It's no surprise that influencers are bending norms and growing more prominent at previously exclusive events. Recently, the rise of influencers at New York Fashion Week, the Met Gala and the Academy Awards has been noticeable, leading to a debate about whether they even deserve an invitation.
Emma Chamberlain's appearance at the Met Gala in 2021 is what I consider the start of the influencer world merging with that of actors, singers and stars who are prominent household names.
Chamberlain divided the country, with some believing she worked hard to build her platform and deserved to have her night at the Met Gala. But many believe that no influencer, including Chamberlain, deserves an opportunity to sit with some of the "greats" in entertainment.
Attending events as guests is one thing, but what sparked a lot of controversy online was the fact that this year, Fashion Week included influencers on the runway. Although New York Fashion Week may have ended, we’re still thinking about the influencers who attended.
With more than two million followers on TikTok, Remi Bader is known for her vulnerable posts and speaking out against brands that aren't diverse and inclusive. Bader is recognized as one of Forbes 30 under 30, having collaborated with brands like Revolve and Victoria's Secret.
The influencer made an appearance at the Christian Siriano show.
Alix Earle, who has a following of more than five million followers on TikTok, attended Dion Lee. With approximately 600 million likes on her TikTok account, Earle isn't your average 22-year-old.
The recent University of Miami graduate blew up from her "get ready with me" videos, showing Earle getting ready for events and showcasing her luxury beauty and makeup products.
TikTok’s "older sister," Christina Najjar, aka Tinx, was at the Prabal Gurung show. The Los Angeles local is a New York Times bestselling author of "The Shift" and has 1.5 million followers on TikTok.
Also seen at the Prabal Gurung show was Danielle Bernstein, founder of the blog and brand WeWoreWhat. Bernstein started her blog in college in 2010. She's since grown to more than three million followers on Instagram and has been named one of Forbes 30 Under 30. She also received lots of attention during the release of her book "This is Not a Fashion Story: Taking Chances, Breaking Rules, and Being a Boss in the Big City."
Today, having an increased number of influencers at exclusive events is unavoidable. Since Chamberlain's first Met Gala, many more influencers are now attending these types of events. At the same time, controversy has arisen when certain event guest lists don't include specific celebrities.
For example, actress Rachel Zegler wasn't invited to the 2022 Academy Awards despite starring in "West Side Story," a film that was nominated for Best Picture that year. Yet a dozen influencers were added to the red-carpet guest list before she was.
So why are influencers getting these invites? It's clearly because of the growing effect social media has on our everyday lives. Many people, college students especially, rely on influencers to get us through our day.
From watching get-ready videos and hearing the latest gossip to following their lavish lives, our society is sometimes more connected and invested in the lives of influencers than in the world physically around us.
These TikTokers have become so integrated into our lives that we think, how could they not attend Fashion Week? At the end of the day, an increase of influencers at Fashion Week doesn't make its events worse. It just shows how much social media is consuming our lives.
It proves we can only enjoy events with someone documenting them and reporting back to followers and that these famous industries are relying on that for coverage. Clearly, having influencers as runway models was an attempt to get more engagement with the younger audiences.