Millennials Turn Offline for Trendspotting

Jenn Im is an online influencer and former partner with Refinery29. Many people get their fashion inspiration from online lifestyle websites like Refinery29, as well as Instagram pages like hers.

Has Instagram replaced fashion magazines as the preferred source for trend-spotting? Because Instagram is the second most-used social media network by millennials, this might seem very probable. Fashion bloggers and regular people alike are using it to express their personal style to the general public. It seems natural that stylish people would draw inspiration from a societal mammoth like Instagram; however, this is not always the case. Many fashion magazines have created their own Instagram accounts to keep up with the changing times. Magazines have also moved to the online sphere and shifted to posting sponsored content on people’s social media feeds. These strategies have helped magazines compete with Instagram influencers and stay current.

Here in New York City, many people are taking trendspotting into their own hands, simply by making note of the fashion choices of stylish people on the street. This is by far the most popular method of trend-spotting for people who don’t have time to read a magazine or scroll through an Instagram feed. Some people are concerned that Instagram influencers may not dress in real life like they do in their posts.

Gallatin freshman Leah gans, for example, is skeptical of Instagram trend-setters.She prefers to look to the trends people are wearing on the street for inspiration.

“With the Instagrammers and bloggers I never really know what they actually wear in their daily life versus what they wear just to take photos in,” Gans said.


Gallatin freshmen Lauren Sobel also peers to observe what other stylish people are wearing. But she also uses online magazines to spot trends.

“I will usually go to [the magazine’s] website online or even their Insta pages to see what their latest looks/ideas have been,” Sobel said.

Sobel also added that she does not go to Instagram for fashion inspiration herself.

Gallatin Freshman Kiki Murphy supplements her trendspotting with online lifestyle sites like Refinery 29 and WhoWhatWear.

“I would say that’s where I look most,” Murphy said. “I’m just a fashion junkie.”

Are many people’s styles influenced by Instagram? Although Murphy herself doesn’t turn to Instagram for fashion inspiration, she believes most people do.

For some, like CAS sophomore Jewel Ariana, magazines have become completely obsolete when it comes to making fashion choices.

“My mom used to order Teen Vogue for me my entire life until I was, like, 14 and [I] stopped reading them,” Ariana said. “I never really cared.”

No matter what the opinion, it is undoubtable that the move to the digital world has changed trendspotting forever. However, it is certainly not the preferred source of fashion inspiration, especially for people in cities such as New York, where trendspotting is as easy as looking at people walking around. Though fashion magazines are certainly struggling in terms of readership popularity — according to Statista — maybe they have managed to stay relevant by maintaining an online presence, suggesting that Instagram’s influence on style may not be as strong as it seems.

Email Mollie Yellin at [email protected]



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