Study Says Royals Are Trendsetters Just Like Influencers

MILAN — They were once considered among the top trendsetters, then the influencers took over, but it now seems as if the royals are recovering lost ground.

According to the Royal Fashion Report 2020, published Tuesday by fashion search platform Lyst, members of the royal families have more than one thing in common with influencers in terms of their fashion influence.

Lyst analyzed consumption habits of more than 9 million users, as well as the number of followers and engagement rates for royals active on social media via partnership with DMR Group, which focuses on monitoring, tracking and analyzing data, communication activities and public relations strategies for leading brands worldwide.

“The pandemic has accelerated a change of communication strategy for royal families, triggered by the use of new technologies and an image closer to people,” commented Brenda Otero, project leader of the Lyst Royal Report.

“Royals seek engagement with their audience without intermediaries, building their own ‘brand’ and community similarly to what influencers do,” Otero added.

She noted that compared to celebrities and social media personalities, fashion choices have a deeper meaning when it comes to members of royal families, often proving more powerful than words.

According to the study, among the royals scoring the top three spots on Instagram, Dubai’s Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum is the most followed member of a royal family with over 10 million followers, followed by Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan with 6.2 million followers. She caused a stir after posting an image of herself wearing an Off-White polka dots blouse, sending searches for the brand up 42 percent on Lyst, according to the study.

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Instagram’s third most popular royal is 20-year-old heartthrob Achille of Greece, with 482,000 followers on Instagram and a 4.5 percent month-over-month increase.

The Lyst analysis points out that royals are becoming increasingly more democratic when it comes to their fashion choices, a trend that the pandemic and consequent lack of formal IRL events have accelerated. For instance, the research underscored that the popularity of Zara dresses surged after Queen Letizia of Spain donned a range of low-cost pieces during an official visit across the country last June.

Among the most talked-about royal trendsetters in recent memory, the Duchess of Cambridge has fostered the search for a number of tops she donned during lockdown in her video calls. Searches for yellow knitwear pieces increased 20 percent after she sported one in April, while striped tops shot up 147 percent after she wore a Joos Tricot version in an appearance on BBC.

After Princess Beatrice chose to borrow one of Queen Elizabeth’s old Norman Hartnell gowns for her wedding to Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi in a behind-closed-doors ceremony at Windsor Castle in July, Lyst observed an impressive 297 percent surge in searches for “vintage wedding gowns” on the platform. The fashion search platform described this as part of an ongoing trend of “conscious fashion” choices among royals.

The democratization trend has informed not only the female royals but also their male counterparts. Since April Lyst searches for baseball caps has increased 24 percent since April, after a no-logo version was repeatedly sported by Prince Harry in Los Angeles. A similar trend was seen for linen shirts and cashmere crewnecks.

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