To be honest, when I was invited to a private cocktail party at Bloomingdale's to fête the new Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) Instagram book, I was both skeptical and curious as to what it might deliver. Could a mobile technology app translate to the “old school” format of a printed, hardcover book?
Just as Instagram is curated by the account holder, Designers on Instagram: #Fashion by The Council of Fashion Designers of America is also carefully compiled through the lens of CFDA members, with original photography submissions broken out into several categories, such as #Inspiration, #BehindTheSeams, #Selfies, #Fashion, and #TBT.
Steven Kolb, CEO of the CFDA, writes in the introduction, “Just like Instagram, the CFDA has always followed an ethos of inclusivity…The preexisting walls between the fashion industry and the world have been eradicated, and we're only moving forward…Photography has always been at the core of fashion. Some of the best photographers of our time have been there to capture fashion's most iconic moments. But with Instagram, our designers and you have the chance to create your own iconic worlds. With a snap, caption, filter, and post, you too can contribute to the world of #fashion.”
The democratization of fashion has truly arrived, thanks in large part to Instagram. No wonder we as bloggers gravitate toward the medium. Outside of our blogs, it's the next best tool for doing what we do best: make fashion approachable, make it understandable, and show that it can be for everyone.
Despite my skepticism, I loved this book, finding it to be quite a visual masterpiece, a collage of some of the most creative minds (and their social media teams) working in fashion today. The foreword, by Kevin Systrom, co-founder and CEO of Instagram, solidifies its appeal and association with all things fashion. Systrom says:
Social media has opened a whole new world of inspiration, aggregating all of the different facets of creative development, and allows us to interact with fashion in brand new ways…The imaginative individuals who contributed to this book represent best-in-class examples of storytelling on Instagram…The fashion community on Instagram teaches us that the art of how to simply and powerfully unlock a story.
The book emphasizes three key macro effects of what has been created and reinforced by Instagram, which can be important components to keep in mind as bloggers:
The pervasiveness of the medium—can you believe that Instagram has been around for less than five years? And yet, it's everywhere. It has become the social media channel of choice of the fashion industry. It just goes to show the importance of keeping an ear to the ground on what could be a potential disruptor to the status quo, and adopting new technology in a way that fits your blog's mission.
We are a highly visual culture, and that will never change—if there's anything that Instagram has shown us, it's that we are attracted to images first, text second. Perhaps it's human nature, but whatever you surmise is the root of it, there's no denying that our attention is captivated by visual stimulation. As bloggers, this reminds us the importance of good quality pics, and like Kolb reiterates in the quote above, fashion and photography will forever be intertwined.
When you think it's all been done before…think again! Looking at this rich tapestry of images and how everyone featured in the book is using the same medium but interpreting in different ways leaves me optimistic and inspired. There is plenty to add to the conversation that can be genuine, joyful, authentic, and personal.
Sure, you can take a photo of a shoe against a white backdrop and post it to your IG account, but why not take a minute and look around you; is there a contrasting color that may make it pop even more? An interesting, unconventional object to pair it with? A cool pattern on a rug lying next to you that you've never noticed? The CFDA members included in this book made the cut because they kept their eyes and minds open, and just like Kolb recapitulates, you can too!
What would you like to add to the Instagram conversation?