Fashion leaders

Fashion leader is a term greatly associated with the forming of trends. Fashion leader is an individual whose fashion choices and opinions about trends affect the public’s fashion choices and opinions. When an individual sees a clothing item on a person whose opinions they value, they feel more inclined to buy the item for themselves. Of course, a fashion leader has a broader reach than your sister or a friend.

A great example of a fashion leader is Queen Victoria. When she married Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in 1840, she chose to wear a white wedding dress. This was unusual at the time. Most wedding dresses were pale blue, as it complimented the admired, pale skin. After the public saw her in a white wedding gown, the demand for white wedding dresses sky rocketed. The modern day white wedding dress culture of the western world is credited to Queen Victoria, though she wasn’t the first one to wear a white wedding dress.

Queen Victoria’s wedding dress. She set the fashion for white bridal gowns, which has continued to this day.:
Queen Victoria’s wedding dress – photo from Pinterest

Royalty

Queen Victoria isn’t the only royal fashion leader. Royalty has an image of class and sophistication making it easy for them to become something yearned by others. Princess Diana was very influential in the 80’s up until her death. She was considered youthful, modern and classy with her outfits. Another good example of a modern day royal fashion leader is the Duchess of Cambridge. The duchess and princess Diana are often compared to each other.

Political figures

The Kennedys and the Obamas both represent political figures that have become fashion leaders. Hats were an essential in men’s wear up until JFK chose not to wear one to his inauguration, and Jackie’s pillbox hats were iconic. The Obamas have been actively involved in social media making them seem friendly and approachable modern day political figures. Michelle’s outfit choices are frequently praised by the media.

Designers

The Parisian designers used to dictate fashion, as everything was made to order. Dressmakers would go to Paris to see the newest designs of the season. The Parisian designers would sell sample pieces to these dressmakers at a higher price, as they knew that the designs were bought to be copied.

As the ready to buy clothes started emerging, the influence of the designers started to fade. These days, trends can start from anywhere. No one decides what is trendy or what is going to be the “it”-product of the season. The looks and designs that are adapted by the consumers become trends. But marketers try to determine what designs and looks will have demand through colour and trend forecasts.

The designers remain fashion leaders even if their role isn’t as impactful as it used to be. They create looks for the consumers to judge. If the designer manages to capture the zeitgeist in their designs, it can become an instant hit. Good examples of these are Coco Channel’s little black dress and the New Look by Christian Dior.

Christian Dior's New Look, 1947 #happybirthdaydior:
The New Look by Christian Dior – photo from Pinterest

Models

Before 1980’s models were just mannequins wearing a dress. But Nowadays the models themselves have become sought after fashion leaders. They create an image for themselves that brands use to enforce their own brand image. Naomi Campbell and Linda Evangelista were one of the first supermodels, paving the way for the modern-day celebrity status of models. Good examples of current models as fashion leaders are Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner.

Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner street style - out and about shopping in plain shirts and high waisted jeans!:
Gigi Hadid & Kendall Jenner – photo from Pinterest

Actors & Actresses

Actors and actresses have had an influence on fashion since the movie industry began. The sculptured platinum blond hair of the 1930’s was made popular by actresses like Jean Harlow; the hair was sculptured and dyed that way so that the cameras of the time could capture it clearly in the moving pictures. The Sabrina neckline was made popular by Audrey Hepburn. She wore a dress designed by Givenchy in the movie Sabrina with the mentioned neckline.

The little black dress by Hubert de Givenchy that Audrey Hepburn wore in "Sabrina," with Humphrey and William Holden:
Audrey Hepburn in Sabrina – photo from Pinterest

Celebrities

Celebrities in general have a great influence on other people’s opinions about trends. Actresses were the first celebrities to achieve a fashion leader status, but as the entertainment and marketing businesses grew, the variety of different kinds of celebrities expanded. Musicians, singers, tv-stars, hosts and celebrity figures have their audiences that they appeal to. The emergence of social media has created new kinds of celebrities: social media stars.

No-fashion

Fashion isn’t something that everyone is interested in. These individuals dress in what they feel comfortable in regardless of the situation. But figures who don’t care about fashion can still become fashion leaders. They create a large audience for themselves through their efforts and are considered to have attributes to seek after. These individuals include developers, engineers, writers and company owners. Mark Zuckerberg, the co-founder of Facebook is an example of no-fashion fashion leader.