The solution that is presented by researchers and myself is the use of social media marketing to gain exposure and raise awareness for the Transgender community. The most striking case was the study of Andreja Pejic (notable transgender model/actor) in the published book “Digit@l Girls” by authors MacPherson, Marko, Shawn Dahl, and Nicole Phelps. (McPaterson, Dahl, and Phelps 2017, pg 102). In this book, the authors present the solution as, “The fashion media landscape has evolved drastically with the emergence of fashion’s newest vanguard of pioneering women, whose unique takes on fashion and beauty have propelled them to become true powerhouse personalities. This is done via their blogs, websites, and social-media profiles” (McPaterson, Dahl, and Phelps 2017, pg 10). This case study shows the success of Transgender fashion model Andreja Pejic’s use of social media marketing to gain acceptance and recognition in the fashion industry with the use of digital media.
A second striking case study was presented by author Eric Volmers in his article “Aiming High in The World of Fashion; ‘An Incredible Story’: Trans Model’s Journey from Instagram to Paris” (Volmers 2018). This article follows the Transgender fashion model Harlow Monroe who has used the social media platform of Instagram to propel her career as an international Transgender Fashion Model. In this article Volmers states, “Less than six months ago, Harlow Monroe’s modeling career consisted of posting photos of herself on Instagram. They were generally taken by friends and featured Monroe in a variety of supermodel poses. Since she had always dreamed of being a model, she began tagging the photos accordingly: #fashionmodel, #model, #modellife. Which may be why the pictures initially caught the attention of Chantale Nadeau, a Toronto modeling agent who most recently discovered up-and-coming Canadian teen model Emma Arruda” (Volmers 2018).
This concept has led Transgender models to the skill set needed to be marketing professionals themselves on a platform of social media. Successful Instagram cisgender model Amiee Song presents her successful tactics of Instagram media marketing in her book, “Capture Your Style: Transform Your Instagram Images, Showcase Your Life, and Build the Ultimate Platform” (Song 2016). In her approach, Song explains the importance of lifestyle marketing by connecting a lifestyle to the modeling photographs to appeal to a larger following. This formula of success seems to fit the needs of the Transgender modeling community to use social media platforms such as Instagram to advocate for Transgender equality while presenting themselves as fashion models who live the Transgender lifestyle.
To dive deeper into the digital fashion marketing solution, academic textbooks such as author Claire Harris’s “The Fundamentals of Digital Fashion Marketing” (Harris 2017) takes our research into a practical step by step guide to accomplish the goal of lifestyle marketing using the platform of digital and social media. The opening statement in the books lays down the purpose of the books as, “The Fundamentals of Digital Fashion Marketing introduces and explores contemporary digital practice within the fashion industry. It is designed to inform and inspire today’s graduates as the next generation of creative marketers. It identifies key digital marketing approaches and emerging technologies and examines their place in contemporary fashion careers and the opportunities they create for fashion graduates to design, promote and market themselves in a range of sites and formats” (Harris 2017 pg 4). This final proposed solution by researchers and Transgender models helps models bridge the gap between the idea of necessary social media presence to using these tools professionally as a career tool.
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