Influencers Have No Influence on Streetwear, Apparently

Bad news for streetwear companies that are still throwing money at influencers: according to The New York Times, the “influence of influencers [on streetwear sales] is wildly overstated.”

Citing a new survey of 40,960 people called the Streetwear Impact Report – which was conducted by Hypebeast (yes, that Hypebeast) — the article states that “only a third of [respondents] said social media influencers were the most credible figures in streetwear,” while the remaining two thirds said they were “more likely to be impressed by musicians and ‘industry insiders.’”

Those findings may come as news to the people that work in the streetwear industry, who, when surveyed, said “that they spent between a quarter and three-quarters of their marketing budget ‘on influencers.’” Whoops.

Other finds: “[40] percent of North American and European respondents said that ‘community’ had been key to their interest in streetwear; only 12 percent of Asian respondents said the same,” while “41 percent of Chinese and Japanese respondents said that wearing streetwear was a political act, something that only 11 percent of North Americans and Europeans reported.”

Compiled in conjunction with PricewaterhouseCoopers, whom the NYT called “the waviest auditing firm around,” the survey was “intended to provide insight and analysis about how and why people buy streetwear.”

“Streetwear managed to create desirability for the product, something that the bulk of the fashion industry has increasing challenges in doing,” a co-author of the report concluded. “Those brands… have tremendous credibility within the peer group, and that comes out of the community.”

However, as that community continues to grow via the internet, and more outside funders looking to make a profit get involved, some within the category fear it will lose its credibility. As Erik Brunetti, founder of the streetwear label, FUCT, says “The safeness of it today goes against what it originally stood for… It was very similar to punk or early hip-hop. It was a rebellion and now it’s become the opposite of rebellion. It’s become corporate, sanitized and pasteurized.”

You can read more about it at The New York Times.

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