The Rise of Instagram Models in High Fashion

Hello, everyone! For this post, I’ve decided to write about something a bit different. I’ve noticed that in recent years, high fashion brands have utilized social media influencers to promote their brands. Now I’m not talking about celebrities; I’m talking people like Kelsey Calemine, Alissa Violet, and Sydney Carlson. They are well known for being popular on social media, and they’re normally referred to as “Instagram models,” because they model for brands on their Instagram accounts. Typically they become popular because they are attractive and generate a large following. The rise in these influencers has, not surprisingly, caught the attention of high fashion brands. These brands will pay large amounts of money to have these influencers promote their clothes, have them at Fashion Week, and sometimes even have walk in the shows. 

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It’s fascinating to witness this shift in the fashion industry. With our culture being so digitized, brands like Moschino, Givenchy, and Dolce & Gabbana have turned to social media to get to a larger audience. High fashion brands used to depend on fashion magazines and shows to promote their newest lines, but that has become a product of the past. Since most young adults have at least one form of social media, brands have caught onto this trend. The usage of Instagram models also steers the industry away from the regular supermodels that once dominated the catwalks. I find this interesting because the supermodel body type tends to be different from the average Instagram model’s body. Supermodels are notorious for their very thin and toned body types, which were a “must-have” in the fashion industry, but Instagram models tend to be curvier than what was traditionally accepted. This is not necessarily true for all of them, of course. Could it be that high fashion is also changing with the times? Or could it be because of the fact that the Instagram models just have a large audience? Personally, I believe it’s probably a mixture of both.

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Using social media influencers to promote a brand’s products has come as no surprise, but there has been criticism. Many still believe that the catwalks should be left to trained models over those who rose to fame because of their social media following. These brands are hiring influencers over trained models, most likely due to their popularity. While it’s a good strategy in theory, issues have arisen. A notable incident occurred when Instagram model, Meredith Mickelson, walked in the Philipp Plein show, and many took to social media after unflattering photos circulated online that showed her looking quite different from her Instagram pictures. This has led to people asking why high fashion brands don’t promote trained models and instead base their promotions off of whoever has the biggest following. 

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&source=images&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwiftZCIh-7lAhVMT6wKHf1TA3YQjRx6BAgBEAQ&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tumbral.com%2Ftag%2Fpleinfastandglorious&psig=AOvVaw1CodZuAui3aXiAOwQD20nY&ust=1573970463835395 This photo circulated the internet of Meredith Mickelson.

In this day and age, the idea of “models” has become blurred thanks to social media’s impact. High fashion has taken a hit because of its use of Instagram models. I don’t see an issue with using social media influencers to promote brands or ivititing them to events. I’ll admit, I do wish that high fashion did not focus on who has the best numbers and instead focused on their talent. Their reliance on follower counts is hurting the industry by not giving models who are trained any runway time. Is social media going to keep impacting high fashion? Absolutely. I know they will keep gravitating toward social media to promote their brands. It isn’t necessarily a completely negative thing, but I am curious about how high fashion’s reputation will change over time because of it. Let me know what you all think of this! I’ll see you all next week!