With the absence of fashion weeks and the rise of the beigefluencers, are these overly filtered Instagram posts really the future of sartorial inspiration?
While virtual fashion months have barely made a ripple over the last year, there’s a noticeable tidal wave-size gap in the usual content: when was the last time you indulged in flicking through a street style gallery? My guess is, it’s been a while.
With predominantly audience-less shows taking place across the fashion capitals, or digital lookbooks filmed weeks in advance, the usually star-studded front rows and the photographing frenzy that ensues outside a show venue have become obsolete. And while brands have been couriering their latest looks to editors, influencers, and A-listers sp they can pose at home ahead of the runway kickoff, do the images have the same impact when shared on Instagram?
In short, the answer is no. On social media, even the biggest labels (take Prada or Dior, for instance) are competing for a millisecond of a user’s attention span as they scroll through their feeds at lightning speed. Indeed, the likelihood of even the most die-hard fashion fan catching a glimpse of your new season wares and engaging with it—without the context of it being photographed on the right person outside a show—is slim to none.
In the absence of birds of paradise-type outfits trotting down cobbled streets, a new crop of online tastemakers has emerged: the beigefluencers. Surely you know what I mean and you can picture the exact type of artfully curated feed as soon as you read the word. It’s all cream cashmere sets, reclining on bouclé sofas at golden hour, scrunched up crew socks, and selfies with Chanel eye patches and a glass of sauvignon blanc. To further go down the rabbit hole of same-same content, I recommend the epic Instagram page, @shitbloggerspost.
Granted, we’ve all been confined to our homes for far too long and content creators who do this for a living were clutching at straws when it came to #OOTDs, even the strictest quarantine phases birthed some exciting fashion trends. The way we leaned into tie-dye everything, purchased a viral strawberry tulle dress en masse, and embraced “cottagecore” showed how much escapism could be sought via what we put on our bodies during the bleakest time period most of us have ever lived through.
Indeed, for every pastel-hued jogger purchase, our hands still itched to add something fantastical to cart too. After all, insights from the top buying directors prove that investment pieces (luxury handbags and fine jewellery) boomed more than ever as people reconsidered what was truly worth the spend.
Speaking of bling, at the recent Christian Siriano show in New York City, one of the few designers who decided to show his wares in person with adherence to current health protocol, I was almost more excited to see the attendees than the clothes on display. Almost the very first thing I saw? A woman wearing a full crystal headpiece from AREA; rocking it as naturally as you or I might wear a hair bobbin on any given day. Sure, it was a capital F-fashion event, but that sight alone confirmed to me that when the gates are up and it’s time to go again, we’re going to reach for our most statement-making, whimsical pieces just for the sheer fun of it.
Championing that prediction, an article went up on Vogue.com over the weekend with the headline, ‘Street Style is Blossoming Again’. The gallery wasn’t outside a fashion show or at a glamorous event; rather it was just a snapshot of what people were wearing to their local park on a sunny Saturday afternoon. From moms to dog walkers and friends grabbing coffee, the one commonality was how individual and non-contrived everyone looked.
And really, as much as street style has taken on an awful connotation in recent years and has become a self-deprecating circus of sorts, ultimately at its core, it’s a celebration of real-world and real life authentic style. Yes, there’s the influencers and editors dressed head to toe by the brands, but the images that usually feel most compelling illustrate how people of all ages, body types, and socio-economic status are adapting trends in a digestible yet aspirational way and making it their own, serving as an inspiration to a worldwide audience.
Street style will come back and it will warrant being photographed again, in all its colourful and wild and wacky glory, and we’ll even be delighted to see even the most ostentatious looks we might have rolled our eyes at before. Because it’s safe to say, it’s the very opposite of beige.