In Italy, 85% of people between the ages of 18 and 34 own a smartphone and use it to browse and see online content, and more than 50% of that population say they usually favor online purchases.
What was already a growing trend has reached unsurpassed records with the pandemic - the need for brands to capture engaging visual content for a new range of consumers, in search of aesthetic identification: Generation Z.
If fashion shows are still somewhat bashful about featuring models that defy the traditional codes of beauty canons (curvier body shapes, androgynous appearances), e-commerce has long adopted standards that speak to this age bracket.
Fast fashion brands - such as Zara, H&M, or Asos - have set the trend for a more inclusive representation. Models more infrequently fit a Size 0, overriding the standards of the early 2000s, which have been criticized for encouraging unhealthy eating habits with teens.
Casting calls target physical appearances that can adequately represent a larger range of people, including gender neutral propositions in the fashion sector, with brands offering unisex garments to mix and match with freedom and creativity. Breaking free from traditional beauty standards is, therefore, a strong starting point to attract younger generations.
Moreover, the demand for active and engaging photography is ever-growing for e-commerce platforms. Say goodbye to motionless models that wear garments without any context, the need for an interpretation, and transmission of the brand identity through the product offer, the styling, and a distinctive attitude. This partly explains the phenomenon of influencers, whose involvement adds a whole new dimension to the products they advertise.
The technical depiction of products requires the highest quality of detail for still life shots, while pictures with models no longer focus exclusively on the product itself (there are even cases where the product is hardly noticeable!) because their purpose is to interpret the sensation of the fabrics and materials in question or to convey the freedom of movement ensured.
To sum up, breaking free from preconceived aesthetic standards is crucial, even though they first appeared to be the right approach to depict online fashion when e-commerce first came to be. This path is now often left behind in favor of a more contextualized aesthetic, no longer limited to editorial coverage only.
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