Brands are constantly working to stay ahead of trends on social media, and that can mean reassessing the very platforms they're using. For some, that means figuring out how to authentically produce TikToks and Instagram Reels. For fashion designer Rebecca Minkoff it means taking her brand to OnlyFans.
The site allows users, or 'Fans,' to pay brands, celebrities, and everyday people for exclusive content. At the beginning of the pandemic in March and April 2020, the platform experienced a 75 percent monthly increase in new user and creator registrations. The site quickly became known for explicit content and democratizing sex work. Now it boasts 100 million active users and more than one million creators. According to OnlyFans, the site gains up to 500,000 new users per day. Beyoncé even rapped about the site in her verse for Megan Thee Stallion's remix of 'Savage,' singing "Hips tik tok when I dance/On that Demon Time, she might start an OnlyFans."
Minkoff said it's the high level of exposure that first drew her to the platform. "When you see people like Cardi B or Michael B. Jordan going on to a new platform I say okay, let's give this a shot." The designer said she sees it as a new avenue to connect with her "most diehard, most dedicated fans" in a meaningful way.
There are concerns over people's willingness to visit the site, considering the content it's known for. Minkoff told Cheddar that she spoke with the CEO of OnlyFans directly and was assured that if her fans don't want to see the more explicit content on the platform, they won't. "There isn't an algorithm that's going to push you content you do not intend to see," Minkoff said. "You have to seek out the creator that you want."
Minkoff believes the real value in the future of the platform will grow from creators like herself along with celebrities and other brands. The designer and businesswoman has a long history of supporting and empowering other female founders. Along with behind-the-scenes looks at her design process, her OnlyFans account will eventually offer one-on-one mentoring sessions and video series.
"People can pay as little as $3 or $5 for an hour of mentoring with me," Minkoff told Cheddar. "Which is truly invaluable when you're just starting out and you need some advice."
The veteran designer originally launched the platform to highlight her New York Fashion Week show last week. The brand was able to host an in-person audience, which required an immense amount of coordination and planning. Minkoff says models and staff were tested before the show and everyone had to fill out extensive paperwork ahead of time. Guests sat six feet apart and were required to wear masks at all times. The show featured a botanical garden tucked into a New York City greenhouse boasting "the freshest air that New Yorkers haven't smelled in months"
Minkoff said the impact of an in-person show was overwhelming. "There was a feeling of joy of seeing plants that are alive, of seeing community, of seeing friends, and people were like, 'Thank you for doing this. Thank you for showing that we can get back to work and we can do it safely. And we don't need to have the constant fear and panic set in.' There is a path to do whatever work we do, and be caring and cautious, but still create joy."