7 Ways to Bring Fashion Stories to Life with Visual Storytelling

The bright and colourful world of fashion is a visual storyteller’s paradise.

Whether reporting from the edges of the runway, or sharing everyday style advice, fashion is a prime example of a subject that is best seen. So how can you apply visual storytelling techniques to make your next fashion story a richer, more engaging experience?

Here are 7 ideas to get you started, inspired by stories created with Shorthand.


Let the clothes (shoes, accessories, bags etc) do the talking

This is visual storytelling, and that means it's an ideal opportunity to put the fashion you want to share front and center in your story. Put the words to one side for a moment, and consider how to fill your reader's screen with rich visuals, whether photos or video. For a fashion story it's got to be the best way to get the reader's attention. See how Elle intersperses full-screen shots of Ugg products in Out-of-office – with little or no text alongside.

Compare & contrast

Whether fading from outfit sketch to final look, or between before and after makeover shots, interactive techniques can transform the comparison of two images into a rich, engaging experience. Consider, for example, being able to document the development of a new design from on-paper concept to final product, or comparing two similar products by the scroll of a mouse. And see how The Telegraph took a trip down memory lane to recount The changing face of Kate Moss.

Layer up

This is all about breaking down processes by adding extra detail layer by layer. Consider how you could build up an outfit on screen by capturing a variety of images, each one with the addition of a new item. Or show the change of season styles as you move from the light fabrics to summer, to the warm wools of winter.

You could even have a bit of fun with layers, and get creative with fashion-themed overlays. See how Refinery29 got playful with revealing images of the subjects of The Z List under mountains of handbags, shoes and hats.

Or you could apply a similar approach to showcasing a series of outfits, using images that layer from one to the next as The Telegraph does in Starry Night.

Go behind the scenes

From backstage at Fashion Week, to the mechanics of a magazine photoshoot, visual storytelling is a powerful way to invite your reader to peek behind the curtain. This is a perfect example of how multimedia storytelling can deliver an extra layer to day-to-day storytelling.


Let's shop!

Of course, when covering the fashion industry, readers may not want to just look at the products – they may also have purchasing in mind. For publishers keen to innovate with native advertising, there is a powerful opportunity to work with brands to create media-rich narratives that will engage customers, and encourage them to shop.

Map the shops

Perhaps you need to illustrate the location of upcoming Fashion Week events, or where you can purchase the latest must-have accessory. When fashion and geography comes together, visual storytelling can again help break down the detail. For example, making maps interactive is a great way to add location data at the reader's own pace.

How to guides

Most of us are visual learners, so video and photography often take the lead in delivering how-to guides and tutorials. And if you bring them together as part of a well-structured, interactive narrative, it becomes a hugely engaging format. For inspiration see's Extraordinary Beauty story, which brings together video tutorials, step-by-step photos and expert tips for a comprehensive guide to using products by a specific make-up brand.

Those are just a few ideas – we'd love to hear yours, or other great examples you've seen.



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Women's Magazine: 7 Ways to Bring Fashion Stories to Life with Visual Storytelling
7 Ways to Bring Fashion Stories to Life with Visual Storytelling
The bright and colourful world of fashion is a visual storyteller’s paradise.
Women's Magazine
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