Democratizing Art & Fashion: An Instagram Roundup
The impenetrable bourgeois powers that influence and curate pop culture have always arguably been elitist in nature, from the cutting edge of fine art in galleries and museums to the runways of Paris Fashion Week, the art and fashion industries have long been synonymous with the “establishment.”
In the age of social media, however, the masses have begun to reclaim this power, utilizing social platforms as a means of democratizing influence through the power of parody and call out culture. Brands and celebrities now wield less power as social media airs out their dirty laundry. From designers and artists stealing concepts and references to celebrities photoshopping selfies, the powers of deception that have long influenced our perception of culture are slowly being eroded, much to our amusement. We’ve rounded up a few of our favourite Instagram accounts that are confronting and parodying pop culture.
Arguably the account that pioneered the trend. Diet Prada, if you’re unfamiliar, is the no-mercy Instagram handle that calls out designer knockoffs, Eurocentrism and champions body positivity and diversity in the fashion industry. What began as an under-the-radar open account that served as a kind of digital folder between two friends to archive their lookalike findings soon found a sizable following including Naomi Campbell, one of the accounts first cosigns, who contributed to their meteoric rise in popularity by giving the account shoutouts on her Instagram stories. In an era of perpetual visual rhetoric on social media, where ideas and references coalesce at an alarming rate, Diet Prada cuts through the noise and gives a voice to creatives in a precarious culture of ripoffs and corporate exploitation. Their unabashed willingness to call out injustices with a humorous dash of wit and shade makes them one of the trendiest Instagram accounts in the fashion industry at the moment.
In honor of @Burberry ‘s appointment of Riccardo Tisci as creative director, we’re giving Christopher Bailey’s swan song the DP treatment. While the rainbow plaid was a beautiful gesture, the multiple @gucci shoes… not so much lol. Dieters, what are you hoping Riccardo will bring to the table? Time for a goth Burberry check? • #burberry #burberrys #christopherbailey #riccardotisci #versace #balenciaga #celine #louisvuitton #stephensprouse #gucci #prada #luxury #dietprada
Checking invoices is a similarly trendy up and coming fashion account which parodies the pomp and circumstance of the fashion industry. Self-described as an “Anonymous duo based nowhere,” the page consists of a faceless character dressed in outlandish printed full bodysuits and over the top couture running errands and wreaking fashion havoc in public. The account combines performance art, and parody while still managing to turn out some seriously chic avant-garde fashion moments. Juxtaposing the public realm with the sheer ridiculousness of couture aesthetics gives way to an uncanny experience of the extravagance and flamboyance of fashion.
Who’s Who is a low-key account gaining traction in the arts community. What Diet Prada does for fashion, Whos__who does for the art world. Posting contentious art world knock-offs in collage style Instagram posts with nothing but the hashtags of the artists as commentary. The result? A conversation in the comments section about who referenced who, often with the artists being accused of the appropriation chiming in. It is a fascinating example of the democratization of discourse surrounding the very institution of art itself, where the public now reclaims the power of the establishment.
Celebface is the latest account contributing to the growing call-out culture on social media. Here’s how it works. A celebrity gets photographed by the paparazzi, the images are uploaded to agencies like Rex or Getty, where said celebrity’s social media manager buys them, edits them (or has them retouched by a professional), and posts them to their own account. Celebface finds both the original and the copy, and switches between the two in one eternally looping hypnotic gif. The account is a rare glimpse into the artifice of celebrity culture, and into the insecurities that wreak havoc on even the most privileged and wealthy.
@SlowFashionMemes is an anti-high-street account that forces us to remedy our choices shopping brands like Topshop and Zara. They bill themselves as “organic, certified fairtrade memes manufactured w/ living wage using natural fibres distributed transparently to ur feed faster than u can say primark.” Co-Opting Instagram, which usually glorifies all of the epithets and sensibilities of unsustainable and aspirational consumer lifestyles, Slow Fashion Memes effectively claims the space as a site of resistance against unethical consumer practices.
Cop That Cover which debuted at the beginning of this year, sees a creative duo co-opting fashion covers and replicating them to a tee — down to the design, pose and wardrobe. The text on each cover is replaced with a witty quip of social commentary on a range of social justice issues, and the clothing worn in the “after” shots are all affordable pieces from accessible retailers. By subverting the preconceived norms of what a magazine cover “should” be, Cop That Cover reclaims the aesthetics of high fashion turning them into an opportunity for social advocacy.
Turning 26 and I still can’t afford health insurance. Guess i’ll die. Credit – Chen Xue shot by Felicity Ingram for The Sunday Times Style Oct 2017 wearing Roksanda Illincic. @soleilmak shot by @joely_moley for her Model Mayhem portfolio. H! By Henry Holland top from @asos. Total look: SGD81.89 #salty
The effect of social media on the creative industries is manifold in that it firstly, allows references and concepts to be transmuted and thus appropriated and stolen at an unprecedented rate. Yet, secondly, it also allows the masses to call out these injustices and rectify them, reclaiming the power of creatives whose works often go unnoticed and uncompensated. Social media also has the power to offer perspective, whether it be through uncovering the artifice of the media landscape in which we live, or through the power of irony and satire, by utilizing these platforms to democratize influence, the masses effectively reclaim the power of media, putting it back into the hands of the masses.
Cody Rooney is a Glossi Mag contributor.
He is a photography aficionado, theatre school alumni, fashion enthusiast, avid Ariana Grande fan and lover of all things aesthetically pleasing.