Fashion is a way to express ourselves. We can show the world who we are through our clothing and attract similar people into our lives. This cultivates a sense of belonging through our inspirations. Instagram is helping usher in a new age of fashion, asking the industry to become more sustainable.
As a late teen, I was very into finding my style. I loved incorporating unique pieces into my wardrobe and the charity shops in my town were ransacked every time I went in. Spoiler alert: I’m still ‘finding my style’ as my idea of style develops.
Instagram and the new age of fashion
One thing that has helped me and thousands of other people find their style is Instagram. I am a huge fan and the sense of community it creates for so many groups of people. There are so many sides to the app – meme Instagram, book Instagram, stan Instagram (where people post photos and videos of their favourite celebrities, or the people they ‘stan’), not to mention the countless other hubs of people it’s created.
My friend introduced me to the fashion side of Instagram when we were teenagers and it changed my perception of what clothing could be. Before, I would throw items together and hope they would resemble an outfit. Once I started going through pages of Instagram tags, where different styles were at my fingertips, it was revolutionary. A world was opened up to me where I could see what types of clothing looked good together. It also introduced me to some of my favourite creators at the time such as Lucy Moon and kianahearts.
Seeing all these people opening up discussions surrounding something I was so passionate about was incredible. I found power in people putting in their effort to form a community through their interests.
I bonded with old friends over fashion because we all took inspiration from the same accounts. Not only is Instagram an online community, it also translates into real-life relationships. It brought me closer to people because we shared similar online experiences and I met some more close friends online.
The new age of sustainability
If it wasn’t for Instagram, I would never have found out about sustainable fashion and the impact of fast fashion. There is a growing community becoming interested in and dedicated to sustainable fashion brands, such as Lucy and Yak and Tala. Second-hand shopping has become widely accepted online, with YouTubers starting a trend of thrifted and Depop haul videos. People showcase the wealth of items that can be found if you shop second-hand. Also, you’re reducing the consumption of fast fashion and helping the planet survive. Websites like The Good Trade have compiled a list of sixteen ethical fashion influencers. This is to help open up the discussion of sustainable fashion to a wider audience. It’s creating a community who are all fighting for the same thing.
Influencers are also helping their Instagram communities think about how their fashion is made is through the hashtag #whomademyclothes. This asks consumers to think about whether the clothes are being made ethically. Through social media and community, the fashion industry is adapting and making changes to fit with the desirability of sustainable fashion. Asimananda Khandual and Swikruti Pradhan dicuss this further in their essay Fashion Brands and Consumers Approach Towards Sustainable Fashion which can be found here.
The fight for sustainable fashion on Instagram is also affecting how brands make their clothing, and companies that are known to make their clothes in sweatshops are becoming less desirable to the consumer. Influencers are making more of an effort to shop sustainably and therefore influencing their online community to do the same. More articles on sustainability in the fashion industry can be found here.
Instagram is creating a new age of fashion
Instagram has made a statement in the fashion industry. Through introducing influencers into our lives, it helps us bond with people in real life and shape the way we think about how our clothes are made. Instagram is going nowhere and I think that’s a good thing. The sense of belonging it’s created for so many people is unparalleled. The amount of information we can get from social media about topics we are passionate about is incredibly powerful, and is revolutionising the fashion industry as we know it.