How Indian fashion fell in love with Instagram

As the dynamics of Indian fashion is changing everyday with social media playing a big factor in the alteration and presentation, Instagram is the recent ingredient in the course of action. The Indian fashion industry has experienced significant expansion in the last decade mainly driven by the growth of domestic designers, social media presence, and international recognition in recent years. In recent times, fashion designers, bloggers and stylists of every line and artistic influence have turned to Instagram for a glimpse into the lives and tastes of their followers. Technology has placed us well on the global fashion map. This social networking app is a big deal to Indian fashion now. It has altered the wide platform of fashion into small screens on a smartphone. This love affair began a couple of years ago and the fervor is visible now.

Earlier this year, Instagram announced that they have gone beyond 200 million active users. Launched in 2010, Instagram only three and half years to hit this milestone. In comparison, Facebook took 5 years and Twitter took six and a half years to reach this same numbers.

Instagram is quickly becoming the best platform for marketers to interact with consumers and the app is showing higher engagement than other networking sites .The focus and design makes it different from other networking sites. It’s a business of images, with not much emphasis on pictures, text and other additional information. It’s pure visual engagement that has made this app a spontaneous choice for fashion lovers. With just visual and very limited text it’s taking minimalist approach towards fashion.

Those who use it have influenced Indian fashion to adopt a more relaxed, informal aesthetic, because Instagram projects the idea of intimacy and realness over airbrushed  photoshoots. Spontaneous talking through a big bunch of images. It is being used by fashion houses and independent designers at every level of the market zone  as an image bank, a study instrument, a platform for their work process as well as a transmit into buyer’s base.

Instagram feeds are neat and simple, with less branded substance and advertising than one would find on Facebook and other social media sites. It’s a platform just for users who are into that space. It’s not a regular social media presence compulsion. It’s a choice. You are sharing as well as creating visual content at the same time.

Says Sita Wadhwani, Digital Editor, Vogue India, who feels that the cult of personality, an integral dynamic of the fashion industry, finds a natural channel in Instagram. “Using this app the Indian creative community gets the chance to build two things: A visual personality for themselves and their brands, and the chance to build a community around this in an environment that’s not yet overly commercialized.” She adds, “The incredibly growth trajectory of Instagram globally points to a more connected culture for the local fashion industry with the global one too, which is great for inspiration and exchange. To me it’s making the gap between the fashion marketing folks and the creative souls more obvious. Marketing has to be great content these days in order to be effective. It cannot be a pretty poster on Instagram asking you to buy or attend something.”

By encouraging the spontaneous exchange of ideas and visual commitment, Instagram has gained a considerable edge over Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, Tumblr and other sites as it looks into the connotation of individual tones and the power of the one personality behind them. It makes connection possible on an incredible scale. Its generating high quality traffic as well as emerging as a qualified crowd funding and crowd sourcing platform.You don’t have to look for it. It’s the image talking. Instagram-styled images are gaining a lot more momentum than the traditional regular edited images.

Says Kalyani Saha, Vice President, Marketing & Communications, Christian Dior Couture, India, “Instagram has proved to be a great medium for Indian fashion. The reach is phenomenal. It connects you as an audience, buyer, and purveyor of fashion or even a voyeur, directly into the industry. The information flow is constant and immediate which is has a global audience today as all fashion magazines today have a digital platform and the digitally active like the bloggers are feeding into this system and creating a phenomenal platform of open information.” She adds, “The accessibility is easy as these are open accounts of the best of fashion personalities who are active on a daily basis. Being an app on a phone it has become so convenient and available. It shows the phenomenal dedication to giving out information with quality that is synonymous with the House.”

Constant feed and reactions provide an instant review of a collection, a particular design or an event. Instagram suggests good standards in fashion presentation that is a much needed requirement in the Indian fashion scenario currently as a good amount of energy and resource goes into it. The target audience is growing everyday and the connectivity through Instagram guarantees a well connected Indian fashion Industry.

Since Instagram is primarily image driven and the fashion community speaks through images, right from runways, look books and print campaigns to magazine photo shoots, it is a match made in heaven. Indian designers, fashion brands and artists can engage on a deeper, more aesthetic manner with their target audience through strong visuals that speak the brand story better than wordy press notes and self boasting product write ups. Global as well as domestic connect is making Indian fashion travel and connected. The #hashtag culture brought everyone in the fashion industry closer and accessible from top to bottom. Hashtags like #instaclick, #instagrammers, #instafashion, #instadaily  and many more are used to connect a community of users like photographers, designers and curators through images.

Instagram has proved to be quite a wall breaker for Indian fashion. It engages the audience the way the audience wants to be engaged. It made fashion trends, tips and concepts more accessible to the non-fashionable people as well. Be it advertising, concept or a fancy presentation, it has evolved the aesthetics and reach of Indian fashion on a different level altogether.

Says designer Kallol Dutta, “The interest is in image making; strong, evocative imagery which extend beyond fabric and clothes. Via Instagram, I am able to share images created by collaborators and me. It is primarily work related information which I post on Instagram. Since my response to images is immediate, it is easier to engage viewers with a narrative aided by pictures, than let’s say another, slightly more passive social media site. It has made disseminating information of a certain kind, easier. My audience on Instagram too has developed into a not-so-wide interesting set of design professionals, design enthusiasts and influencers.”

The communication has developed between inside and outside the fashion industry. Instagram doesn’t do the excess. It’s minimal, says more with less.The creative control that used to be one of the most important factors in the fashion industry has more users now. The future seems bright and the love affair seems to get much strengthened.  But with the changing times, it’s a bit difficult to say that how this trend is carried forward and what are the chances of survival. With a new app coming everyday and intriguing the fashion world, with this app hold the ground or will get phased out? Will the Indian runways and the fashion shoots continue to worship this aesthetically developed app or the personal fashion experience will bore people after some is what we have to keep a watch on.

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