On the heels of Marc Jacobs “leaking” his own ad campaign, Alexander Wang is taking it a step further. The designer, who reportedly got the boot from Balenciaga last year and is focusing in his eponymous label, launched a new Instagram account (@wangsquad) to give sneak peeks of (and certainly garner buzz surrounding) his Spring/Summer 2016 campaign. The account’s page consists entirely of polaroid headshots of his models, which include his favorite go-to girls, such as Lexi Boling, Binx Walton, Hanne Gaby, and Anna Ewers, as well as newer faces like Peyton Knight, Stella Lucia, Molly Bair, and Kaia Gerber. But then there are the famous faces (think: K Pop star CL, Travis Scott, Baauer, Makonnen, and Lucien Smith).
Interestingly, but not surprisingly, of the photos that have been posted thus far (and Wang's PR team says there will be more to come), CL has garnered the most love. While Cindy Crawford's daughter Kaia Gerber has 35 or so "likes" on her photo, along with rapper Travis Scott, CL has nearly 2,000. As you may know, CL of Korean pop group 2NE1and G-Dragon of BigBang, amongst other K Pop stars, are penetrating the fashion industry by way of front row seats at the biggest runway shows in Paris, collaborations and ambassadorships with established brands, and editorials in the likes of Vogue. And their appearance in ad campaigns and front rows makes a lot of sense, as these stars are larger than life in Asia and online.
Consider CL, or “The Baddest Female” as fans have dubbed her on the heels of her 2013 number one hit. The rapper, singer, songwriter, and bona fide style icon, can be spotted sitting front row at shows like Chanel and Moschino and stepping out in designs from cutting-edge labels like Vetements and Hood By Air. She can also be seen in regional Maybelline ads or with girl group, 2NE1, which has been touring the world. She boasts 3.1 million followers on Instagram – where her photos garner upwards of 100,000 likes.
G-Dragon, for instance, has 4.9 million Twitter followers; Taeyang has 2.24 million. On Instagram, G-Dragon has 6.3 million people following his every photo and Taeyang has 3.5 million. And these are far from empty numbers; they followers engage with them in a major way. G-Dragon’s tweets have between 2,500 and 15,000 retweets, and even more “favorites.” And that’s nothing compared to the levels of interaction on Instagram, where his average photo will draw between 350k and 450k “likes” and up to roughly 15k comments each. In short, these stars are influential.
With the help of their management company, YG entertainment, Bigbang’s two stars and CL are set to become even more ubiquitous, or at least, that’s the goal. Inhae Yeo, head of fashion consulting firm, Oikonomos, noted recently: “YG Entertainment wants to make stylish solo artists out of musicians like Taeyang, CL and Sandara, too. They’re taking a 360 degree approach to build them into brands in their own right.” And YG has the resources to do so; you may recall that L Capital Asia (LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton private equity firm) invested $80 million in YG Entertainment. And don’t forget CL. With "Hello Bitches," the first single from her solo album have been just released and the fashion world increasingly taking notice of her (think: both Karl Lagerfeld and Jeremy Scott, and now Alexander Wang, apparently, are fans), she is on her way to conquering the world, since she already has Asia firmly on her side.
If Western brands (like Guiseppe Zanotti, Chrome Hearts, and the others that have partnered with G-Dragon, for instance, and Maybelline, DKNY, and now Alexander Wang, have enlisted the help of CL) are smart, they will continue to court these individuals as they become internationally-renowned stars – because it is only a matter of time.