by MIKE CHAIKEN
Fashion brands taking roost on social media sites is par for the course in the 21st century.
Brands will post about themselves. And brands rely on influencers of all dimensions to provide enthusiastic endorsement of their products.
But, Chixit (Chixit.com) did things backwards.
The swimsuit and sportswear brand was born first as a social media site aiming to take on the big guns of the world. But in time, Chixit evolved into a fashion brand after it inspired a social media universe built on the enthusiasm of fans of the brand.
Chixit was showcased on Sept. 8 in a runway fashion show at Society Fashion Week at the Broad Street Ballroom as part of New York Fashion Week.
Philip Russo, the founder of Chixit, explained the brand initially was intended to be a social media platform in Germany. However, due to a myriad of concerns of users, Russo said the platform never took off.
But the idea of social networking itself didn’t die, he said.
Around the same time that Chixit hit a social media brick wall, Russo said the interest in Facebook was waning while interest in Instagram began to boom.
The decision was made at Chixit, rather than establishing its own platform or developing its own app, the brand would hitch a ride with Instagram’s rising star, said Russo.
The turning point for the brand establishing itself was its ability to secure the rights to the web domain of Chixit.com, said Russo.
With a plan in place, Russo said Chixit began in earnest with an outreach to models to build an @chixit network on Instagram. From there, he said the network of models and the Chixit community grew organically.
“The Chixit brand… is based on community. It’s based on the models expressing themselves. It’s based on friendship and networking,” said Russo.
Orlando’s Dare Taylor, who was walking for Chixit in New York, is also an active participant in the Chixit community.
Taylor, who was scouted as a model for the brand at a pageant, said the Chixit community extends all over the world. But what’s cool, she said, is that “we’re different body shapes, different heights, and different types of people.”
Chaihan Tress from Dallas said that willingness of the Chixit members to embrace different model types and body diversity was one of its big attractions for her.
“I really like Chixit because it’s really open to body positivity,” said model Avaryana Adkirson of Florida, who also was walking at Society Fashion Week.
The community of Chixit is best exhibited by a group chat the models have formed on Instagram.
“That allowed us to connect with each other,” said Tress.
“The communication between everyone is very awesome,” said Tress. “We get to all hang out and meet up at places.”
The community that has developed with the other women, said Adkirson, has helped her improve as a model.
“I love networking with (the models) because I get to meet new people and they become my friends and I talk to them all the time and get to do photo shoots with them,” said Adkirson.
Lucila Basso, who is from Argentina, said she enjoys being able to connect with influencers from around the world as well as young people from the globe via Chixit.
Taylor said she’s such a big fan of Chixit, she has even promoted the brand on her popular YouTube channel (Dare W).
The energy emanating from Chixit is really the energy of the women using the network, said its founder.
“I owe everything to the models,” said Russo. “They’re excited to help the brand grow. They have new ideas for us. They participate in fashion ideas. They participate in finding new followers and discussing the positive aspects of (Chixit).”
Chixit’s expansion into fashion items such as sportswear and swimwear began with the models as well, said Russo.
Some models and influencers in Jacksonville, Fla., through Instagram, asked Chixit to create tank tops with the Chixit logo on it. So Chixit followed suit, said Russo.
“That was a lot of fun,” said Russo.
“From there,” said Russo, “a lot of dance students and gymnastics students were asking for more sportswear.”
Chixit fulfilled their request.
Numerous members of Chixit from Florida than began asking for swimwear, Russo said. Again, Chixit gave the models what they wanted.
Now, said Russo, Chixit offers not only the sportswear and swimwear, but has a new line of fashionwear that is intended to be worn for occasions at night where the dress code doesn’t call for something too glamorous.
“(The new line is) fun and something where (the models’) peers would said, ‘I like that, let’s go out and wear this brand and celebrate our friendship,” said Russo.
Adkirson is a fan of Chixit’s clothing, especially the swimwear. “The suits are so comfy,” she said, “I love the colors and designs of it.”
Although the fashion show in New York gave Chixit an opportunity to expose the brand to fans of fashion and the press, Russo said the event at Society Fashion Week was about much more.
“We’re just here to have a celebration of he brand and enjoying each other’s friendship, exploring new fashion opportunities, and making new friends in New York City,” he said.
For more information, visit Chixit.com or @chixit on Instagram.