The right celebrity at the right moment in the right shoes can mean big things for emerging footwear brands — and even established players.
When the first official portrait of Prince George debuted last year, his sweet buckle shoes by Start-rite went viral on social media, resulting in a flood of publicity and a jump in online sales of the style. Peter Lamble, chairman of Start-rite, told Footwear News at the time that retailers began calling almost immediately to place orders.
Similarly, back in March, Blake Lively took to Instagram to ask fans to help her pick which style from up-and-coming designer Sarah Flint she should wear. Lively hashtagged the post “#TheLastThingINEEDisANewShoe-DesignerObsession.”
For Flint, the personal endorsement didn’t just drive interest in her brand’s Instagram account but also helped boost buying on her own site. “I love seeing that celebrities are wearing these styles in their everyday lives,” she said. “The value of someone endorsing your product on their personal social media is probably the best thing that can happen. It’s great to have chic brand ambassadors.”
Social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter are especially useful in garnering fans and followers because of their strong visuals.
Emerging designer Theresa Ebagua of Chelsea Paris knows the importance of a photo tag from the right celebrity. Taylor Swift, Cameron Diaz and Beyoncé have all been spotted in her styles, which she said has helped her brand awareness. “Consumers are inundated with images of celebrities and what they’re wearing — it’s almost like a new form of online shopping,” said Ebagua. “If you want to know what’s cool to wear, just look at Beyoncé. I am honored that celebrities choose to wear the brand.”
Even design veterans can benefit from star power. “When people like Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez or Rihanna wear my creations, [the shoes] instantly become iconic pieces,” said Giuseppe Zanotti. “These celebrities are great brand ambassadors and embody the spirit of my collections in a unique way. Whatever they wear or post on social media turns into the current season’s must-haves for all their fans and our customers.”
Who’s best at selling shoes? FN crunched the numbers and scanned the feeds. What follows is our ranking of fashion’s 10 biggest movers and shakers based on buzzy collabs, industry impact and social media clout.
Twitter followers: 13.8M Buzzy collab: Adidas
Biggest impact on the industry: West has the smallest social presence on this list and just one shoe collaboration, but the entrepreneur and rapper has carefully crafted his fashion image, and his many followers watch him closely. The result of such brand-building has been one of the most-buzzed-about sneaker releases of the year: the Yeezy Boost, which debuted during New York Fashion Week. The Yeezy Boost 350 Low, West’s second style in the line, sold out in just 12 minutes.
Instagram followers: 24M Twitter followers: 49.8M Facebook fans: 81.6M Buzzy collabs: Puma, Stance, Dior
Biggest impact on the industry: Fans are still waiting for a new album, but with all of her side projects, it’s easy to see why that hasn’t happened yet. The singer is the creative director at Puma, contributes to Stance socks, debuted a perfume called RiRi and is the new face of Dior. She’s also Instagram gold when she shares style moments featuring Sergio Rossi, Christian Louboutin and Tom Ford.
Kendall & Kylie
Instagram followers: 31.9M; 33.9M Twitter followers: 10.8M; 12M Facebook fans: 7.5M; 8.8M Buzzy collabs: Kendall + Kylie, Topshop, PacSun
Biggest impact on the industry: Whatever the Jenners wear, sells; among their favorites are Tom Ford, Aquazzura and Yeezy Boosts. So it makes sense that the two youngest members of the Kardashian clan would debut a line of apparel and footwear. The Kendall + Kylie Collection, in partnership with Marc Fisher, hits stores for spring ’16.
Instagram followers: 5.4M Twitter followers: 7.36M Facebook fans: 10.9M Buzzy collabs: Timberland, Adidas Originals, Colette Paris
Biggest impact on the industry: The producer and superstar musician debuted his Supercolor pack in 2015 (along with several other Adidas shoe collabs) and isn’t slowing down anytime soon. Meanwhile, he’s also one of the minds behind tastemaker street-wear store and brand Billionaire Boys Club in New York and took home the CFDA Fashion Icon Award in May.
Instagram followers: 1.8M Twitter followers: 1.55M Buzzy collabs: AG Jeans, British Vogue
Biggest impact on the industry: Besides having a Tabitha Simmons shoe and a Mulberry bag named after her, Chung has amassed a loyal following on social media. The unknown designers Chung picks become favorites with her fans, who rely not only on her taste but also her ability to find the next hot item or designer. Next, Chung has teamed up with British Vogue on a new fashion docuseries.
Instagram followers: 650K (for @Kensingtonroyal) Twitter followers: 553K (for @Kensingtonroyal) Buzzy brands: Crocs, Early Days, Start-rite
Biggest impact on the industry: The youngest on our list at just 2 years old, Prince George is the hot commodity in the children’s market. From his Early Days walkers to his kids’ Crocs, the Prince has helped boost many of the brands he’s worn. In fact, Early Days is currently looking to expand its U.K. production to keep up with demand.
Instagram followers: 41.5M Twitter followers: 61.8M Facebook fans: 72.1M Buzzy collabs: Keds, JD.com
Biggest impact on the industry: Taylor Swift is a fashion and music force. With her posse of friends, including Karlie Kloss and Gigi Hadid, Swift’s power lies in her social clout — a post of her in a bikini caused a buying spree on Asos. Swift’s ongoing line with Keds has cornered the tween and teen market — she’s one of the label’s best partners yet — plus, she’s an honorary Victoria’s Secret angel.
Instagram followers: 493K Twitter followers: 481K Facebook fans: 529K Buzzy collabs: Finish Line, 3X1, Givenchy, Nike
Biggest impact on the industry: The newest face of the Givenchy men’s campaign and ambassador for New York Fashion Week: Men’s generates big buzz in the sneaker community on a regular basis. Each week, Cruz picks a sneaker-photo winner on his Instagram account, and speculation abounds that his first Nike signature shoe could be released this fall.
Instagram followers: 42.6M Twitter followers: 14.1M Facebook fans: 63.4M Buzzy collabs: Topshop, Flash Tattoos
Biggest impact on the industry: Last year, Queen Bey teamed with Topshop on an athletic line and also debuted a collection of temporary tattoos. In her everyday life, the star has been spotted in looks by Adidas, Converse and Chelsea Paris. For public appearances, she often sports styles by her pal Giuseppe Zanotti. And there are rumors that the two might collaborate soon.
Instagram followers: 2.3M Twitter followers: 372K Facebook fans: 858.9K Buzzy collabs: Ciate London, Holt Renfrew
Biggest impact on the industry: Palermo’s power resides on Instagram, where the former reality TV star has racked up a serious fashion-forward following. Her feed takes fans to the front rows of Fashion Week and also behind the scenes for a look inside Palermo’s own closet and personal shoe favorites, which have ranged from Aquazzura to Schutz to Salvatore Ferragamo.