Has Social Media Killed Street Style?

Follow up question: is blogging dead?

Image: Amanda Lin for Couturesque at New York Fashion Week

In times gone by, street style has been known as the rawest, most organic celebration of fashion there is. But with the rise of social media and the ability to gain followers and earn money from it, there has been a bubbling idea that the 'art' of street style has been cheapened; that it has merely become a business opportunity instead of a celebration of one’s self-expression through fashion.

It’s no secret that if one has a successful fashion blog or Instagram feed they can earn big bucks from it; some stars are making tens of thousands for a single post. Although these influencers are doing what they do out of love for fashion (we think), has this idea of payment and success simply turned street style into a #careergoals opportunity? Countless numbers of fashionistas are starting up blogs and Instagrams (myself included) but how many of them are doing it because they want to celebrate fashion and how many are doing it in the hopes of 'being discovered' – I hope the first option takes the majority.

Last year, much attention was paid to the ethics of sponsorship on social media; an increasing number of spectators have become weary of influencers selling out and only producing sponsored posts. If someone is only wearing clothes they were gifted, is it really a true representation of their personal style, or are they simply becoming a walking, talking advert? Seeing as bloggers are usually given the option to choose the clothes they want gifted, this argument may be a little redundant in that essence; the moral problems with sponsorship lie with those promoting brands they don’t believe in for the sake of a multi-figure contract, and it’s right there that street style dies.

Speaking personally however, I rely heavily on the Internet for my inspiration; Pinterest, Tumblr, and Instagram are my Holy Grails of fashion ideas. Social media is an incredible tool for democratizing fashion; it allows those who may not otherwise have the chance to get noticed or be celebrated for their style to do so. It’s a platform through which lovers of fashion can come together to share and be inspired. If you think about, surely bloggers and other influencers who receive payment for their looks are merely being celebrated by the industry itself - they’ve been noticed and for good reason; the fashion industry has deemed them a worthy source of inspiration for those looking for some.

There are those who argue blogging and social media has turned street style into an elitist game, however my feelings are quite the contrary. Instead of relying on getting noticed in the street by a photographer, the digital age has given one the ability and opportunity to share their style with the whole world on their own terms (and for free!) through social media. Everywhere you look there’s someone sharing their #ootd and while, yes, some of them might be getting paid for it, digital platforms are a democracy and provide the possibility of this success to everyone; street style isn’t dead, in fact, it’s arguably never been more alive. 

WHO: Xenia, Managing Fashion Editor at Couturesque magazine
WHERE: London
OBSESSED WITH: Pyper America Smith
CAN BE FOUND AT: @xeniatheklein

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I founded Couturesque Magazine when I was 15 years old because like many of my peers, I felt ignored and talked down to by all of the other teen fashion publications out there. I figured that at the end of the day, the people who knew the most about my generation, were the people who belonged to it. The fashion industry is becoming increasingly dependent on the creativity of younger voices who challenge the status quo and make us rethink what we wear and why we wear it. And that is exactly what Couturesque set out to celebrate - authenticity, intelligence, originality, and diversity... in other words, what makes Gen-Z tick. Fast-forward to 2016 and we now have a staff of more than a dozen fashion distruptors contributing to our daily content from all around the globe, 100K+ readers following us from Toronto to New York, to London, Copenhagen, Berlin, Tokyo, and Tel Aviv, and a plethora of big-wig industry fans and collaborators. But what matters to us the most is the responsibility that our publication has to make a positive impact in the lives of those who come across it - we stand against retouching our photoshoots and we stand for sharing the beautiful, individual, complex voices of everyone, especially those who feel marginalized by mainstream fashion media. We hope that you love our site as much as we do and that you take the time to follow us (Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Pinterest / Tumblr / Snapchat / YouTube) throughout our journey to make fashion accessible to the powerful young adults of today.

Tia Elisabeth Glista
Editor in Chief