The Genteel
April 22, 2021


The smart phone video meets fashion. Source:

Social media, especially the "big three" (Facebook, Twitter and Google+), has become a significant part of business marketing strategy, and with the launch of Vine in February 2012 and video for Instagram this past June, short-form videos are beginning to factor in.

In 2012, the Huffington Post and Forbes compiled statistics from notable social media outlets. In terms of business marketing, there were some significant findings: 94 per cent of all businesses with a marketing department used social media as part of their marketing platform; almost 60 per cent of marketers devote the equivalent of a full work day per week to social media marketing development and maintenance; and 58 per cent of businesses using social media marketing for over three years reported an increase in sales over that period.

Calvin Klein on Vine. Source:

Vine - an app for creating six-second, un-edited looping video clips - was used significantly during Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion Week (A/W 2013), having launched a few weeks before the January collections. Vine instantly became popular with the fashion crowd as first-hand glimpses of runway shows, behind-the-scenes work, clothing in motion and celebrity stalking - as highlighted by New York Magazine - were captured using the app. Chioma Nnadi of Vogue described the Vine app best, exclaiming, "Vine gives the fashion moment a frantic six-second-long burst of energy."

Instagram also launched its own version of shared video in June, but upped the ante with fifteen seconds of non-looping video, with thirteen filters to enhance the video experience. Although Instagram video was only recently released, it has been quickly picked up by various fashion brands, such as Topshop, Burberry and Michael Kors. The first Instagram video I saw was from trendy eyewear brand, Warby Parker, who created a quirky stop-motion video to promote their summer frames.

The short-form video applications of Vine and Instagram video are not to be underestimated. Even though Youtube and Vimeo can offer longer, edited videos, there is something so inimitably creative and interesting when a brand can get a message across in a matter of seconds. With help from Twitter, Vine videos are easily shared on the social platform, which boasts over 200 million monthly users from all over the world. In the same vein, Instagram can be shared with Facebook's one billion plus users.

Inevitably, there is competition between Vine and Instagram, with the latter seeming to have the upper-hand. Instagram is an established app with more than 130 million monthly users, compared to Vine's current 40 million. With its fifteen-second length, customisable filters and the advantage of being both a video and photo-sharing app, Instagram seems set to stay on top. It has even announced that users can now edit their previously shot clips.

Justin Cooke, Topshop's Chief Marketing told WWD, "Instagram is such a beautiful site, the nature of the tools they provide you with makes you set the bar higher and feel like you shouldn't post bad pictures on there." Instagram has provided the tools to create beautiful short-form videos so that "everyone can be one of the best videographers or cinematographers in the world" - the same way the app made everyone a photographer overnight, according to Cooke.

There is a sense of pleasure and intimacy knowing that perhaps, your favourite designer, model, makeup artist, etc. was behind that camera phone.

That's not to say Vine has instantly become archaic. Plenty of fashion brands have used and are continuing to use Vine in their marketing strategies. Burberry presented its entire S/S 2014 Menswear collection in six seconds. Stop-motion art is also particularly popular among fashion brands like Marc Jacobs and French Connection, in which the latter actually collaborated with photographer Meagan Cignoli to create shareable, summer-themed stop-motion videos to promote their latest collection.

The future of short-form video marketing with apps like Instagram and Vine in fashion is promising. However, its success and longevity depends on the apps themselves; they must remain fun and easy to use to engage consumers and fans. 

In the end, the content of these short-form videos is what ultimately matters. Product, runway shots and celebrity stalking videos are fine, but I found that the most interesting and effective Vines and Instagram videos were the ones that offered a raw look behind the elusive fashion industry. A high production quality video, edited and uploaded to Youtube creates an impersonal barrier between the consumer and the brand. However, with Vine and Instagram, the videos are minimally edited (if at all) and videos can only be made with camera phones. There is a sense of pleasure and intimacy knowing that perhaps, your favourite designer, model, makeup artist, etc. was behind that camera phone and not a professional paid to do the job.

With the S/S 2014 collections showing in the next month, be on the lookout for the Vines and Instagram videos of your favourite brands and editors.



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