You saw a great top on an Instagram influencer and hastily checked the tags. Thankfully, they’ve partnered with the brand, and you find the top within seconds. There’s a shop now option. You tap the image. It’s affordable, and you’ve been good lately. You check out and four days later, it’s on your body. We’ve unwittingly made Instagram not just our photo album, portfolio and dating service, but also the number one shopping platform.
Which The Guardian decided to probe. The rise of the Instagram brand has been swift and relatively unprecedented. It began as just another tool with which clothing stores could promote their wares, and evolved to render their website almost obsolete. The key, is that the app presents both the aspirational and attainable, and targets young women who troll Instagram daily to happen upon something new.
“Instagram lets us see how an outfit goes together rather than seeing separate items on a rail,” fashion psychologist Carolyn Mair told the outlet. “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.”
The discovery element is certainly no small part of brands like Staud and Réalisation Par’s success on the app, users like to believe they’ve stumbled across something unique, something no one else has. But, while the algorithm is showing you products based on your activity, your activity likely resembles many others.
Which gives rise to dominating trends: like Daisy’s broderie lace-up dress (as seen on Bella Hadid on her birthday), or Rélisation Par’s leopard slip skirt — which became so popular The Guardian claims high street began knocking it off left and right. So when you think you’re selecting and purchasing in accordance with your own sense of style, you’re really behaving just as Instagram predicted, along the same vein as many others.
Knowing you aren’t unique in the slightest is thrilling, isn’t it?