The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City has announced that it will begin selling merchandise through the social media platform Instagram. The Met’s announcement came in the first week of September to coincide with a new exhibition staged by the museum’s in-house Costume Institute. This show is entitled ‘In America: A Lexicon of Fashion’ and it is designed to showcase the creativity of a wide range of American designers operating today.
As of September 10th, the Met’s shop has been selling select merchandise from the likes of Virgil Abloh, Christopher John Rogers, Prabal Gurung and other talented designers who feature in the exhibition. However, the Met had decided to go a step further than merely offering merchandise to New Yorkers who are able to visit its famous galleries. As part of a partnership the museum’s board has put together with the fashion magazine, Vogue, the lineup of limited-edition merchandising products will also be made available to buy via the Met’s Instagram account. The team up with Vogue should come as no surprise to fashionistas and museum-goers alike because the fashion magazine happens to be one of the show’s sponsors.
It is fair to say that many museums, just like up-and-coming fashion brands, are now increasingly attempting to build interest via their social media presence. In this regard, the Met’s line-up of some notably high-profile designers is part of a wider strategy. Given some of the fashion designers that feature in the merchandising push already have sizeable online followings, the show is likely to be on the radar of people who wouldn’t necessarily think of an established cultural institution when they’re considering cutting edge fashion.
For example, the aforementioned Abloh has in excess of 6 million followers on Instagram. If you compare that to the Met’s figure, which stands at under 4 million, it is easy to see why the opportunity to co-brand online is being taken so seriously by the museum. Instagram’s head of fashion and shopping platforms kicked off the project with an IG Live Shopping event that was run with the cooperation of Vogue magazine. During that event, Abloh was on hand to reveal some of his designs being sold through the Met. Other designers who feature in the show and the merchandising sales project include Bode, Brothers Vellies, Collina Strada, Gypsy Sport and Pyer Moss. The exhibition is expected to run until next May.
About the author – Manuel Charr
Manuel Charr is a journalist working in the arts and cultural sectors. With a background in marketing, Manuel is drawn to arts organizations which are prepared to try inventive ways to reach new audiences.