Instagram has become synonymous with fashion. For an app that started as a photography-sharing social network, its nearly 10 years of existence it has transformed into a mainstay on the fashion circuit and a must-have for the fashion notoriety. A far cry from the former filtered images that lit up the once chronological feed – the one thing that has many of us nostalgic for Instagram’s former pre-fashion form – today fashion influencers, fashion brands and fast fashion dominate feeds.
“Fast fashion brands have been very popular on social media these past years due to the high growth and exposure opportunities. Many new brands with cheap, low quality designer knockoffs are popping out all the time,” says Anna Picks, the founder of vintage Instagram label 29 Cherry Picks. The brand’s account has gained nearly 5,000 followers since its launch in September 2018 and stands next to the big players in the Instagram vintage fashion market such as the French labels Fripouille Vintage and Imparfaite Paris.
Characteristically these vintage labels sell directly via Instagram and sales are scored via Instagram DMs and comments but for London-based brand 29 Cherry Picks, Instagram stands as a way to promote the vintage gems curated by Picks that are then purchasable via its online store.
Still, Picks encourages her followers to turn on their Instagram notifications so to not miss a product drop. It seems then that the instant nature that allowed fast fashion brands to rise on the social media platform can too nurture positive change within the fashion industry but on a slower scale.
“Instagram can be synonymous with fast fashion and a lot of clothing brands are paying tons of money for flashy ads just to lure people into buying more and more clothes without being transparent about how they are made or the consequences of such actions that create more waste and threaten the environment,” says Picks.
Instagram is instant and fast fashion is fast, so really it should be no surprise that Instagram soon became the unofficial home of fast fashion. In fact, it may have even helped it along the way. From micro-trends to fashion influencers, sponsored content and shoppable posts, Instagram is a haven for this fashion cycle and actively replicates the speed of the industry that it helps to advertise.
In the immortal words of Ariana Grande in the song 7 Rings, you really can see it, like it, want it and get it – all in one place on Instagram. Better yet, instead of perusing the shoppable links on Topshop’s feed, get your fashion fix the better way – in the form of pre-loved treasures from Instagram’s trove of vintage brands.
On 29 Cherry Picks, you can expect to find alluring designer treasures such as this Celine jacket as well as vintage jewellery, knitwear and shirts. But what exactly prompted Picks to establish the vintage label?
“My main profession is international law and for the last couple of years I was involved in a few projects on the sustainability goals we have to achieve in each area of our world. By bringing both those interests together, 29 Cherry Picks was born. It’s pretty new on social media and my hope is to help steer the fashion industry in the right direction,” Picks reveals.
While Instagram facilitates fast fashion brands with direct access to their consumers base through accounts are updated daily –hell sometimes even hourly – it has become a space that fosters small communities that advocate for positive change within the fashion industry. Self-proclaimed vintage aficionado and visual merchandiser, Amelie Rousseau, shares her thoughts on the vintage Instagram revolution.
“That’s how a lot of vintage people buy and re-sell their clothes, there are lots of girls I follow who only sell on Instagram and that’s how people start as well.” Rousseau often uses the hashtag #slowfashion to share her sustainable style on the social media platform.
29 Cherry Picks taps into this trend through its stylistic approach to showcasing vintage garments. Having a curated feed is a given if you want to succeed on the platform and vintage Instagram labels are no exception. Streetstyle-esque shots of Parisian model Constance Arnoult styling the newest arrivals are interspersed by relaxed, candid pictures of the garments and throwback fashion photographs.
Recently, sustainability has been at the forefront of every shopper’s minds; even fashion influencers have started curbing their clothing consumption. The easiest way to shop more consciously? Vintage or second-hand and this sector is growing in popularity, particularly among young people.
“Thankfully, younger generations are showing more and more interest in vintage and quality clothing instead of cheap knockoffs. I believe this comes from the will to save the planet, as well as the wish to be unique. The rising concerns over climate change and conscious living have played a huge factor and people are turning towards sustainable fashion,” says Picks.
American re-sale company Thredup recently published a report which projects that the second-hand fashion market is to surpass fast fashion within the next 10 years. The future of fashion on Instagram seems promising, and it could all be down to the influence of these vintage labels. Perhaps Instagram can indeed be a force for good within the fashion industry. But was does the founder of our new favourite vintage store have to say about these promising projections?
“I don’t think people will stop buying or wearing new clothes but they’re definitely more open to vintage,” says Picks. Yet, she remains optimistic about fashion’s future.
“Even just the curiosity to know where your clothes come from is a step in the right direction, which has a ripple effect on the whole fashion industry. People are way more conscious in recent years and even the ones who aren’t keen on pre-worn clothes are looking for more sustainable and eco-friendly options.”
If the recent success of Instagram-born vintage labels is anything to go by, perhaps second-hand clothing will one day rise from its underdog status in the fashion ranks as reports predict. If anything, why shop fast when you can shop slow, save the planet and bag yourself a one-off piece instead of a knock-off in the process? We know which we’d rather do.