In the 21st century, change is inevitable. It’s not just the way we do things, but also the way we see, perceive and interact with the world that’s changing. The fashion industry has been at the core of the world’s cultural development, it has evolved to become on of the most prominent ways for self-expression, social-criticism, and shaping of the society. With the fast-paced emergence of social media, many aspects of everyday life changed irreversibly; we don’t need to leave the house to go shopping, we don’t need newspapers to find out what’s new. Fashion is no exception here. Images that were previously accessible only in editorial magazines or looks that could be seen only on fashion runways or in expensive boutiques can all be found on Instagram’s pages in the form of a picture or s video.
It has to be mentioned though that the fashion industry that circles around prominent fashion houses and established designers emerged in the 19th century. Ever since then it was this exact culture that shaped the way people understand high fashion; they put forward trends and ideas to look up to and provided a sense of luxury and exclusivity attached to their products. To a large extent, it was all due to exposure. New designers, minorities, alternative voices in fashion all had issues gaining publicity because the media, if we can call it that, was monopolized and occupied by all of those already in power and with the money to back it up.
Needless to say, the conversation regarding how people should look like, what is fashionable, desirable, appropriate or tasteful was one-sided; the society was offered answers before ever getting to ask questions.
The nature of Instagram is visual communication. Unlike Facebook, which allows for a lot more interference by text, creates possibilities to have reactions, lengthy conversations in the comment section and in general more versatile communication, Instagram puts all emphasis on images. Such quality allowed it to become the leading platform for people to spread their ideas visually, which is very susceptible to all those working or hoping to work in the fashion industry.
The most prominent figures that started emerging and shaping the way people view clothing and fashion, the ways it can be individualized and utilized to express oneself were not necessarily the all-powerful fashion houses. Yes, they too have their popular platforms where they get to share their work, however, what most people look up to now are other people just like them. These people managed to gain exposure and have their voices heard by introducing some unique, challenging and ground-breaking ideas on how fashion can reflect one’s true self-identity.
Seeing examples of people like that, others feel a lot more free to take pride in their personal stylistic preferences, few attempt to follow fashion trends set by fashion houses’ seasonal collections and instead aim at accumulating a wardrobe that suits their needs, personality and most importantly budged; it is undeniable that the hype related to second-hand shops as well as other alternative modes of shopping appeared all thanks to Instagram and its influencers. So, perhaps the days of luxurious fashion houses are not over, but their authority is certainly put to question by those constantly going against the flow and popularizing it through Instagram.