As fashion week wrapped up today, fashion experts viewed the growing pleasure of reconnection with the world at Lanvin Official on Instagram stories —presented live from Shanghai for the world to see. Despite the fact that editors and buyers were not physically present, the cool vibe seamlessly came through over the wire. As they say in the business; the show must go on.
In a word, the runway presentation was alluring and captivating on so many levels. More to the point, with 4.3 million followers on Instagram, I could not help but focus my attention on how the fashion industry is at the dawn of a pivotal moment of momentous change. Fashion is changing and rightly so. People are evolving to the infinite pleasure of beginning again. At this time, we embrace our doubts with open arms, while we prepare for a resurrection of the fashion industry.
The post Covid fashion world is about feminine silhouettes fashioned like a second skin that breathes and affirms resilience. As the world draws near to a close on a very challenging year, the fashion business can no longer ignore the power of sales with respect to social media. Today’s fashion influencers now have the power to draw consumers to sales by simply opening up a window into their brand culture.
I recently reviewed an influencer with great social influence— with respect to luxury lifestyle and brand culture. Fashion model and macro influencer Billy Arora was born and raised in Vancouver, Canada. Her mother was a fashion model signed with the IMG agency. Billy recalls her fond childhood memories of watching her mother on set shooting high fashion editorials and advertising campaigns.
Billy was born into a diverse family background. Her mother is Norwegian and her father is Indian. In a sense. the story reminds me of the time neorealist Italian filmmaker Roberto Rossellini married Swedish actress Ingrid Bergman, who soon thereafter had given birth to the model and actress Isabella Rosselini. Having parents coming from a diverse background is one thing, but growing up in a separate country truly intrigues a child.
As a teenager, Billy was an equestrian and dreamed of competing at the Olympics one day. She has since dropped the competitions due to the success of her international modeling career, but has expressed interest in using her social media influence to develop social impact relating to her world.
Since the age of seventeen, Billy launched her career with high ambition to achieve success in the luxury fashion modeling world. “At the start of my modeling career, I would try out for multiple castings to no avail” says Billy. Nevertheless, as an entrepreneur, she had taken that rejection and turned it into a positive path forward to the tune of 244k followers on Instagram. In recent times, luxury fashion and beauty brands have been contacting modeling agencies to develop paid partnerships with their social media influencer’s of choice. More to the point, these days, modeling agencies are signing on models who have reached macro-influence status.
I teach a social media styling class at The Fashion Institute of Technology a few times each year. When I ask the students for a show of hands to obtain data on how many purchase fashion items from their favorite social media influencers, all hands are raised high. Fashion and beauty macro influencers (with over 100k followers and high engagement) are key for luxury brands to take notice and conduct business. The wave of the future is upon us.
Within two years Billy started booking high fashion campaigns —including global brands such as YSL and Sephora. Soon thereafter, she was the model of the Rudsak international campaign. Subsequently, her face was on every major billboard in New York City. Her most recent campaigns have been Dior, Cartier and Hermès , the later shot pre-COVID and published in Vogue this past summer.
I recently had the privilege to speak with stunning model and fashion influencer Billy Arora about why she believes clients and brands will always take special interest in your social media accounts, how shooting for Vogue and Hermès was definitely a highlight of her career and how this self-made social media influencer is currently working on a soon to be announced project aimed to bring forth great positive change in the fashion industry!
Joseph DeAcetis: Talk to Forbes about how you started your fashion modeling career?
Billy Arora: My modeling career definitely stemmed from my mother having been a fashion model. She was a model with IMG about 30 years ago. While growing up, I was fascinated at all her beautiful images in fashion magazines. When I decided it was something I wanted to pursue full time it certainly wasn’t easy for me, Many clients refused to hire me and I often doubted if I could make it into a tangible career.
Luckily for me, I am an incredibly stubborn person. Moreover, when I wish to pursue something, quite often, I not only disregard the negative chatter but rather, I make a clear path to go for it! If you ask me, timing is everything and eventually my career fell into place. As an entrepreneur, I believe it takes much more than a will to succeed. I feel, to maintain a healthy balance in this business you need to look at the cosmos that surrounds it, the dreams and opportunities that are attached to it, and the outside world of life and reality.
Joseph DeAcetis: In your words, speak to the Forbes viewers about the Hermès campaign?
Billy Arora: Shooting for Vogue and being styled in scarves by Hermès was definitely a highlight on my career path. In my youth, I was an equestrian for 12 years. In a word, Hermès was been a French high fashion luxury goods manufacturer since 1837. You see, Hermès first established a harness workshop in Paris dedicated to serving European noblemen by creating high-quality wrought harnesses and bridles for the carriage trade. Therefore, I found it spiritually serendipitous to have modeled for a company aligned with the equestrian lifestyle. Since I was a child, I have always admired beautiful editorial fashion spreads in Vogue. Therefore, when I found myself shooting for Hermès and Vogue, it was an incredibly happy feeling.
Joseph DeAcetis: Having been an equestrian, did this help your chances of modeling for Hermès?
Billy Arora: Being an equestrian, I would say it surely helped me. I am very familiar with the history and brand culture of Hermès. I am close to the main origin of the brand as Hermes has a full equestrian collection from clothing to tack for the horses. I believe that being able to identify with the brand culture of Hermès was something that made the story and the silk scarves flow! .
Joseph DeAcetis: What has been your greatest achievement as a fashion model?
Billy Arora: Looking back, I have already accomplished a lot of things that (at another time) would had been unimaginable to me. Still, it feels like it’s only the beginning. Honestly, I would say my biggest achievement has not been one particular shoot but rather it has been a tremendous part of my life and experiences.
Joseph DeAcetis: At what point were you aware that social media was becoming a power tool- for a model’s career?
Billy Arora: Nowadays, the decision makers are realizing how important social media is for fashion brands to flourish. People are understanding how you can use it as a tool to launch a career. Over the last few years, I learned how to use it in the right ways to benefit myself and my career. In a word, there are so many beautiful faces in the industry, but I believe that clients and brands who wish to work with you in the future —will always have a look at your social media first. I dissect it in a way of being my fashion and personal portfolio for everyone to see.
I feel it is important to use social media to your advantage. More to the point, it is essentially free of cost. In addition, these days, consumers wish to see more than a pretty face and some beautiful images. Social media gives one the chance to show one’s personality— which in my opinion matters greatly. My advice is to present yourself in a way that brings you into alignment with a relatable brands culture. Now, more than ever, it is the time of entrepreneurship.
Joseph DeAcetis: As a fashion macro influencer, what positive message are you displaying to your followers ( mental health/ fashion/ beauty…)
Billy Arora: Obviously, when we scroll through social media we are viewing one perspective. Many times it can be a superficial surface and I think that’s important for people to stay in aligned with a positive message. I try wholeheartedly to show a lot of aspects of myself. In fact, most of the time everything we view is very glamorous but it truly is just a fraction of what reality really is today. I believe it’s very important; especially for the younger generation to be aware of the knowing and loving yourself as you are.
I wish to be a representation of my true self to the best of my ability. This is the reason I control all my social accounts. Of late, I have been focusing on writing with the aim to become a stronger voice on my stories for my followers.
Joseph DeAcetis: Moving forward, where would you like to see your career flourish in the near future?
Billy Arora: I would like to see my career flourish by signing a contract a global beauty campaign such as Chanel or Lancôme…There are endless things I wish to accomplish in my career. I am currently thrilled and enthusiastic to be working on a special fashion project of positive change in the fashion industry. And not to be too forward but my face on the cover of Vogue would be supercool. Ha!