You don't have to scroll far on Who What Wear's homepage to realise we consider Instagram an invaluable treasure trove of inspiration. Thanks to the platform, anyone can have their say when it comes to the latest trends, and in turn, this has allowed a wealth of new voices a chance to be heard. It has also given up-and-coming brands a boost and an opportunity to breach the mainstream, as they're now able to communicate directly to their customers and build a cult following. Yes, we could still offer hundreds of developments we'd want in an ideal Insta world, but you can't deny that the app has democratised fashion.
We are, however, not blind to social media's limitations, and one thing I've noticed since working at Who What Wear UK is the difficulty that comes with taking inspiration from Instagram. It seems that nowadays it's quite easy to end up dressing like everyone else. There's nothing wrong with buying the latest It item after seeing it on someone's profile, but it's much more satisfying and exciting when we can all bring something different to the table. I decided to ask five people who work in the fashion industry how they personally navigate this issue. Scroll down to see what they said.
"Every day, we're inspired by people and events. It's nice when someone says they bought something because of you; I'd just say that whenever possible, do it your own way. For example, be inspired by a look you see on social media and buy the pieces you love, but wear them in a way only you can; change the top, shoes or accessories. Embrace whatever is unique to you. I now know what suits me and my style, so if I'm inspired by someone's outfit, I'll consider my own body shape and think, Maybe I need a longer coat on top to even me out or a warmer tone to suit my colouring. Be inspired. Take a little and make it your own."
Hannah Almassi, Editorial Director, Who What Wear UK
"I like following vintage accounts for something unique and different, whether that's vintage clothing stores (Maria Bernad's @les fleurs is good) or handles that post lots of archival pics like @a_r_c_h_i_v_i_s_t. They always give me fresh inspiration. So I guess the message is to look way back into the past rather than the latest images on your feed!"
"One way I like to get inspiration from Instagram is by following people whose fashion wouldn't necessarily be marketed within my age range. I love following 50+ style influencers like @idiosyncraticfashionistas and @iconaccidental, whose looks are so unique, kitschy and quirky. I then try to incorporate their style into my everyday attire, using on-trend accessories to compliment the look. What's left is a cool, tailored look with a slight throwback theme."
Isabel Mundigo-Moore, Associate Social Media Editor, Who What Wear UK
"I'm increasingly following historians and inspiration accounts rather than influencers so that my feed is more of a mood board. Keeping up with what's new is so linked to my job, so I enjoy having the contrast on my personal feed with more vintage inspiration. I like learning about the 'why' of fashion—the history behind a trend—and these kinds of accounts are doing a great job of that. I also like to see vintage looks in order to pick up styling tricks that are a bit different to what everyone else is doing. My favourites at the moment are @simplicitycity and @magazine_fan."
Joy Montgomery, Acting Assistant Editor, Who What Wear UK
"I'm a very visual person but also a very indecisive one, so for me, platforms like Instagram and Pinterest are invaluable for sparking outfit inspiration. Generally I'll be looking to solve a specific problem, such as 'how to style a midi skirt for winter' or 'what shoes to wear with a maxi dress.' My trick is to find outfits I love and then borrow the overarching formula rather than specific products. This could be a colour pairing, a layering technique or an unusual silhouette. I also wear a lot of vintage, so I find that I can apply these ideas to my wardrobe using pieces that feel more unique to me."