01 September 2015

Year of the Instagram Models

Think back to the days of MySpace and MSN where it was more about picking the right song to put as your tagline or arranging your top 4, 8, no, 10 best friends. It was also the age of waiting for your crush to get online and then signing on moments later pretending it was coincidental. 

Don’t forget admitting to your crush and then pretending it was your friend who had gotten hold of your handle, aah yeah the yesteryears were all fun and games. But it seems like social media has grown up and while it does have its downers, when used right, every single Tweet, Facebook or even Instagram post could generate an audience that could put said person into a position to become the new up and coming stars – and the fashion industry has caught wind of it, where now luxury houses can use social media to not only sell their products but also be on the look out for the next possible star/s to grace their products.
Consider the face of industry in a way where it’s been able to pick up and drop trends just like that, one day one thing will be hot and the next week it’s out. Not forever, but just until it has the right timing to come back. This doesn’t deal with just clothing trends, but faces of the industry too. Think back to the 80s (I wasn’t even born yet so mind you I had to do serious research on this and refer to creditable sources) gave us the big hair and athletic wonders, the 90s suddenly became skinny heroin chic, and the 00s were all about the ethereal and fawn-like elfin princess, and this was all before the explosion of the Internet and all the big name social apps.
So how can we define the 10s and beyond? In the middle of this mega-internet era and looking into the popular social media of these, the answer lies within the realms of Instagram, arguably.
In the same way that MySpace had major effects on upcoming and independent music artists to make it big, it seems nowadays, fashion’s main platform seems to be Instagram, where image is the ideal, if you will – and how can one argue that? Social media, and the app itself is predominantly visual so there is no other industry where power is more relevant in terms of visuals than that of the industry.
Within the past 12 to 18 months, there’s been a massive impact on faces and bodies of the industry, now with an interest in casting non-professional models with more diverse aspects and qualities that could attain to a brand. The mind-set has become said that it’d be easier to relate to a model casted off the street because it’s a real person and there’s already a connection – rather than having an agency model, where it seems too removed and ‘incredibly damaging to women’, quoted from Maisie Cousins, a young photographer who regularly casts off the street. Apparently it’s more interesting, appealing and exciting to see a non-professional model running a campaign rather than an agency model that’s probably bored of running through said campaign again for the nth season. Understandable.
This is probably why Marc Jacobs stands out as a brand that regards Instagram as a great way to cast models for his campaigns, with a casting opportunity for a young and more connected generation to be apart of something great. With the hashtag #CastMeMarc, the Marc Jacobs team used it as an international scouting platform back in March this year, calling on fans of all sorts to submit pictures of themselves with a chance to be handpicked for his younger consumer line. This was the third season for the brand to run this competition-slash-casting-chance and it went in strong, for winners to be flown over (everything paid too, mind you) to NYC for the shoot, to hang out, to pretty much live the dream.
This is good, it’s all good because now it means the industry is expanding in a way where it’s less collectively and restricted to those strictly in the industry and allows for consumers of the industry to be apart of it too, but in being positive about that, the shift is also affecting professional and already established models who not only have to compete (and I say this with all due respect, of course.) with each other, but now have another competition of street-casted models without agencies who sometimes get more jobs than them without all the gruelling work, all driven by the demand for real models, that internet mentality. As well as the additional mentality for brands to have unknown faces, rather than established models, in a sense that a new face that is relatively unknown to the industry and the world makes said brand more exclusive and authentic, so its easier to expand to more audiences and consumers.
All I can say is that it’s immensely good news that the industry is relaxing and opening up more to allow different faces and opinions on what audiences want to see in the name of fashion. So in a way, it’s not so bad that you’d want to spend time taking a few (see: 100 at least) selfies, then trying to pick out the best one that will enhance all your features and then using the right crop and filter to post onto Instagram. You never know what will happen!
+ Oh yeah so some of you might have realised that I was very chicly interviewed (and have offered to write up some articles) for stylehunter. I think it's a good way for me to kind of branch out my writing ability and audience, this is just one of the pieces I've written up so I hope you found some kind of use or general gained knowledge reading it ehe.