Couture in the Age of COVID

Couture in the Age of COVID

Couture in the Age of COVID

Instagram moves to create innovative digital design content.

Instagram moves to create innovative digital design content.

The pandemic came with an onslaught of challenges. For many, the surest route of escape has been the one there all along: the internet. The digital realm offers a diversion from ongoing realities, lacking the more immediate and tangible repercussions of what constitutes 'IRL’. 

As more individuals turn to online platforms than ever before, ‘IRL’ becomes self-contradictory—’real life’ (for those fortunate enough to self-isolate) is now embedded within virtual connections, experienced through somewhat distorted lenses. Not only are our perceptions augmented, but also our behaviors: media consumption has increased exponentially, prompting corporations to adapt to an ever-changing market. 

Within the design industry, Instagram is attempting to become the center of digital fashion, capitalizing off aforementioned trends. On Wednesday, Instagram’s Vice President of Fashion Eva Chen announced a go to “playbook”; a comprehensive set of strategies allowing business to engage viewers for livestreams, effectively enlist influencers and creatives, and to cultivate an online presence. 

“Our general philosophy is: we want to teach you how to use the tools so you as a brand — or as an individual or as a creator — feel empowered to use Instagram in your own way,” Chen recently told BoF, adding “In times like these, some of the most creative ideas will surface.”

For the largest names within the industry, with millions of followers (and counting), the ‘creative ideas’ Chen mentions come with their own risks. Yet, as many smaller brands will look to their direction, there’s a pressing need to respond through innovation.

In doing so, Instagram aims to become a 'go-to' resource, molding the algorithm to fit industry-wide nitches. The "playbook" follows increased e-commerce features for both Instagram and Facebook announced by Zuckerberg, seeking to stablize profit margins in an era of unprecedented financial strain.

While leading executives certainly facilitate larger shifts, perhaps some of the most pressing adaptations will be led by you; the consumer. As the ways we interact with our (cyber) surroundings seem to only become more erratic, consumer interface provides some of the most valuable insights, which Chen urges users to share with Instagram. For authenticity continually proves to be one of the most effective marketing strategies, fostering a way for designers, creators, consumers, etc. to forge meaninful relations (even through a comment section).

As Chen says of the industry to WWD, “They’re not just showing fashion right now; they’re showing their real sides. I think it’s important to show that real side of yourself. The highly curated images feel out of step with what’s going on in the greater world."

Check out some of Chen's cutting-edge designs below:

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