Operations

Fashion Influencer Marketing: How To Find, Recruit, & Collab With Influencers

July 21, 2023
·
15 min
Author
Momina Asif
Content Writer, Modash
Contributors
Ben Williams
Influencer Team Manager, Blast
... and
more expert contributors

Fashion giants like SHEIN, Farfetch, boohooMAN and others are driving millions in sales through creators.

And fashion influencer marketing isn’t just for the big guys. There are smaller brands with <$1M in sales crushing it too, getting higher ROI than Meta ads and other channels.

If you want to launch & scale a fashion influencer marketing program for your brand, you’re in the right place.

First we’ll talk finding & selecting fashion influencers.

Then, we’ll cover:

  • Persuading a fashion influencer to collab with your brand
  • Which collab types you can consider (depending on budget)
  • Examples of successful fashion influencer marketing campaigns

How to choose the perfect influencer for a fashion brand

“Confirming the audience comes first.”

- Ben Williams (prev. Senior Influencer Marketing Manager @ Farfetch)

Choosing the right influencer always starts with the audience. It’s no different in fashion.

Whoever is your target audience, you want creators who can reach them authentically. That’s number one.

Beyond that, you should check:

  • Simple quantitative metrics like engagement rate and fake followers
  • Content / style fit (do you want your brand to be associated with this creator?)
  • Past collabs (who else have they worked with?)

Ben also values Story link clicks highly as a way to gauge whether or not a fashion creator can drive traffic/sales as well as impressions. You can reach out and request that if you want to go the extra mile for high value influencer collaborations.

How to find fashion influencers

Now you know what to look for, I’ll show you a few quick ways to find fashion influencers.

1. Use an influencer search tool

The most reliable and data-driven way to find fashion influencers is with an influencer search tool like Modash.

Modash lists literally every creator with 1K+ following on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube. Over 250M+ creators.

I’ll show you a quick example (<2 mins) of how you can find fashion influencers inside Modash.

After signing up, start by selecting the platform you want to find influencers for (Instagram, YouTube, or TikTok).

We’re going to apply influencer filters, and audience filters.

For influencer filters, start with just a few base filters. For example:

  • A follower range, depending on your budget & goals (e.g. 5k-50k)
  • “Has email” as a criteria, to only get results with a public email available
  • Creator/regular accounts only (to remove businesses)
  • One way to identify your fashion niche (e.g. “streetwear” in bio)

Don’t start adding other filters like minimum growth rate or minimum engagement rate yet. Let’s see how the pool is looking first, then maybe narrow it further later if we still have lots of options.

If you have a niche within fashion, try to find it using bio keywords or hashtags. In the example here (streetwear), we could repeat with some variations like “urbanwear” or “sportswear” to see how the results compare.

Simply looking for “fashion” in bio is an option too – you’ll get way more results, but with less specificity.

Now, apply audience filters too. The available filters include:

  • Locations
  • Genders
  • Ages
  • Languages
  • Interests
  • Fake followers

Start with the minimum possible filters. For example, if you’re only looking for male audiences in the US – just start there. We can always come back and narrow further later (e.g. age, max. fake followers) – we don’t want to restrict the search too much and miss great creators.

Then, run the search. Modash will display every public creator profile in the world that matches the filters.

And the best part – you can click on any of the results to get a detailed breakdown of their audience, performance, and content. It looks like this:

If you’re happy, you can shortlist the creator, ready to grab their email later and start outreach.

Rinse and repeat until you have enough prospects for your recruitment.

You can try Modash for free, no credit card needed 🙂

2. Find directly on social media

If you don’t have the budget for a search tool, try searching directly on social platforms. You don’t get the same data to work with, but it can get you started for free.

Search with hashtags or keywords

Make a list of fashion hashtags, and do some trial and error. Run the search, surf through the results manually looking for creators of an appropriate size & style.

Examples might be: #fashionblogger, #outfitoftheday, #GRWM (get ready with me).

You can also look for your competitor’s collabs by searching their campaign hashtags. For example, if I was a brand similar to Farfetch, I could search #OnlyOnFarfetch to find fashion influencers. Here’s an example that comes up: Georgina Patient. She could be a great fit for other fashion brands with similar products/values.

You can also simply try searching fashion-related keywords in the same way, and surf through the results for a relevant creator.

Try the 'Explore' and 'For You' tabs

Instagram's 'Explore' page suggests relevant content that fits your brand and is a great way to find relevant creators.

TikTok's 'For You' and 'Explore' pages work similarly.

YouTube has an 'Explore' tab too, divided into multiple categories — Trending, Shopping, Fashion and Beauty, and more. See if you find any influencer that fits your criteria.

3. Build in-person relationships by attending fashion events

If you can, consider attending in-person fashion events.

They’re great for brands to meet and network with influencers, and build a rare face-to-face relationship.

Lots of fashion influencers are excited to attend events. Here’s Bella Gerard, promoting the Keys to NYFW event.

Revolve Festival is another great example of this in action. Revolve hosts a yearly invite-only event for celebrities and influencers. It's a great way for brands to find and network with fashion influencers, bloggers, and celebrities.

If hosting an event is too much, you can attend fashion shows like New York Fashion Week and connect with influencers there. Look out for any similar events local to you, even if they’re smaller scale.

Once you’re there – start by making a genuine connection. It’s much easier to pitch a collab later if you become friends first.

After the event, continue engaging with the influencers you connected with. Follow them on social media, like and comment on their posts, and keep the conversation going.

4. Recruit your existing fans & customers

The best collabs of all come from people who already love your brand/product.

There’s two main ways to do this.

First, you can set up an affiliate or brand ambassador program. Create a landing page so people can find it. Email your customer list & share on social media to make it known. You can start driving inbound interest like this.

Second, Modash has an “influential followers” feature. You can connect your brand’s Instagram account, and Modash will surface any followers you have who have 1k+ followers of their own.

Okay – we’ve got a few reliable ways to find fashion influencers. Now for the hard part.

Persuading a fashion influencer to partner with you

Influencers get dozens of outreach messages from brands every day. The bigger the influencer, the more difficult it is to get their attention and persuade them to promote your products.

Let's look at three ways you can convince influencers you're the perfect brand to partner with.

1. Outreach personalization is everything

Don’t write a lazy, generic outreach message like everyone else.

And take Nikola Sokolov’s advice: you cannot use templates (or AI) for personalization.

This guy’s company sends one million emails per month to creators. And he still doesn’t let his team use templates.

Here’s an example that beginners think is personalization, but in reality could be sent to almost any creator, and is utterly ignorable:

Hi Jane,

I stumbled across your profile on TikTok and was blown away by the quality of content and the amazing detail you go into for every post.

[Company pitch here]

Getting someone’s first name and a generic insincere compliment is not enough.

Here’s an example of actually good personalization:

Hi Jane,

“I can hold out for pieces that delight my soul” – this resonated so much with me. I absolutely loved your take on being picky with clothing. Not settling just because something fits. I needed that reminder!

I’m John from John’s Fashion Brand. I think your values and style are super well-aligned with ours.

Are you open to sponsored collabs currently? Could I send you more info about our brand and what I have in mind?

Key points to take note of:

  • The sender has clearly actually seen the creator’s content
  • The brand/products are clearly relevant to the content
  • It uses a “soft ask” (all you need is a “yes”, and the conversation is started)

2. Send more follow ups (and then a few more again)

Marketers aren’t used to cold outreach. Being ignored or rejected is uncomfortable. If you want serious results though, you just have to put on your sales hat, knuckle down, and increase your volume.

Build bigger lists, send more emails.

Follow up 3-5x, and incorporate DMs into your follow-up sequence if you don’t get an email response.

And if they still don’t engage? Try again in 6 months – don’t give up forever.

3. Be clear about the perks & compensation you’re offering

You’re going to get much more responses if you’re clear up front about what you’re offering.

The #1 thing a creator is thinking when they see your outreach email is “What’s in it for me?”. Just like how you’re only reaching out for what’s in it for your brand.

The value for both sides should be clear.

So if you’re offering to pay directly up front, say that. It’ll increase your response rate.

If you’re trying to recruit commission-only affiliates, then explore ways to add value without paying up front:

  • Access to free clothing. This also allows influencers to try your products, and more authentically show them to their followers.
  • Exclusive access. Help creators feel like they’re on the “inside” – share exclusive access to limited edition products, or early access to deals/offers and new products.
  • Feature them & their content: If you can help the creator to get more reach or new followers, that’s valuable. Outside of immediate revenue, that’s their main goal. By featuring a creator in your own content or emails, you add extra value without spending $$$.

Whatever you can offer, make it clear. Don’t make creators ask (or worse – assume that you’re offering little value).

How to collaborate with a fashion influencer

The best path for collab strategy will depend largely on your budget, goals, and product value.

Here’s how I suggest you think about it if you’re just getting started.

Always start with an affiliate program

Commission-only compensation is the dream for brands. Infinitely scalable.

The problem? A lot of creators aren’t open to commission-only partnerships (for various reasons).

Even so, you should start here regardless. Here’s why:

1- You need the opportunity to add performance-based elements to other collabs (more on this soon).

2- Your existing customers & fans can discover the program and get started on their own. Once set up, it’s very low effort to maintain.

Now, where next?

If you have a budget, sponsored posts are the most reliable

Ben Williams (who has managed thousands of fashion collabs at Farfetch) believes that directly paying for content is the best way to collab with influencers.

When you offer sponsored posts (instead of seeding/gifting, which we’ll cover in a sec):

1- Your outreach will be more successful. More creators will respond to your emails (because you can offer $$$ up front).

2- You guarantee the set of deliverables. No more crossing your fingers hoping for an Instagram story to pop up.

The results are fast, and you’ll likely have to do less outreach/recruitment overall.

Then, the secret sauce. Leverage that affiliate program. On every sponsored post collab, add a performance-based element.

The biggest argument against sponsored posts is that the creator gets paid the same regardless.

They can do a mediocre job, or put in maximum effort, and compensation doesn’t change. You can overcome that problem.

Pay for base deliverables to remove risk for the creator. They’re at least getting paid for the time they put into creating content & posting.

But when you enable a performance-based element, you incentivize the creator to go further. They can post more than you agreed upon, and be rewarded for it. They can optimize their ability to drive traffic over time, and increase their earnings.

If it’s a great fit, they’ll keep posting for rev share even after you stop sponsoring posts.

If you have more time than money, use product seeding

Product seeding is a low-cost method to get influencer generated content and start new creator relationships.

If you’re unfamiliar, the (simplified) process is:

  • Send small creators a free product, no strings attached
  • Some will post about your product, some won’t
  • Recruit the most engaged creators onto performance-based partnerships
  • Optionally: ask (or pay) for permissions to repurpose the content (e.g. Meta ad creatives)

The cost is just the cost of your product & shipping, plus maybe some software costs for finding influencers & sending outreach emails. The biggest cost (creator payments) is removed.

Then, time to reapply the secret sauce (affiliate program) again. Those creators who do post? Recruit them onto a revenue share model. Incentivize them to try harder to sell your product -- and to post more beyond that initial thank-you/unboxing post.

If a creator already posted once, then the chances are that:

1- They do *actually* like the product, and

2- They’ll now be more open to posting again with a revenue share commission-only model

Your success rate will be higher this way vs. starting your cold outreach with a commission-only offer right from the start.

Other collab ideas

Obviously, those aren’t your only options – but it provides a simple framework to start if you’re not sure what to do.

Real quick, here’s some additional collab types to consider.

Giveaways and contests

Have creators invite their followers to participate in a contest. It might include following your brand, tagging friends, or sharing their own fashion-related content using a specific hashtag to participate in exchange for products you provide.

Here’s an example. Saint James collaborated with Christy Carlson Romano to host a giveaway.

Co-create product lines

If you’re working with a big creator who you really trust, you could go as far as to create new clothing lines together. Here’s an example.

Tommy Hilfiger collaborated with Zendaya to launch 'Tommy x Zendaya' during his fashion show TOMMYNOW at the Apollo Theater in 2019.

Events and launches

Partnering with an influencer for fashion events or your product launch can effectively introduce your brand to a wider audience.

Here’s an example. Good American, a body-positive clothing brand, invited multiple influencers to its "Every Body panel," with Ashley Graham as a guest speaker. Dani, a body-positive influencer posted about the event:

Launch a hashtag challenge

Have creators encourage their followers to create UGC, and start a trend. Here’s an example.

American Eagle collaborated with Addison Rae for the #InMyAEJeans TikTok challenge. The hashtag has 3.5 billion views, and more than 432,000 people participated in the challenge.

3 examples of fashion influencer marketing campaigns done right

1. ASOS: #AySauceChallenge

ASOS targeted UK and US audiences with its #AySauceChallenge inviting the community and fashion fans to "channel their ASOS vibe" and express their style and creativity by posting their three best outfits over three weeks.

The brand worked with more than 25 leading influencers in the UK and US, with a combined following of over 219 million. Some of the influencers ASOS partnered with include Loren Gray, Noah Becks, Luke Trotman, and Holly H, among others.

Look at this video posted by Noah Beck — it generated 1.4M likes and 4K+ shares.

🎊Campaign results

  • The hashtag resulted in 1.2 billion views in just six days, with 488,000 videos created and 167,000 users participating.
  • 50% increase in ad recall
  • 25% increase in aided brand awareness
  • 10% increase in brand association with being 'trendy'

💡Key takeaways

  • Don't promote your products in a way that feels forced. Make it fun and engaging for the audience.
  • Give your audience a platform to showcase their own creativity, as it'll make them feel engaged.

2. Fendi: #PeekabooBar

To promote its Peekaboo handbag, Fendi launched a pop-up in London to customize bags. The brand collaborated with multiple influencers to promote its Peekaboo handbag.

Fendi invited content creators Lydia Millen and Leonie Hanne, among others, to its pop-up in London, where they received unique customizations for their bags.

The brand's fans could come to the pop-up to mix and match the handle, body, and strap to create their very own bespoke version. With over 20 different varieties for the body of the bag, this was a perfect way to motivate the audience to stop by the Peekaboo Bar.

The brand also launched a Fendi Caffe, and the latte art and monogrammed cakes and crockery made the pop-up an ultimate Instagrammable pit-stop for influencers and content creators.

Williabelle Ong tells her audience about the pop-up and encourages them to visit it in the following post.

🎊Campaign results

  • $8.7M EMV in a month
  • An 18% month-over-month growth fueled by an 18% MoM increase in average EMV per influencer

💡Key takeaways

  • Provide limited-time opportunities for your audience to participate, as it'll invoke people's FOMO (fear of missing out), and you'll see a greater response.
  • The Peekaboo Bar was a great success because it allowed fans to build customized handbags that weren't available on the market. So, exclusive opportunities work great as people like to stand out and showcase their own creativity.

3. Dior: #DiorLoveChain

Dior's first campaign with smaller influencers was launched to spread the word about the brand and get people to participate in a good cause.

Centered on the #DiorLoveChain hashtag, the campaign was a charitable initiative benefitting WE Charity. The campaign incorporated detailed briefs and worked with 200 influencers in 58 countries.

Every time the hashtag was shared on social media — along with an accompanying image answering, "What would you do for love?" — Dior donated $1 to the organization established to end poverty among children and provide schooling for girls in Kenya.

This post by Beatrice Gutu is a good example of the Dior campaign and how it motivated the audience to share.

🎊Campaign results

The campaign generated over 31,000 Dior-approved posts in a month and reached 16.6 million people.

💡Key takeaways

  • Allow influencers to have control during their content creation and let their creativity flow without restriction.
  • Have a clear goal in mind and a strong message for a cause many support.

Nail your fashion influencer marketing with Modash

Influencer marketing isn’t the easiest channel to crack for fashion brands.

But if you put in the effort, after 1 year, you’ll likely have found 50-100+ ROI-positive partnerships, and turned creators into a top revenue-generating channel.

When you’re ready to scale up recruitment, try Modash. It has everything you need to find your next 1,000+ perfect-fit fashion creators:

  • Search & filtering
  • Audience & performance data (without reaching out)
  • Finding email addresses
  • Monitoring content
  • … and more

Try it free (no credit card needed). 🙂

 
class SampleComponent extends React.Component { 
  // using the experimental public class field syntax below. We can also attach  
  // the contextType to the current class 
  static contextType = ColorContext; 
  render() { 
    return <Button color={this.color} /> 
  } 
} 

Table of Contents
Modash lets you search a database of 250M+ influencers, analyze their audiences & get contact emails.
Try For Free

Contributors to this article

Ben Williams
Influencer Team Manager, Blast
Previously at Farfetch & Nike, Ben leads all things influencer marketing at Blast. He's responsible for driving revenue via creators for digital products & events.

The most accurate influencer analytics platform

Try for free. No credit card required.