When people are worried about disease and how they are going to put food on the table, devoting headspace to what you like to wear can seem silly. On the flip side, escapism has never been more coveted. One can only read so much harsh news before needing some sense of relief. For those of us who use fashion as a way to find joy, Instagram and its fashion influencers’ pages are a breeding ground for inspiration.
Striking a balance between using fashion as a form of escape while remaining sensitive to people’s priorities is a delicate and difficult balancing act. We decided to consult some of the experts to share how they’ve been navigating social media during this time. The responses were different in nuances, but the common thread was an added dose of humanity that fashion is often criticized for lacking.
Lyn Slater on Re-evaluating Her Relationship with Clothing
“I’ve been writing more since this crisis, openly and personally on my Instagram, wanting it to be a place where a new and different kind of conversation about fashion and our relationship to clothes could be going on.”
She recognizes the power she wields with her hundreds of thousands of followers and the conversations she is able to ignite. She reflected that she is “thinking about the impact of what I can do as a change agent.” Many of us look to influencers as guides for what to buy. Well, Slater believes that if we deepen our relationships with our clothing, understand where it’s coming from and what we want it to say about ourselves, it might help curtail some of the superfluous aspects the industry struggles with.
Jenny Walton on Using Her Skills to Help Where She Can
Walton is also an illustrator, has recently launched a small jewelry brand, and has realized the value of connection for not only a small business, but as an influencer who is by definition a small brand herself. “All of this has made me want to be more personal with my audience and actually share more,” says Walton of how she is focusing on transparency with her followers. While fashion is a world built on exclusivity, it’s important to remember the human aspect ingrained in the industry.
“We’re all working through this together, and I do think it creates some sort of bond.”
Ellie on Finding Ways to Convey Joy Through Her Posts
On her page, you’ll find shots of her in head-to-toe Versace or a tangerine ball gown doing mundane things like cleaning the floor, doing laundry, or having a glass of wine. “I decided to create this narrative of an outlandish yet relatable (at least I hope so) quarantined young woman who gets dressed in the most inappropriate outfits to do every single thing.” She has created this story as a new line of communication with her followers.
“Self-deprecation and not taking oneself too seriously is the key these days.”
Jessica Wu on Using Her Platform to Spread Awareness
Despite being a fashion- and beauty-centric account, Wu has never shied from sharing her opinion on controversial issues such as healthcare, homelessness, politics, etc. While she has previously censored issues where her views may have come out a little strong, those worries have ceased with the current pandemic. “To put it lightheartedly, I find my internet venting, as I call it, to be oddly therapeutic.” She has actually been posting very little about fashion these days as a result.
“As important as educating yourself is, I think this knowledge without action has no impact.”
Her followers have told her that they use her account to source their news. That not only reveals how much influence these influencers actually wield, but how trusted they are by their followers. “It’s reassuring to know that thousands of other people feel the same things as I do, are inclined to be involved in influencing policy, and understand the importance of their individual voices in the political landscape.”
Top photos: Courtesy of Ellie, Lyn Slater, Jessica Wu, and Jenny Walton
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