We say a picture is worth a thousand words, but on Instagram, captions often say as much as the photo itself. By applying Computer Vision technology to thousands of posts during the Fall/Winter 2020 Fashion Weeks from February 7th to March 3rd, we were able to determine the season’s top buzzing topics based on textual mentions and hashtags. So what did fashion players talk about most during FW20?
#coronavirus: Largely absent on Instagram this season
With thousands of cases around the world and hundreds more popping up every day, the coronavirus has sent a shockwave through many communities and industries. The fashion industry has likewise been affected as production and sales have both been sharply reduced due to the rapid spread of the virus. And yet, mention of the virus was largely absent on Instagram in posts related to fashion weeks. Out of all posts analyzed which related to FW20 fashion weeks, only 2‰ mentioned the coronavirus. Of these 2‰, all of the posts were published during Milan and Paris Fashion Weeks, likely due to the outbreak in Italy around the same time. The Giorgio Armani show in Milan, for example, was closed off to attendees and revealed only in streaming. Evidently, fashion players in Europe and the US decided to remain focused on other matters.
#sustainability: Green was the color of FW20
The fashion industry is notoriously taxing on our planet: just recently, the UN called on fashion leaders to contribute to the climate crisis solution. And with climate change growing increasingly urgent, more and more designers are paying attention to raising awareness surrounding the issue. During this season’s fashion weeks, quite a few designers centered their runway shows on sustainability, and Instagram was buzzing with mentions of the topic. For example, 42% of Balenciaga posts and 35% of Stella McCartney posts related to sustainability on social media. Balenciaga’s show focused on climate change, while Stella McCartney’s included vegan leather and people dressed like animals to promote animal rights. As a marker of #sustainablefashion multiplying by 5 in the last 3 years on social media, Maison Margiela and Marine Serre both upcycled vintage garments to send a message of anti-waste in the fashion industry.
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#nostalgia: FW20 designers took us back in time at fashion week
While many designers looked ahead to a post-apocalyptic, Mad Max future (see Rick Owens, for example) others did just the opposite, taking us back in time for fashion inspiration. Moschino and Paco Rabanne topped the ranking on the topic of #nostalgia, with many Instagram mentions of the brands’ historical references. Moschino drew from the French Revolution period with dramatic pannier gowns and mile-high wigs, with Jeremy Scott adding an Italian touch of leather moto jackets and over-the-knee boots. Paco Rabanne unveiled medieval magic with chainmail dresses and hoods: the show even took place in Paris’ Conciergerie, a monument famous for the historical trials of the French monarchy. Finally, Alexander McQueen’s Sarah Burton alluded to the Renaissance period with Elizabethan gowns.
#feminism: Dior was all about girl power at Paris Fashion Week
The Christian Dior show in Paris made some noise this season — and not only for Chiuri’s modern, laid-back twist on the classic Dior woman. The show took place just one day after Hollywood director Harvey Weinstein was found guilty, a timely event for the show’s message of female empowerment. Maria Grazia Chiuri is Dior’s first female artistic director, and as such, she put feminism on full display this FW20. 44% of posts mentioning the Dior show talked about feminism during Paris Fashion Week. Chiuri’s set collaboration with feminist art collective Claire Fontaine pushed the same message, with signs reading adages such as “Consent. Consent. Consent.” and “When women strike the world stops.”
FW20 as a reflection of the times
The major topics this FW20 were an interesting mix of future, present, and past themes. Feminism and sustainability will only continue to grow in centrality, the coronavirus is the news of the moment, and nostalgia signals a look toward the past. The success of fashion brands is inherently linked to their ability to capitalize on relatability, and our expert technology applied to shared posts on Instagram provides exactly that.