Bottega Veneta’s Social Media Exit – Is Offline the new Luxury?

Bottega Veneta Social Media Exit

Bottega Veneta sent lockdown in to overdrive when their social media accounts one by one disappeared. At first, everyone assumed it was an Instagram error, and soon it came to light via @NewBottega that it was a strategically planned move by Daniel Lee and his new reign as Creative Director.

The AF team discuss Bottega’s Social Media Exit..

Evan Burrowes, Marketing Assistant at accessFASHION

Having grown up with social media, it’s hard for me to imagine a world where the first encounter consumers have with a brand isn’t on Instagram. The platform has become so much more than just an online space to share photographs, perhaps the biggest marketing tool for brands and a lifestyle for its users. It’s the first thing I check when I wake up and the last before I go to bed. So when the news dropped that Bottega Veneta (one of the most watched brands of 2020) had turned their back on Instagram, leaving their 2.5 million followers in the dark, immediately, like many others I assumed a technical error was the route of the problem. But now there seems to be an increasing view that this was a strategic move by Daniel Lee in leading the brand in to the direction he sees best for its future.

It’s an easy assumption that Lee isn’t a devotee of social media, having no personal Instagram account himself. When he first took over as Creative Director he described the brand as “a sleeping giant” and it would be wrong to assume that Bottega’s far reaching Instagram presence with its millennial fan base, didn’t play a vital role in waking that ‘giant’ up. From my own experience on Instagram, I have witnessed first-hand how the perception of luxury goods has been changed, as a direct result of the influencer culture we are all absorbed in.

Gen Z and Millennial Instagram users, like myself, have our fashion decisions made for us by social media. In the past, I have found myself being drawn in to a product simply because a certain celebrity or influencer owns it, rather than appreciating the product for its design and the ethos of the brand. Perhaps Lee’s exit from social media was a strategic move to preserve the exclusivity of Bottega. Such a bold statement from the brand can only be perceived as an effort to bring back a much needed sense of individuality to the fashion community. Where many of whom are slowly adopting a herd mentality as the influence social media has over our own sense of style continues to grow.

As we await an official response from the brand, leaving many of us longing for their return to Instagram, we can only admire the media frenzy caused by the bold move and begin to question if other luxury fashion houses will follow suit and turn their back on social media.

Sabina Emrit Harper, Founder & Editor of accessFASHION

Firstly, I wanted to say that I love Evan’s honesty about how he sees and uses social media. It’s not something my generation freely admit (even though I’m supposedly a millennial myself). But the above is also why I have often come to dislike social media. Luxury used to be luxury and through social media, both the experience of getting to know a luxury brand and falling in love with a product that could be meaningful and long lasting has been watered down in to an ‘of the moment’ and for the ‘gram purchase.

Having looked at @NewBottega that night it’s clear that this was a carefully planned move. Just days after the Gucci x North Face collaboration swarmed the internet – who is the one luxury brand everyone is talking about? Checkmate.

The news takes me back to one of my favourite articles The Circus of Fashion’ by Suzy Menkes. The NY Times piece is almost 7 years old, but still rings true today.

I began my career before Instagram and I miss that time. I miss when quality genuinely mattered over quantity and follower count. I miss when there was a reason one would invest in a luxury item. It used to because something about the brand resonated with you, be it the craftsmanship, the brand story or its sheer beauty. And it was never because an influencer who was lent it or gifted it, wore it, shot it, no doubt before selling it on Depop or Vestaire. So, I’m a fan of the move because I’m here for slow fashion. I’m here for the original meaning of luxury fashion. True craftsmanship. Saving instead of splurging and not encouraging people to live beyond their means at an already turbulent time in the world.

Deleting the brand’s social presence forces one to browse the website. To do a little research and maybe learn a thing or two about it in the process. My husband bought me a keyring from Selfridges when we moved in together years ago. I remember thinking, ‘Wow that’s a bold move with so much choice. I opened the bag and inside was a beautiful dusky pink Intrecciato keyring. Asking why he didn’t go for something obvious like Louis Vuitton or Chanel he said, “I’d read about Bottega in one of your magazines and the brand seemed exciting, the design was understated yet it still said luxury…”

If this was a little media stunt it’s most certainly worked. We love the end of this article where Steff Yotka says, “…I’m left wondering how long Bottega Veneta’s social media absence will last. If its job postings are any indication, not very long. The company is currently hiring for a global social media manager.” Interestingly enough, when you click on the link, it now reads, ‘The page you are looking for doesn’t exist.’

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