Instagram Fashion Influence
How Instagram Affects on Fashion and Consumer Behaviour
«A whole new world» – a well-known Disney fairy-tail song from Aladdin would become an anthem of every second Instagram user in honour of their most favourite app. How much time in a day do you usually spend on your Instagram feed? Once? Twice? Three times? An average millennial spends at least over half an hour every day on checking-out his feed. Let’s admit, we don’t even start our day without Instagram check first – I don’t even pick my head off the pillow before my feed hasn’t been scrolled – after that we get up from bed, take shower and do our regular morning routine; we don’t even fall asleep before the Instagram feed haven’t been checked out again (probably, for a tenth time in a day) provoking a partner laying down beside you to throw a pillow on your face and roar you to sleep.
Instagram became a meaningful part of our lives without which we can’t even imagine ourselves. If before, some years ago the app was created for instant photo sharing with your friends and taking a sneak peek on behind-the-scenes pictures of our favourite celebrities, now the app turned into a certain cult for one like of which we go for whopping measures. Sometimes, I have a feeling we live not only to live and enjoy life the way it is in all its potential but to have a possibility to demonstrate and brag it on social media. If you travelled to Peru and fed lamas, cast spells at Wizarding World of Harry Potter, tries to taste a live octopus in Singapore, climbed to the observation deck in Burj Khalifa, listen to a lecture in British Museum in London, and experienced many other exciting things, but there is no photo or video «confirmation» on Instagram – dude, it never happened in your life.
We share moments, «random» pictures and selfies we have been capturing for an hour straight in a vast number in order to pick the best of the best in the end – the most attractive and eye-catching – photoshop it til it seems on point, and post on Instagram. This is a long way our photos pass through before being presented to the whole world, while our parents and grandparents had only one chance to take a good picture at disposal, wait for it be developed in a special studio for several days, and put it inside a family album that will remain as memory of the family history. A «real», sincere pictures have already been left somewhere in the ’00, or even earlier. Meaning of the beautiful, saturated and eye-catching picture (in every sense of these definitions) that make others examine it for a long time and maybe be jealous of you for a bit, becomes predominant in daily Instagram game.
Have you ever noticed, when we choose something in the shop for further purchase whether it’s a new bed or a mirror, clothes or even a cosmetics, first thing first comes to our mind – how it looks like on the shot and our friends and followers’ Instagram feed? Me – yes. This is my personal scourge, and I’m ninety per cent sure there are a lot of us. We seek things that will be considered beautiful and outstanding primarily for other people, and then for us. That’s ridiculous, but many interior designers and architects create projects of cafe and restaurants principally based on Instagram trends and the way it will look like on a picture in social media. Most of their clients and restaurants owners require such direction of the design – the brighter and more extraordinary concept is – the more hype and visitor it will provide; thanks to just one attractively photoshopped picture appeared on the influencer’s profile who was invited to have dinner on the house.
The same tendency applies to food (what become a reason to appear a new direction of photography), to lifestyle (the more beautiful and aesthetically pleasing your flat-lays on the marble background – yes, very authentic – the more likes and comments they get), to home interiors (how many madmen who painted their walls white because it looks great on photos?), to pets (Grumpy-cat turned into an international meme and a brand afterwards, and a charming Wilfred Warrior who took our hearts with his jaw defect made him and lovely eyes), to make up and hairstyles (many beauty-bloggers go crazy by applying tons of makeup on their skin in trials to demonstrate «no-makeup makeup»). I can continue indefinitely, meanwhile, this insta-mania still expands and evolves.
With the advent of Instagram, the world discovered new, insta-worth beauty standards – big plump lips that mostly associated with dumplings; wide contoured eyebrows; prominent cheekbones that shine so bright thanks to a highlighter and might be probably seen from the outer space; narrow noses that seemingly made the way «copy-paste»; wasp waistline and and Kim Kardashian’s hips. In pursuit of the new trends, attention and followers, young girls are ready to remake themselves from head to toe becoming an unfortunate victim of an unattainable ideal. If earlier everyone tried to look alike runway models such as Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington, Adriana Lima, Kate Moss, Natalia Vodianova, and others that distinguished not only by their appearance but also personalities; now many girls are led by a crazy Instagram beauty standards that cause visits to cosmetologists and even to plastic surgeons. Moreover, it isn’t limited by one visit.
Fashion doesn’t like to stay aside and requires special attention to itself. The growing number of brands appeal on Instagram and find their own «Instagram-success». They neither have a high street physical stores, nor even an e-commerce site, but their presence on social media is steadily strong and gained immense popularity which lets to appear on their consumer’s feed much more often than high fashion giants and familiar and beloved ASOS or Zara. And, while just mentioned ASOS with an audience of millions tries to maintain customers by their plain white background studio look-books, Instagram-brands doesn’t sell but share a concept, suggest an idea of how and which environment their potential customers might aspire to dress. This approach is something more than just a call-to-action to put a like or sell garments – this is something that fashion fans might be inspired of and what they will come back for in a search of tips and style combinations.
A picture still remains a crucial component of Instagram that has an eye-catching effect and evoking to share it with others. Instagram is about mood and inspiration, where we always sink into in order to get distracted from the world around us to the world we covet and would like to live in. This a space that unites those who share the same aesthetic as you, get inspired by the same vision and consider you as a reflection of their own values.
Consumers need a story. If any fairy-tale cannot exist without the good old villain, then any – especially emergent – brand cannot enter the game without a story it tells to the audience…
No matter how huge a competition is, taking in consideration how many fashion, accessories and beauty brands revealed their presence on social media throughout several years (in 2017, according to internal company’s data, not less than 98% of fashion labels use Instagram on a daily basis, and this number is still growing; while 80% of «regular» users have at least one brand in their following list. Now, the app is used by more than a billion users monthly, and the major part of them look for information about new items, meanwhile, 130 millions of them click on the product tags), many of them become truly Instagram-famous turning into an authentic, constantly evolving cult. These brands are not just about clothes and accessories, they are about the concept what modern consumers appreciate even more than the garment itself. Consumers need a story. If any fairy-tale cannot exist without the good old villain, then any – especially emergent – brand cannot enter the game without a story it tells to the audience, a concept that becomes essential and corresponds to aspirations of its potential clients.
My Instagram feed is a mix of my own preferences, secret desires and inspiration which I would like to transform into a reality. Some interests are genuinely unexpected in which I cannot confess even to my friends due to consideration «it’s not my style», but, nevertheless, it exists and I keep it in my heart. We tend to follow profiles that seem close and familiar to us, that pull the strings of our souls evoking us to stay with them for a long time, striking our imagination and suggesting to touch at least visually to something desirable. That’s why my following list consists in fascinating interiors of the hotel in Marrakesh, girls who take pictures of the world in beige gamma of minimalism, insane make-up artists, astonishing pictures of my beloved London and constantly replenishing French-words cards to learn by heart. Certainly, high-end and niche brands are in too.
On the whole, if you take a quick look at any person’s following list, you may easily define even without deduction using what and how he/she lives by, what like, what is keen on, which food prefers and where would like to travel.
Speaking about fashion. What kind of principle we’re led by choosing future outfits? Let’s make it clear when you walk down a shopping mall or a high-street sorting out hangers and shelves or doing online shopping on ASOS, what do you think of first? Let me guess: how good this garment will look like on a picture you intend to post in the future, on a scale from 1 to 10 how outstanding it will seem throughout Instagram community reality and how many likes it will gain. Am I wrong? I’m not sure because this is the way I personally purchase, unfortunately. Our consumer behaviour significantly changed, now we are addicted not only to trends set twice a year by high-end fashion but also addicted to micro-trends coming directly from Instagram. Sometimes less-practical and literally weird.
«The biggest, most influential trends on Instagram in 2018», or «This skirt took over Instagram this season» and many other similar headlines dazzle Vogue, Who What Wear, Coveteur, Harper’s Bazaar and other media platforms pages – highlighting fashion issues and latest trends of the modern generation. This is curious to observe how long will it take us to pursue a straw bags in our daily life or will we able to walk down the street in see-through clothing without attracting any interested and even lustful glances men would throw at us. On the other hand, we can’t deny it look amazing and stunning on Instagram pictures, gain lots of likes and distinguish its owner from other fashion-mongers and similar images.
Gradually, our life turns into a whole new concept «doing it for the ‘gram», and at times it frightens me more than diets.
Most brands are totally keen on in the production of clothes specifically adapted for the Instagram concept, or speaking differently, «the Insta-bait buy». Clothes created in order not only to stand out among any other regular clothes but also to stand out of the outstanding content. Complicated and ridiculous at the same time. Such type of garments attracts attention, makes you want it, to buy it then even without letting you stop and think about whether you really need it, or not, where and how you might wear it on a regular basis. After purchase it just hangs on a hanger inside the wardrobe of yours, and, apparently, won’t await its finest hour again because pictures are already taken, whereas you can’t even find an occasion for wearing prairie dress and the sparkly barrette.
In 2019, Instagram changed its direction again discovering new approaching for business including many fashion and beauty brands – Instagram Checkout. Now users have an opportunity to shop of the pieces they liked even without leaving Instagram – just need to click on the picture with an item you’re interested in via feed or stories, and the app will open a card of the item with a detailed description, where an instant purchase mode is on. Users can link a bank card Visa, Mastercard, Discover, or PayPal data to their account, and enter the shipping address. To take part in a digital experiment have already signed Burberry, Dior, Prada, Balmain, Michael Kors, H&M, Zara, Nike, Uniqlo, Adidas, NARS, M.A.C Cosmetics and 11 more brands.
With no doubts, this function will be appreciated by many Instagram users: it’s easy to use, beneficial, it doesn’t take a lot of time to place an order and simplifies a habitual shopping experience. But, at the same time, no matter how helpful it is, it may also cause a risk to run into a dramatically rapid increase of excessive consumerism and throwaway fashion. Clothes, accessories, beauty products purchased via Instagram not without an influence of the alluring picture affected on our mind and with no allowance to stop and think for a bit if we really need it. It provokes hasty expenses caused not by logical decision-making, but by a first-second emotion that well-structured image gave us an impression of. Brands know about it and adopt this strategy approaching innovative methods of influence and involvement of the audience, expanding its brand loyalty and making consumer return over and over again.
Never Fully Dressed has taken a definite type of styling inspiration into its own hands creating bespoke videos demonstrating how to wear a garment six different ways, or for more than just one season, as for Never Fully Dressed is a distinguishing business model being a valuable antidote to fast fashion.
“Instagram lets us see how an outfit goes together rather than seeing separate items on a rail. For some people, this is very helpful, even if the outfit looks very different on them. But the beauty of Instagram is that the images we see are not all professional photoshoots. Many of the influencers are ‘ordinary’ people. This means the fashion imagery is far more representative than we have seen in traditional fashion imagery. ” Says fashion psychologist Carolyn Mair.
Some brands still rely on influencers and celebrity as principal «engine» and a source of inspiration. There is no more exciting to see your favourite celebrity photos out and about wearing clothing of «regular people», literally released out of Instagram which allows copying entirely a celeb’s outfit. Tagging brands on photos have already become commonplace for influencers and big-named bloggers by means of Fashion Partnership, thereby creating an especial trend on must-have items which become a cult within Instagram reality and are usually sold out in the blink of an eye.
Consumers aren’t naive anymore, they don’t trust bloggers who straightforwardly promote garments of that or this brand convincing their followers of her incredible quality, affordable price range and ability to please even the most exacting taste. If a consumer who goes straight to brand’s profile and sees nothing that he was promised to see and expect, doesn’t find a reflection of himself and doesn’t add to favs at least one picture of the whole page to come back to it again – this a fail. Brand won’t exist for a long time in the overwhelming competition of many other brands which are more willing to capture their audiences’ attention.
Interaction with a customer, his direct involvement in a process of content creation, communication and reflection of his own life is on top of a concept, certainly the way more aesthetic and eye-catching. This is what all brands need to stick to in order to become a cult, to make the audience fall in love with you and use a style guide to get inspired of, at least within the app that already took over the whole world.
“Instagram has really democratised fashion. If you have a strong visual, creative eye that can capture what you stand for, it’s such an incredible platform,” says Ditte Reffstrup, creative director at Ganni.
And we can’t not to agree.