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It’s time someone said it: Instagram is stifling your individuality

Illustration by TwylaMae
Words by Bianca O’Neill

The uninspired copycatting of Instagram influencers.

I attended a store launch this morning, and the room was a sea of tweed blazers. I had never seen this before. So many influencers and fashion bloggers, invited solely on their style credentials, all looking like carbon copies of each other.

These are the people we’re meant to look up to, the people who are meant to inspire us with their unique point of view and styling savvy. Instead, I went home and put my tweed blazer at the back of my cupboard next to my Gucci bag. “Soon,” I whispered to my Gucci bag, as I closed the door and scrolled through endless Fendi and Louis Vuitton product placement on Instagram.

And that’s who I blame for this increase in sameness: Instagram.

Fashion has always been tribal, a way to signal to the world who you are and what you stand for. Music particularly has influenced fashion history over the years, creating tribes within genres – uniform dressing that filtered down to the masses over time, watered down for general consumption.

But lately, there’s another type of uniform, with an entirely different source subject: the uninspired copycating of Instagram influencers. Perplexingly, within the influencer community itself.

We saw it last year in the fishnets trend, one I personally didn’t partake in because the idea of putting fishnets under my jeans seemed not only uncomfortable but just kinda stupid.

This trend spread like wildfire throughout the blogger community but interestingly, no matter how hard they pushed it, it never caught on. Interestingly, because these people are meant to hold influence.

And now, tweed blazers are a *thing*. And although this trend is certainly more wearable, and one I’ve personally chosen to partake in previously, it does make me question exactly how much Instagram is stifling our individuality.

Style is inherently personal, and the idea of seeing a crowd of people paid (or gifted) in order to inspire us – who are all wearing exactly the same thing, styled in the same way – makes me question the entire ecosystem. Is the blogger uniform becoming a phenomenon? And if so, who is the original source of inspiration? Why aren’t we just following them?

Trends are certainly not the antichrist here. Trends are the way the fashion industry moves forward. But when people appear to be interpreting trends in exactly the same way, it’s time to burn the house down. We should be using trends to express individuality, not to blend into a crowd.

I remember the good old days, when street style was actually real, when bloggers were actually unique and inspiring, and when you would attend a fashion event and observe an exciting, energetic flurry of style creativity. When influencers actually influenced me.

Now, the endless parade of gifted luxury goods in order to fabricate trends bores me. The monotonous feed of uninspired sameness delivers a vapid and creativity-free black hole of forgery driven by a desire to be important, liked and gifted.

We need to question who we follow. We need to reward individuality. We need to expose the poor replicas of our favourite fashion-forward females.

Otherwise, I fear for the future of personal style. It’s just not that personal anymore.

Follow Bianca at @_thesecondrow, or listen to her latest podcast about the death of personal style at @thefashionpodcast.

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