Interview with Fashion Influencer Gitta Banko:
‘Authenticity Is at the core’
The autumn 2018 fashion weeks in New York, Milan, Paris and London just ended and it seems that more influencers than ever before attended these events to share their impressions – mainly on Instagram. Instagram is one of the key platforms for the fashion industry as users inspire and influence one another: “The platform has empowered people, interested in fashion, to share ideas and communicate,” says Phil Rist, co-founder and principal of Prosper Insights & Analytics, a marketing insights and data firm. Reason enough for Ubermetrics to speak with fashion influencer Gitta Banko who has amassed more than 300,000 followers on Instagram.
Why are you passionate about fashion?
I basically grew up surrounded by fashion because my mother worked in the industry. Even as a child, I was already designing dresses and to become a fashion designer was a childhood dream of mine. To me, fashion is an art form and a way to express myself and my creativity. Fashion is also an integral part of the cultural fabric of our society.
How has fashion PR changed in recent years?
Digitalisation has changed a lot. In the past, celebrities, actors and fashion icons were the preferred guests at fashion shows and were also chosen as brand ambassadors and to lead campaigns. The influencer trend has changed this and we can see more and more influencers attending these events.
I always feel honoured when fashion brands or PR agencies approach me to inquire about a possible collaboration. It’s a pleasure to see that many companies are now considering social media marketing a very effective way to promote a brand or a product.
What do you look for when selecting PR partners?
So far I didn’t have any negative experiences when working with external PR agencies. For quite some time, I’ve been working with my manager, Yasmin Souissi. She is aware of my preferences, values and objectives. In our industry, being authentic must be at the core of all we do. Some influencers unfortunately often accept collaborations even though they don’t really reflect what they stand for.
We shouldn’t underestimate that working as an influencer is a type of marketing and each content has to convey emotions. An effective communication is therefore crucial. My manager supports me in this respect by clarifying – to the customer – my expectations and managing the entire negotiation process. The most important thing for me is to be true to myself – regardless of what I am working on.
How influential are fashion weeks today?
Fashion weeks are the most important events within the industry. They are the ideal platform for brands to present their new collections and to find new customers. But they are also equally important for fashion PRs who’ve put a lot of effort into planning these events. For fashion brands there is a lot at stake here as these presentations usually decide whether the collection will be a success or not.
Fashion weeks have also become more important for bloggers and other influencers. I usually meet potential clients at fashion weeks, extend my visibility within the media and gain new followers. Fashion weeks also offer fantastic networking opportunities, are helpful for content production and to show your community what is happening with behind the scenes insights.
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Yesterday at the @rochasofficial show || Love you @armandbiondini & can’t wait to see you again ??❤️ @biondiniparis @danny.reinke || ? @littlevoyager_ys || #fashion #fashionable #streetstyleluxe #style #styleaddict #ootd #fashionpost #fashionblogger #fashionblog #styleblogger #ootd #styleblog #fashionista #fashionaddict #wiw #streetstyle #gittabanko #blondwalk #streetchic #styles #love #fashioninspiration #styleinspo #fashioninspo #pfw #rochas
How is Influencer Marketing going to change?
Influencer Marketing has become one of the most important elements within Fashion PR and marketing. It’s much easier for brands to reach millennials and the Gen Z via influencers. What makes Influencer Marketing successful is the fact that we are not unapproachable, like for example a Hollywood star. I think that Influencer Marketing will continue to grow and even more companies will jump on the bandwagon.
At the start of my blogging career, I didn’t like it at all when someone called me an influencer. Possibly because I didn’t see myself as one. But this has changed. I’m happy about the numerous comments and emails that I receive every day. It makes me realise how many people can identify with my style and approach to fashion.
What are the benefits of working with print magazines?
For me, being featured in international print magazines was very beneficial. It helped me to gain visibility on an international scale which helped me to become in some countries even more popular than in Germany. This also led to additional international collaborations and campaigns. A lot of my followers are in the USA, Russia, Italy and Brazil.
Do you work with other influencers?
I’ve already teamed up with other fashion and beauty influencers. Usually, the respective client already has a pool of pre-arranged influencers for a collaboration in mind. But if a client asks for a personal recommendation, I’m always happy to help.
How do you select brands you work with?
There simply will have to be a great level of fit between what I represent and what the brand, collection or product stands for. When I do a collaboration with a brand, it’s important to me that I get to decide how I, for example, combine different clothes. This makes my personal style special and stand out. How did Coco Chanel put it? “Fashion changes, style stays“.
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@porsche_zentrum_willich @danny.reinke || Werbung/Ad || ? @littlevoyager_ys || #fashion #fashionable #streetstyleluxe #style #styleaddict #ootd #fashionpost #fashionblogger #fashionblog #styleblogger #ootd #styleblog #fashionista #fashionaddict #wiw #streetstyle #gittabanko #blondwalk #streetchic #styles #love #fashioninspiration #styleinspo #fashioninspo #pfw #porsche #macan #macans
How important are ethical standards for influencers?
A lot of laws changed once it became clear how much influence for example bloggers have on their communities. I now have to tag almost every post as advertising – even when it’s not a paid-for collaboration – because I add information about the specific brands that I’m wearing. I don’t really mind doing it as it doesn’t really take a lot of effort. But many people are actually annoyed by all the sponsored (or classified as sponsored) posts on social media. Unfortunately, influencers have no other option here – or they risk to be fined.
Who follows you and why?
My community mainly consists of women between 25 to 45 years of age from all over the world. However, about 21% of my followers are actually men. My followers are interested in topics such as fashion, beauty and lifestyle. A lot of them want to know where they can buy the outfits I show on Instagram and on my blog, Blondwalk.com.
It’s not easy to maintain a personal relationship with my community – especially when follower numbers are growing. But I’m still doing my best to reply to questions, personal styling requests or any other messages. I think Instagram Stories are great to give my followers some insight into what my personal ‘everyday’ life looks like.
Which social networks do you prefer?
The most important social network for me is definitely Instagram. On Instagram, it is essentially about visual communication which conveys many different emotions in a very direct and easy to understand way. Also, Instagram combines inspiration from various areas such as art, fashion, travel and lifestyle in one pool.
What are the trends for the coming season 2018/19?
The trending colours will be green, bordeaux, mustard yellow and rust. I’m looking forward to feminine, interesting and subtle cuts. Layering will be another big topic; for example the layering of different coats or jackets of different lengths. I can imagine that we will see a lot of that on the fashion week catwalks. It’s also possible to combine different bags, for example, a crossbody bag with an oversized handbag to create a special look.
Gitta Banko is a blogger and influencer in Germany. Gitta has a lot of experience in the fashion industry as she worked as a model, in showrooms and owned a boutique. Since 2015 she has been writing for her fashion blog “Blondwalk.com” where she shares tips about fashion and lifestyle.
The Ubermetrics team thanks Gitta Banko wholeheartedly for the interesting interview.