shopping experience so that the customer can explore and connect with the brand while they’re browsing product.” Consumers today are encouraged to embrace, connect with, and embody fashion brands. Long gone are the days when it was acceptable to look in from the sidelines and fantasize.

In today’s world, consumers from all walks of life are walking into fashions kitchen, pulling up a chair, and having a coffee and chat. Coco Chanel said it first, but today more and more woman can say it with pride: “I don’t do fashion, I am fashion!”

Can you think of any industries where social media has played the role of the great equalizer?

Sutanya Dacres is a brand consultant currently living in New York City and is convinced she was a Parisienne in a former life.