HOW INSTAGRAM HAS CHANGED MEN’S FASHION
MEN ARE INCREASINGLY SHARING THEIR STYLE SECRETS AND ARE A KEY PART OF INSTAGRAM'S RAPID GROWTH
Beyond the #frow regulars, it’s the 9-5 gentlemen that are filling up our feeds with style tips and inspiration. Whether it’s a trainer shot, an #ootd (that’s ‘outfit of the day’ for those not clued up on their hashtags) or a flatlay of pieces picked up for the new season, men are using Instagram to share their style. Menswear is growing year on year and some of Instagram’s 500m monthly users are a key part of the rise.
Having etched a corner of the menswear industry for themselves, Bloggers and their Instagram accounts are playing a big part in how men’s fashion is changing. For Menswear Blogger Alexander Atkins (@MrEssentialist), Instagram has created a space that let’s people see what’s going on in menswear. “It allows guys to interact with new styles and trends without having to necessarily partake. You can see how other men style clothes and know the brands they choose to wear.” It can be a place to learn, with Atkins picking up what he knows about Scandinavian minimalism and sneaker culture directly from the social app.
Everyone can now be part of the menswear scene, with Francesca York, Social Media and Marketing Manager at River Island believing social media has allowed this. “Social media is the perfect channel in which men can engage with fashion. It has allowed them to become more visible and vocal within the fashion world. There are many more opportunities to voice their opinions and for those opinions to be heard by a wider audience, outside of their own peer groups. Where fashion was a pigeonholed topic within a circle of friends, the conversation has now opened to a range of people that can be reached through a quick follow and comment. Men consume fashion in a different way to women, often looking to others for guidance and inspiration on how to piece an outfit together or develop their personal style."
Instagram makes men’s fashion easy to interact with. A quick double tap and repost and you’ve helped grow the conversation. And if you do it so much, a job might come of it. Oliver Hooson is one of these guys. He mention's how "Instagram is creating jobs, fashion trends and turning small independent brands into international heavyweights." With plenty of northern charm, Oliver finds himself working for ASOS under the handle @ASOS_Oliver.
The ASOS Insider feels his impact on Instagram is to show off a style not necessarily seen anywhere else. “I think a lot of the cool guys that follow me may not wear what I wear on a day to day, they like to watch and slowly build their confidence to wear things a little less commercial. I like to wear brands that might not necessarily have as much commercial awareness. That, I think people appreciate.”
Behind the majority of most Instagram accounts are men with a real interest for menswear that are keen to share what they wear. If others like that, then inevitably their follower count grows and you end up with a normal guy whose platform is now large enough to be seen to be influencing others. Hooson thinks that this has brought about a new type of role model within fashion. “I myself now have role models, people I watch and aspire to that are not celebrities, rather unsung heroes now breaking through, using Instagram and blogs as their tool.”
Menswear brands are also embracing the changes within the industry. “It’s become a great direct comms channel for both brand and consumer,” says Francesca York. “We’ve seen a steady increase in followers since we launched the @RiverIslandMan Instagram account back in January. We’re on track to hit 20K followers before the end of the year and we’re observing a loyal and engaged community.”
With access to social media just seconds away in our pockets, the accessibility and growing interest in menswear is a bi-product of this. To now see what’s new and what’s trending, Instagram can tell you through a quick search. And if someone is pro-active, they’ll go to their favourite instagrammer and ask what’s what. “My followers will typically reach out to ask where something's from, followed by sizing questions,” says Atkins. Men are helping each other with styling and are giving advice on where something can be found.
Instagram is the facilitator for men’s fashion and changes in the industry. The menswear community has somewhere to share their style and start a conversation. Brands can directly talk to its customers and Influencers, and Bloggers can share their work with an audience that’s engaged and ready to interact.