Social media influencers have changed NYFW 2021 forever

Didn’t recognize the many faces on the red carpet at New York Fashion Week events? You are probably not spending enough time on TikTok.

While coveted spots on the carpet and in the front row have long been reserved for A-list celebs, the guest list is changing to include social media influencers.

“It’s a whole world I didn’t even get a glimpse of a year ago,” said Broadway performer-turned-TikTok star Dianna Giulietti. “To see those faces at fashion events—who were seen as completely unattainable—I was like, ‘That’s the future. “

The 28-year-old took to TikTok last year as the pandemic ravaged art in Manhattan, gaining popularity from showing off her daily looks.

For Fashion Week, she showcased her outfit of the day—otherwise known as “OOTD” or “oo-ta-dah”—to her 1.4 million followers. She also posted about her busy days and nights, which range from hosting an event for fashion students to going to various shows to watching Paris Hilton DJ at a sax party next to G-Eazy. It’s content that has given followers a glimpse of glamorous action that even Giulietti herself never thought she’d be involved in.

“Bringing influencers into the mix gives you a different perspective,” said Carolyn Vazana, stylist and author of “Making It in Manhattan: The Beginner’s Guide to Surviving and Thriving in the World of Fashion.” “It’s like your best friend is going to Fashion Week and showing you everything they’re doing.”

Meet five other TikTokers who brought a new look to Fashion Week.

Influencer Remy Bader attended the Patbo Show.
Influencer Remy Bader attended the Patbo Show.
Getty Images for NYFW: The Shows

Known for her affordable outfits – her #remisrealistichauls have nearly 35 million views – the 26-year-old has attended shows from the likes of Patbow, Staud and PrettyLittle Thing. While she was thrilled to be a part of it, Badar was also disappointed with the lack of inclusivity for curvy women like her.

“Although some big retailers are making changes in the right direction, high-end fashion is not there yet,” she said.

Ellie Rallo is a TikTok Fashion Influencer.
Aly Rallo first made her name on TikTok with Snacks in a Jar, now she covers fashion events on the platform.
Courtesy Eli Rallo.

The journalist first made a name for himself on TikTok in 2020 by making colorful layered snack jars. But, after moving to the East Village, the 23-year-old started posting about her personal life and fashion. She participated in the Alice + Olivia and Rebecca Minkoff show, and said she felt like a cheater. But, she reminded herself that she was invited and the label wanted her there, sharing the experience with her 273,000 followers.

“If you’re really part of the industry and you understand marketing at its simplest level, you know this is kind of the new wave and that’s how brands are going to gain notoriety,” she said. “We can provide something for them that is really valuable.”

Tik Tok star Davis Burleson attends the inaugural Revolve Gallery.
Between attending events and creating TikTok content, David Burleson barely slept during Fashion Week.
Getty Images

He skyrocketed to internet fame for his celebrity impersonations and quirky person-on-the-street interviews, but he never expected to end up at NYFW.

He spent weeks attending Bulgari, Revolve and Tory Burch shows and documenting it all for his 355,000 TikTok followers. It made for an sometimes grueling-but-glam schedule, partying with singer-songwriter Kim Petras at Saks until 3 p.m. and then waking up a few hours later to edit a video for post. But the good timing and camaraderie with other content creators made it worth it.

“It’s been really fun because all the TikTokers are in this together,” said the 19-year-old who lives in the West Village. “We’re all airdropping each other’s video, we’re all capturing each other and then sending it. We’re all looking for each other.”

TikTok fashion influencer Kennedy Urich.
Kennedy Urich has gone from a farm in Pennsylvania as a model Steve Madden to 895,000 TikTok followers.
Photo courtesy Kennedy Urich.

The 21-year-old has racked up more than 895,000 TikTok followers — and modeling gigs for Steve Madden — from just being authentically herself, so being between supermodels and A-listers was a bit disorienting.

“They have these crazy bodies, and you’re like, ‘How do I fit into this picture? How can I fit in at New York Fashion Week being a random girl from rural Pennsylvania, and now here I am’ ?’ said Urich, who lives in Pittsburgh and attends events for Sherri Hill and other designers. “It’s definitely intimidating.”

    Serena Kerrigan attends PatBO during NYFW:
Influencer Serena Kerrigan says fashion is no longer ruled by skinny, rich, fair women.
Getty Images for NYFW: The Shows

The 27-year-old, one of the top sellers at online fashion retailer Revolve, is well aware of the changing times and the power of it.

“Fashion, I guess, used to be really exclusive,” said Kerrigan, who has over 353,000 TikTok followers. “It was for thin, white rich women.”

But, not now, said the West Village resident, who recognizes the unique value she brings to the label. “The whole world has changed.”

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