When we’re looking for outfit, holiday or home inspiration, Instagram, Pinterest and other social sites are usually the first point of call. Arguably, influencers hold some of the biggest power for setting and pushing trends today. Department stores are partnering with bloggers to promote their stores, and a whopping 91% of millennials trust online reviews as much as recommendations from friends and family.
While influencers are mostly associated with fashion and beauty, there is becoming more and more scrutiny on those who are deemed to be promoting fast fashion practices. More than half of UK shoppers believe that social media influencers are behind the rise in fast fashion, according to research by Fashion Retail Academy.
There is a major ecological problem in the fashion industry, caused by a supply chain of cheap clothing to meet trends, causing overconsumption, encouraging disposability, and contributing to a throwaway culture which causes more pollution.
Influencers Changing Ways
While fashion is one way in which people express their character and personality, we’re becoming less obsessed with what other people are wearing, and we’re more interested in where they’re wearing it, and what their background looks like.
Showing a life that is more sustainable doesn’t have to include preaching hundreds of different environmental practices. In the age of mindful consumerism, we’re far less likely to throw away furniture pieces than we are clothes. There’s also a lot of longevity in an interior piece – something which does not always ring true for those constantly giving into fast fashion culture.
One Instagrammer, Rachael, runs a home interior account @MrsElizabethHome, and has built her way up to more than 90,000 followers in just over a year.
“I’ve definitely seen an increase in home influencer accounts recently. Lots of people are looking for inspirations for their homes via Instagram. I love to change things around. I tend to stick to a neutral main colour throughout – then if I feel like a change, I can do so with furniture and accessories.”
Arguably, it’s just as interesting to see how somebody has put together a room, as it is their outfit. Thanks to Instagram culture, we have access to more interior designs than ever before – people even go to bars just to get a picture with a famed interior.
Are well-decorated homes becoming just as valuable for a fast following than a well-styled outfit?
Create an Escape Sanctuary
As another interior influencer, Laura at @LifeOnJackLane puts it, “Along with the rise of Instagrammers like Mrs Hinch inspiring everyone to ‘pine’ their toilets and karate chop their cushions, I think the increasing pace of life has a lot to do with the popularity of interiors. It’s a form of escapism.”
She’s right – “cleanfluencer” Mrs Hinch went from 1,000 to one million followers in just six months, after her cleaning tips went viral.
“You can dictate the atmosphere of a room through tones, textures and scent. Think of that overwhelming sense of calm when you walk into a candle-lit spa, underscored by whale music and relaxing essential oils. You can’t capture this atmosphere (for the audience) in a dark, cramped room.
“As modern society demands everything to be harder, better, longer, greedier, it’s becoming even more important to create this sanctuary where we can escape for it all. The nation’s appetite for interiors is only set to grow stronger,” Laura continued.
Public consciousness is changing – concerns for the environment are at a record high, with it now being seen as the third most pressing issue facing the nation.
On the topic of sustainability, Laura thinks public consciousness is coming through to homeware. “Think botanical printed wallpaper, cool, monkey table lamps, all-animal-print everything.”
Another style influencer, @KirstyAnneMarr, has been running her Instagram for around 18 months, building up a loyal following of more than 23,000, along with running her own fashion business – House of Marble – which is sold on Depop.
“Of course, you want your home to look nice,” Kirsty says. “But at the same time, you don’t want to be redecorating every year to keep up with the Jones’ next door. You want to buy furniture that will last, have appliances that aren’t constantly damaging to the environment, and want to know that when styling your home, what is inside is a maintainable standard of living.
Telling a Story
Fashion is a form of self-expression, it tells stories about our personality. Trophy interior pieces and focal points show a story about your home and your personality, and you’ve got the opportunity to switch the style around depending on your mood, but far less than you would outfit pieces. It’s a better investment, and might cost more at first, but you spend far longer in your living room than your coat.
Displaying these treasures tells a story. Choosing colours that show your personality, curate a space that is achievable, not the ‘impossible dream’ are key. Even fashion designers are now working with homeware brands – such as Louis Vuitton, Kate Spade New York and Paul Smith.
Laura at @LifeOnJackLane says – “If fashion styling is a form of self-expression, I feel that home styling is a form of self-indulgence. Nobody can judge me in my own home, and I love styling my space to maximise this downtime. My home answers my needs, it welcomes me in after a long day and makes any of my visitors feel happy, comfortable and safe. Striking that balance of style and function is an art form in its own right.”
She even talks about how socio-political issues affect fashion choices, “The global financial crisis of 2008? The rise of shabby chic interiors was no coincidence.”
There’s Room for Both
Kirsty’s content focuses on lifestyle, fashion and parenting – with her home interior thrown into them all.
“I’ve definitely noticed a decline in fast fashion among influencers. People want to focus more on the everyday details – whether that’s family life, home life, holidays, etc.”
Fashion is Kirsty’s main focus. But she understands that it’s not the best option to focus mainly on this, and is working to adapt to change this.
“These days, people are so busy trying to balance work, socialising, family and maintaining a home – fashion isn’t as much of a priority. Casual, easy to put together fashion, that’s what’s appealing to people these days. With minimal time and money, people want effortless fashion.”
Kirsty’s fashion comments relate to one of the biggest pushes for sustainable clothes – the 30 wears test. The campaign encourages people to only buy an item if we really know that we will wear it time and time again – reinforcing Kirsty’s point that we need easy to put together fashion that’s easy for people to put together with minimal time.
At the same time, she loves interior design. “Whether you are on a budget or not, I also love the way you can give a room a personality. It’s easy to make a house feel like a home, one that says you live there, you designed it, and you love it.
“There has definitely been a rise in interior design popularity in recent years. Before social media, most people would only ever see the inside of your home if they actually entered, while these days you can take people on a virtual tour, show off that expensive lamp or fancy sofa at the click of a button.
Homeware comes with a lot less pressure to adapt for seasons and trends than fashion does. You don’t need to buy a new garden dining set or Christmas tree every year, you just need to invest in good quality items. Of course, there is room to change up accessories and furnishings, but it isn’t anywhere near as fast as fashion. Influencers seem to be shaping the way we look at the interior and shift away from fashion – let’s see what happens in 2020.
INFLUENCER HOME STYLE TRENDS:
“Grey and white will continue to be in fashion for a long time. Every household likes to boast at least one room in the house that has a bit of colour and pizazz to it – whether that’s dusty pink, mustard yellow or forest green.
“The Scandi trend isn’t going anywhere. Based on the desire to live a simpler life, minimalist silhouettes like tripod-legged chairs and stone-finish tableware is still going strong. The yearning for simplicity and wellbeing is answered with fuss-free shapes and pale colours that help to quieten the mind. Then there’s also the glamour trend – a sprinkle of sequins here, a touch of crushed velvet there, bar carts, mirrored finishes, elaborate embellishments, and so on. As prices across the country continue to rise and wages don’t, we’re bringing the lavish lifestyle into our homes instead.
“Lots of the traditional wall panelling seems to be added to people’s homes recently. The Scandinavian home is really popular too, and I’ve noticed a lot of gold kitchen appliances and accessories, rather than Chrome, which I love.”