Fashion is Going Backwards Thanks to Instagram

The New York Times put out its take on the recent question of how social media and the camera phones are affecting fashion. Here are some of the key points that we took away from its article, entitled, Fashion in the Age of Instagram … Its underlying premise is that the advent of digital media has fundamentally altered fashion, from how it is capture to how it is made. Alexander Wang spoke to the topic, saying: "The way that we make the clothes and design them changed.”

Matthew Schneier's article sheds light on how individuals have become more relevant than their respective businesses: "Consider that Ms. Chen, for instance, currently has more followers on Instagram than her magazine [Lucky] does."

The piece told us that fashion showgoers are "jaded" and as a result, "Shows are designed to wow not only those in attendance, but also all of their followers." And speaking of shows, they are expensive to stage: "A major show can cost $2 million to $8 million, in some cases reaching as much as $10 million, and last fewer than 10 minutes.)"

Designing is now governed largely by how a garment will photograph. According to Alexander Wang, “We try to think of the pictures that are going to come out online what the photographer pit takes versus what the audience sees.” And the young designer, in particular, admits the downsides of the focusing on the photographing of garments at the expense of their marketability: "Sometimes, I have to admit, as a designer, you get into this trap of thinking about clothes for a picture rather than what’s going to go into the market or showroom.”

Tiziana Cardini, the fashion director of the Milanese department store chain La Rinascente and a contributing editor at Italian Vogue's statement on the nature of fashion essentially sums up the entire article: “It’s the web, definitely, that has changed the language.”

We are, in a sense, regressing: The overwhelming change in fashion viewing is from 3-D to 2-D, as Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons noted a couple of years ago: "The future is two dimensions." Ed Filipowski, the president for media relations at KCD, echoed tis sentiment, saying: “So much of the younger generation does not look at the clothes for the first time with their eyes. They’re trained to see clothes for the first time through photographs, two-dimensional as opposed to three-dimensional."

And what is the result of the shift from 3-D to 2-D? Schneier writes: "Shows that may be gripping live may be done little justice on-screen. Junya Watanabe’s fall collection, all in black (notoriously hard to photograph), was composed of pieces of many fabrics sewn together to create a patchwork. On-screen, the nuances often failed to come through."