A NEW REIGN OF FASHION INFLUENCE
BY SAM AGULNICK
COVER ART: JULIANNA LUKACS
Fashion is fluid. Trends come and go, and, as time goes on, something that was once considered outrageous can be seen in every storefront. This evolution is what the European Renaissance was all about—revolutionizing the art and fashion world through aesthetic change. Queen Elizabeth I served as a 16th-century influencer during this time; the world looked to her to see what she was wearing and doing. She not only started trends but also influenced others and led people to copy her unique looks, worldwide. And today, Emma Chamberlain follows in her footsteps.
The Elizabethan era, from 1558 to 1603, marked a cultural expansion of arts, and Queen Elizabeth's dress style transformed throughout her reign. She transitioned from the graceful silhouettes she favored in her younger years to puffy-sleeve, full-skirted styles as she matured. Her opulent clothing represented her wealth, power, reputation, and most of all, royal status.
Women wore wigs and dyed their hair to match Queen Elizabeth's unique and natural red color. Her influence was so powerful that she affected not only women's fashion but also men's. As her clothing style became more grandiose, many men began wearing corsets and stuffed doublets to emulate her style.
Serving as a Renaissance-era influencer, Queen Elizabeth undoubtedly had influential power because of her royal status. Today, with social media giving anyone the ability to influence millions of people simultaneously, there is a new reign of how fashion is influenced worldwide. Emma Chamberlain serves as a modern-day fashion influencer, with her following spanning the globe. When she came out with her clothing line dubbed "High Key" through the shopping app Dote, her 80s-inspired velvet scrunchie sold out in a mere 29 minutes, exemplifying how she turned one of her signature fashion accessories into a profit.
Starting as a simple girl next door from the bay area of California, Chamberlain has expanded her image sophisticatedly through her partnership with luxury brand Louis Vuitton, whom she began to work for at the ripe age of 17, making her no stranger to fashion. Aiming to market toward a younger audience, the Paris-based company hopped on the influencer marketing trend and ran with it.
Chamberlain’s name is constantly tossed around, when discussing TikTok, ground-breaking looks, or new brand partnerships, so much so that “Chamberlain” has become a modern household name for ages 15 to 22. Some love her, some hate her, but we can all agree on one thing: her influence on fashion is not going anywhere anytime soon. Her rapid rise to stardom, currently with 14.5 million Instagram followers and 10.8 million YouTube subscribers, is extremely impressive, and her contributions to influencer marketing are even more so. She has turned being relatable into a business. Chamberlain's success marks a rebirth of fashion influence spread through social media. She and Queen Elizabeth are two sides of the same coin in that they influenced the fashion of their respective eras.
Some may wonder why a luxury brand like Louis Vuitton, whose branding and pricing of their products is based on exclusivity, would want to work with Chamberlain, who has founded her entire image on being relatable and low-maintenance. The answer lies in the fact that luxury brands are companies that, at their core, want to make a profit. Yes, exclusivity is important, but they also want people buying their products and, more so, recognizing their brand worldwide. By partnering with Chamberlain and adorning her in head-to-toe Louis Vuitton, the luxury brand is attempting to appeal to younger consumers who will grow up and aspire to afford these luxury products, thus indoctrinating luxury consumerism into a younger audience.
Predicted by a 2020 survey by Advertiser Perceptions, influencer and other paid content will make up about 20% of United States marketing agencies and professionals' digital ad budgets in 2022. Brands are willing to pay top dollar for big stars with known names to represent and wear their products. Influencer Marketing Hub cites eight factors that affect how much influencers are paid for a sponsored post: type of social media platform, number of followers or subscribers, follower engagement, industry or specialization, type of content, influencer demand, usage rights, and exclusivity. For huge celebrities, getting paid over $1 million for an Instagram post is not unheard of.
Chamberlain exemplifies how influencers become brands themselves and how "collaborations" with large fashion companies serve as symbiotic partnerships. A social analytics firm, Social Blade, approximates that Chamberlain makes anywhere from $120,000 to $2 million on her YouTube videos alone. Her sponsorships are one of her many additional revenue streams, but the specific amount she is paid is not disclosed to the media due to privacy concerns.
Measly statistics about how Chamberlin has increased profit for Louis Vuitton and other companies do not do her justice because her reach means so much more than that. Her rise to success embodies what the Renaissance was all about—furthering her success through creative change.