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As you're probably well aware, Instagram is fashion's preferred method of documenting NYFW shows these days—one trend that shows no signs of stopping. Curalate, a web analytics and brand management company, reported that Fashion Week engagement on the platform increased more than 100% as compared to the fall 2014 season. Over 115,000 photos were shared over the course of eight days, but it wasn't all due to editors and bloggers posting blurry runway photos of disembodied feet. Although only a few are household names, NYFW's 50 most popular models on Instagram boast 28.5 million followers and counting.
Not surprisingly, Kendall Jenner ranked highest, blowing away the rest of the competition with over 13 million followers. Candice Swanepoel, Adriana Lima, and Karlie Kloss followed with follower counts in the low millions (they also all happen to be Victoria's Secret Angels—probably not a coincidence).
Out of the 276 models booked in major NYFW shows, 238 have Instagram accounts, but there was no clear correlation between a model's popularity on the platform and the number of shows she booked during the week. That may change soon though— in a PR blast sent to Racked, Trina Turk openly admitted that, for the nature of its show, models were cast partially based on their Instagram followings. Marc by Marc Jacobs staged a successful model casting call through Instagram earlier this year, and modeling agency One Management recently established a new division, One.1k, dedicated to repping girls who have significant followings on social media.
This season, Marc Jacobs alone booked more than a third of the top 50 "Instagirls" for his show; for four of those models (Gigi Hadid, Jessica Hart, Hilary Rhoda, and Catherine McNeil), it was their sole NYFW appearance. Diane von Furstenberg booked 13 for her runway, including an exclusive appearance by Naomi Campbell. Alexander Wang only had four of the top 50 walk his show, which we'd consider a little surprising for his social-savvy brand.
What were these models Instagramming exactly? Behind-the-scenes pics with thank you notes to designers written in the captions, of course. Feeds boasted swag they picked up along the way, too. Ralph Lauren handed out customized polos to many of the models who attended his 4D runway extravaganza in Central Park, which made for perfect Insta-bait.
Photos show that Jason Wu, Coach, and Michael Kors all handed out bags to their models, though pics of those were less prevalent than the monogrammed polos. Could it be that these designers only paid their models in trade (or, in non-industry terms, swag)? We can't be sure, but if that's the case, a bag from a big-name designer handed out after a show might not make for the best photo opp.
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