Despite his young age, Balmain’s Olivier Rousteing is becoming one of the industry’s most celebrated and recognized designers. During his four-year reign as creative director, the 28-year-old has been able to take the French fashion house to new heights as well as popularity—and a lot of that can be attributed to his presence on social media.
“I was born with Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and Skype,” he tells Business of Fashion. “The fact is I love communicating with people. I love pop culture, and pop, for me, is popular and population.”
Earlier this year, Rousteing reached over 1 million followers on Instagram, making him the most followed French designer on the site. His social media presence goes even further thanks to his circle of celebrity friends like Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, Rosie Huntington-Whitely, and Rihanna, who often post images of them either rocking the latest Balmain design or palling around with the designer himself.
“Instagram is all about a population that is not only the front row of a fashion show,” he says. “Today it is as important as the front row, having young people looking at your shows, looking at your fashion and supporting you. It is a new way of communication. It is stronger than magazines, you are not buying your audience, you don’t have to be a big advertiser.”
Balmain isn’t the only label to take advantage of the Internet’s far reach. Brands like Marc Jacobs, Nike, and Denim & Supply Ralph Lauren have all used social media platforms to engage and attract new consumers. Which makes sense: It’s a low-cost way to reach a huge audience without forcing the product down their throats.
But will Rousteing’s popularity on social media reflect in Balmain sales? Only time well tell. Though relatively small, the fashion house is increasing its revenue by 20 percent each year—a pretty big feat considering it faced bankruptcy over a decade ago. However, Rousteing and Balmain’s chief executive Emmanuel Diemoz know the company still has a ways to go.
Check out the exclusive video interview above, in which the two discuss Rousteing's time at the fashion house, the changes he implemented, and how the label plans to grow.
[via Business of Fashion]