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The Influencer Effect

Article by Kayla Pallotto

Instagram: @kayla.pallotto

The same creators who over-edit their videos with filters and talk candidly about their acne are also being invited to sit front row at Paris Fashion Week. While influencers like Emma Chamberlain possess attractive relatability to everyday consumers, they still manage to acclaim themselves amongst accredited publications like The New York Times and Vogue. The ruse is up. Influencers gain more supporters when they show their flaws, not when they cover them up with concealers.

The lines between what we want to hide and what we highlight are blurred. Nothing is too personal, and nothing is too gross. We get to see inside their life, and their closet. Influencers, whether it’s intentional or not, are the driving power behind what’s selling off the racks and what is not. From fluffy teddy jackets to baby tees, trends are starting to forecast from TikTok, Instagram and other forms of social media, not the runway.

The pandemic has refocused our attention online; the only place we can gather in groups of ten or more. From Pinterest boards to picking out your next favorite pair of jeans, almost all aspects of fashion have been moved onto our phones and laptops. Add those factors to the decline of print media, and we’ve reached a crossroads: who are deciding our trends? The answer? There isn’t one.

Image courtesy of Instagram

2021 is the age of media democratization. All it takes is a girl to dance around in her poster-clad room, saturation filter up all the way up, a colorful corset from Amazon, and a song that charted in the past week for a trend to be born. The influencer effect doesn’t discriminate. After all, before she had her own Dunkin’ drink, Charli D'amelio was just a girl from suburban Connecticut. Sure, the odds of you going viral in the first place is slim, but not impossible. In the earlier days of fashion, teenagers had little autonomy in the industry. Fashion used to be saturated with elitism, classism, and a high barrier of entry. “Who do you know?”. “What past experience do you have?”. “Where have you worked?”.

A little social media savviness, personality, and style can allow you to gain tons of recognition in the world of fashion. But what makes certain influencers' fashion taste the creed of fashion? When Emma Chamberlain wore flared yoga pants, we wore flared yoga pants. Is it because flared yoga pants remind us of 8th grade and our One Direction phase? Maybe. But maybe it’s because we are no longer buying the product, we are buying into the person selling it.

Image courtesy of Instagram

Whether we like to admit it or not, we keep up with the Kardashians, follow our favorite vloggers, and dedicate our free time scrolling through a Tik Tokers page because we feel a human connection. We imagine ourselves getting coffee with them, we laugh along at their jokes, and slowly learn all their likes and dislikes from following them on all their socials. It’s a one-sided friendship. On their end, it’s a semi-anonymous sea of millions. On our end, it’s an attentive friend who shares their life, shortcomings, and victories. They confide to their camera, breaking the fourth wall, and as a result, we feel like we know them. When we like what we see inside a person, we’re more inclined to like what they wear, what color their eyeliner is, and want to get that cute new tennis skirt they just bought. When in Rome, you do as the Romans do. When on Instagram, you wear what Emma Chamberlain does.


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