The Perfect Fit: Fashion Week and Instagram

It’s fashun week dahhhlings. But don’t worry, I’m not going to tell you everyone’s about to start wearing fireman jackets and cycling shorts*. For me, Fashion Week is interesting beyond the clothes because it’s a unique opportunity to (constructively) critique and compare Instagram content and features across an even playing field – everyone watches the same shows, everyone experiences the same events, everyone uses Instagram to share them (#SS19 has already racked up over 400k posts and #nyfw leads the city-specific hashtags at over 5m).

There are in fact two Fashion Weeks, if you ask me. The first is the one that clogs up your Insta feed like a Love Island contestant who’s just left the villa. It goes like this. Editor sits FROW (that’s front row, dummies), gets out their phone, films the catwalk from their seat and uploads to Insta. We’ve seen it all before. Several times over.

The second Fashion Week is the one I want to talk about. The one that happened on Instagram – but like, in a cool way. Brands actually using the platform to share incredible content in clever ways to provide added value to fans who didn’t make the guestlist.

Livestreaming shows is nothing new, but there were a handful of design houses that did it particularly well: high quality streams, multiple angles, perfectly synced music, no buffering. Marc Jacobs, Moschino, Calvin Klein and Burberry ticked all the boxes – but one house ripped them up and started again. 

Dior put on a perfectly choreographed performance that raised the bar and then some – crucially, creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri took the time to make the experience just as premium and entertaining for those watching online as it was in the Hippodrome. Instead of cringeworthy token performance art thrown in for good measure or PR headline, this was seamless – the muted, pared back collection stood out more down to the environment it was shown in – dimmed dusty lighting, ambient music and floaty dancers. This is something a lot of publishers and brands should take note of when it comes to livestreaming, and ask themselves: What does your audience see? What do they get from the experience? Is it actually worth doing?


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A post shared by Dior Official (@dior) on Sep 27, 2018 at 12:03am PDT

Burberry – who are known for their excellent social-first campaigns – didn’t disappoint. In a Fashion Week first, they created a limited collection from the show that went live-to-buy on Instagram for just 24 hours. They also teased the show with Marc Isaacs’ great ‘Inside The Lift’ series on IGTV – charting the prep in the crucial days leading up to Riccardo Tisci’s debut collection for the fashion house. Shot entirely from inside the lift – he rides up and down asking various questions to Tisci’s team as they prepare. Go watch, it’s good. By giving us teaser content that stretched beyond a static image of #details and connecting the audience to the clothes immediately, they were lightyears ahead of everyone else.

The Chubby Cloud by Anya Hindmarch was Fashion Week’s Museum of Ice Cream – basically, a space screaming out for a selfie. Her experiential installation was inspired by the clouds in her latest collection – imagine if you will, the world’s largest beanbag sat under a Rubens painting. Now imagine not Instagramming it. I know.

In addition to the cool cloud thing, she put on a series of talks (Bedtime Stories), meditations and music to add to the dreamy event. This is a really fantastic example of creating a space that excites the audience and provokes them to voluntarily share it to their personal feeds while still carrying a subtle message for the brand. Approved.  


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A post shared by Anya Hindmarch (@anyahindmarch) on Sep 15, 2018 at 9:08am PDT

It wouldn’t be an article about fashion and Instagram without mentioning Diet Prada. The standalone Instagram account documents knock-offs in the industry and has been having a field day during Fashion Week. I include them as a really good example of a brand using Instagram as a way to promote independent design and protect intellectual property. Their content is insightful, considered and well-written. They also have a whip-smart tone on Stories and make use of all the features with trademark tongue-in-cheek content – the annual Balenciaga spelling bee being a personal fave from the archive. 

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A post shared by Diet Prada ™ (@diet_prada) on Sep 29, 2018 at 6:57am PDT

There is so much that could be done with a creative stage, but watching it this month, I still couldn’t help but wonder why so much of it looks so samey. As Instagram Stories become the go-to feed for visual up-to-the-minute content, brands are under pressure to create engaging narratives every single day. The pressure of doing this on-the-fly is of course a challenge, but is it better to try and fail than to, I dunno, post the same thing everyone else is posting?

*They are

This post courtesy of @FlorenceMassey