The rise of social media in recent years has impacted the world in a number of ways, especially in the fashion industry where digitalisation profoundly shifted the way we make, distribute and interact with clothes. Platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter now play a massive role in the marketing of most fashion labels and are utilised to give an intimate look behind the brand (as well as sharing campaign images and love from celebrity figures).

But which brands do it best? Keep scrolling to discover our top picks of the fashion labels that ace social media!

Who: Burberry @burberry

Why: For the Spring/Summer 2016 campaign, the iconic British fashion house was the first to ever shoot and publish their images on Snapchat. It was captured by fashion photographer Mario Testino.

After utilising Snapchat to showcase its show at London Fashion Week last September, Burberry made waves in the industry once again when famed photographer Mario Testino (Princess Diana’s favourite photographer) shot and published the brand’s Spring/Summer 2016 campaign on the social media app. Bringing a new sense to the concept of exclusivity, the images could only be viewed for 24 hours before disappearing completely.

Testino said of the campaign, “we are hoping to change the way in which the industry traditionally views and treats fashion campaigns, opening up a completely new way of capturing and sharing content – with the result being much more instant and genuine.” The label has a history of technological innovation, utilising platforms such as Twitter and Apple Music in the past, so it’s worth keeping an eye on where creative director Christopher Bailey takes the house next.

Who: Black Milk @blackmilkclothing

Why: This home-grown success story began right here in Brisbane when James Lillis bought a sewing machine and a few scraps of Lycra in 2009. Now, Black Milk is a multi-million-dollar e-commerce business that attributes its success to social media.

James Lillis made his first pair of tribal-print leggings in his kitchen and sold them for $10 to a friend. After unsuccessfully trying to sell his Lycra items at markets and local shops, James decided to sell exclusively online (a big risk at the time). The brand then grew organically through James’ blog ‘TooManyTights’ and, since then, crazy printed leggings have become the signature of the Black Milk brand.

The brand famously doesn’t spend any money on external advertising – rather, they opt to utilise social media platforms and rely on word-of-mouth to market their collections. Indeed, social media is a huge part of the Black Milk brand; they were one of the first labels to utilise the hashtag to integrate customer images onto their online shop and there are now dozens of fan groups on Facebook that connect ‘sharkies’ (what James calls supporters of the brand).

Who: Maison Valentino @maisonvalentino

Why: Named the top luxury brand on Instagram by Engagement Labs in their eValue™ ranking.

Valentino achieved 82.7 out of 100 on Engagement Labs’ eValue™ score thanks to its stream of interesting content and high level of engagement, ranking as the top brand on visual-focused Instagram. Valentino consistently posts more regularly than its competitors and uses the platform to share product photos, celebrity endorsements and campaign appearances. The brand stirred up a social media storm when it announced the Zoolander movie sequel at Autumn/Winter Fashion Week in Paris last year, and the Valentino account also regularly reposts other users’ images, so it’s easy to understand why the house enjoys more interaction from its followers than any other luxury label.

They also feature an ‘Instashop’ where users can click on an image to be linked to a buyable product, such as the iconic Rockstud shoe that saw Maison Valentino’s profits double since being introduced in 2010. Many experts theorise about the place of social media in making this product ‘stick’ around as a favourite of bloggers and influencers, but all we know is that there are over 226,000 Instagram posts tagged with #rockstuds – and that number is constantly growing.

Who: Chanel @chanelofficial

Why: Reported as the most visible brand on social media by Refinery29.

Brandwatch’s report on the top luxury brands on social media found the legendary house of Chanel came out on top for visibility. Led by modern Renaissance-man Karl Largerfeld, the Chanel Instagram attracts hundreds of thousands of likes with engaging content and endorsements from social media powerhouses such as Kendall Jenner and Cara Delevingne, resulting in some of the most liked posts each year.

Largerfeld has managed to elegantly transition this classic brand into the modern age with short films (often shot and directed by the man himself) that showcase different sides of the Chanel woman. It’s believed that video is one of the most engaging mediums, so you keep doing you Karl.

While looking at how these four examples utilise social media to market their product today, we have to think about how fashion will communicate with its consumers in the years to come. Many people agree there has been a shift from text-based sites, such as Twitter, to platforms with a visual focus, such as Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat – but we’ll just have to wait and see where it goes from here.