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New Delhi: The celebrity airport look is serious business for fast fashion and sports retailers. Brands such as H&M India, Cover Story, Jack & Jones, Vero Moda, GAP and Nike are working closely with celebrities and their stylists to turn airports into fashion runways. If a Bollywood star is spotted wearing one of their outfits, pictures of the celebrity are promptly shared on hundreds of fashion blogs and social media platforms for publicity.

“A celebrity wearing particular brand merchandise in their day-to-day life is far more impactful than a paid endorsement as it comes across as more genuine," said Rajiv Dingra, founder and chief executive, WATConsult, a digital and social media agency of Dentsu Aegis Network.

The airport look is a highly organized marketing exercise for brands. While the public relations teams of brands supply merchandise to the stylists, the social media team is responsible for tracking celebrities wearing their outfits and amplifying it on digital platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The kind of reach stars such as Deepika Padukone (with 25.5 million followers) and Alia Bhatt (with 22.9 million followers) can bring to a brand by sharing their airport outfits on their personal Instagram account is unparalleled and cannot be compared to any paid branded activity online.

Keeping this in view, fast fashion brand H&M India works extensively with Alia Bhatt, Jacqueline Fernandes, Ishaan Khattar and Kangana Ranaut on creating airport looks.

“A celebrity photographed wearing H&M can translate into priceless buzz as well as drive sales to stores," said Janne Einola, country manager of H&M India.

Alok Dubey, chief executive, lifestyle brands division, Arvind Lifestyle Brands Ltd, said the airport look is an “Insta craze" and an important part of their marketing mix.

The real stars of this marketing tactic are the celebrity stylists who decide what a star will wear at the airport.

“I believe that stylists are the trend forecasters and we stay in touch with them by supplying our collection catalogue to them. They usually request us to provide the product basis the requirement," said Manjula Tiwari, chief executive of Future Style Lab, which runs fast fashion brand Cover Story.

Cover Story, owned by Kishore Biyani’s Future Style Lab, has worked with Priyanka Chopra, Shraddha Kapoor and stylist Sanjana Batra.

While creating looks is the first step of the marketing exercise, the social media machinery is where the magic happens. Leading the trend is Facebook’s photo-sharing app Instagram, which has been a game changer for the fashion industry, influencing the way fashion is captured, shared, consumed and created.

“Fashion is the third-most followed category by young people globally on Instagram, behind music and entertainment. That’s because when your storefront, marketing, advertising and customer service are done in one app, on one device—everything changes," said Sandeep Bhushan, director, Facebook, India and South Asia, who believes that Instagram gives first-hand access to see how stylists and designers work.

The visual-heavy platform has definitely eaten away advertising from fashion magazines, said WATConsult’s Dingra who said that brands spend between 5% and 20% of digital ad budgets on celebrity looks.

“Magazines are losing advertising to social media big time, especially on Instagram. Fashion bloggers remain another big area of influence when in fashion advertising. While call-to-action print ads remain important during the sale season, most of the fashion advertising has moved from outdoor, radio and magazine to digital," he added.

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