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Which fashion brands use Instagram most effectively – and what can we learn from them?

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Instagram is a key promotional channel for fashion brands of all sizes – and London Fashion Week (LFW), which kicks off today, is the perfect place to see how fashion brands use it to best effect. So who are the winners on Instagram?

Red Hot Penny, a retail search marketing agency, has carried out and in depth analysis of how designers at LFW are using Instagram, showing which labels are using the platform best.  Not only can they showcase their collections and demonstrate which celebrities love their clothes, since the launch of last year’s shoppable posts people can buy direct from their favourite label’s Insta feed

Instagram fashion label engagement is super-powered by red-carpet posts and celebrity fans wearing the clothes. Beyond this, video and canny use of the Story and Shoppable capability are key in keeping followers involved. 

Red Hot Penny scored 73 brands/designers showing at London Fashion Week (LFW) in February 2019. The brands’ Instagram activity was scrutinised and ranked, using follower numbers, post engagement rates, use of Stories and Shoppable posts/links to their e-commerce sites.

Topping the analysis is ‘Queen of Print’, Mary Katrantzou (@marykatrantzou), the label’s Instagram feed has an engaging mix of lookbook shots, catwalk imagery, as well as sharing posts from her celebrity fans wearing the clothes including Beyoncé and Adele. The recent Victoria’s Secret collaboration is also showcased and created buzz. 

DAVID KOMA (@davidkomalondon), known for statement, red-carpet friendly dresses came in second. Its use of borders to create a modern, curated aesthetic made the feed feel editorial, and videos of its catwalk shows drove strong engagement. Other high performing Instagram brands are ERDEM (@erdem), ALEXACHUNG (@alexachungstagram) and newcomer Shrimps (@shrimps) known for its fun faux-fur creations.

Burberry (@burberry), the prestigious British fashion house, and global fashion power-brand came sixth, Now under new Chief Creative Officer Ricardo Tisci, a designer with a glamorous ‘neo-gothic aesthetic has brought a new strong direction perfectly played out on Burberry’s Instagram feed. 

More established fashion labels, with timeless fashion heritage, and household name recognition, perhaps aren’t leveraging Instagram to the fullest, Vivienne Westwood (@viviennewestwood) came 13th, Aspinal of London (@aspinaloflondon), 12th, Roland Mouret (@roland_mouret), 15th, and Pringle of Scotland (@pringlescotland) 17th.

Christopher Kane, who boasts celebrity followers such as Victoria Beckham and Chloe Grace Moretz, failed to impress, finishing in 20th. Its feed was bland and made no attempts to establish a clear identity. Dark, low quality images were unable to create a strong engagement rate. The clothes were also rather ordinary, lacking the wow factor that many other brands and designers bought to their feeds.  

Russ Powell, Red Hot Penny says: “Instagram is a powerful tool for designers, allowing them to bring their vision direct to their fans. Unlike much of the fashion business, doing Insta well is not dependent on financial firepower. Success arises from combining aspirational content with inspirational vision and sharing with your followers. Smaller labels can build substantial followings through creativity and knowing their customer.”

He continues: “Brit designers are missing what potentially could be a powerful revenue stream, most are still not posting directly shoppable posts. Those brands using Instagram well are bringing the imagination they show on the catwalk to their feeds.”

Powell adds: “With many fashion lines posting challenging financial results, those with a digital first approach, coupled with quality products sold at a fair price are doing well. For example Burberry posting an 8% share price increase last year and despite all the publicity fall out, Ted Baker saw a 12% increase in retail sales during December.” 

Here’s the top twenty best brands at Instagram attending LFW

The LFW analysis is a follow-up to Red Hot Penny’s study, The Social Scorecard, which examined the state of the UK’s largest high street fashion brands and how they performed on social media. Street-style favourite Dr Martens (@drmartensofficial) was found to be the best high street brand at Instagram, with its mix of street style shots, user generated content and the latest from its collections and lookbooks.

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