Bottega Veneta suddenly left all socials back in January and since fashion brands have been wiping their Instagrams clean every chance they get. Balenciaga also hopped on the trend a month ago in anticipation for its debut haute couture collection. Even Gap recently deleted its entire feed and changed its profile picture to ‘YZY’ for no apparent reason as the account is back to posting its regular content. Perhaps it was Kanye who made an impulsive decision which eventually had to be backtracked on… Sounds like him.
So why do brands actually do this? Well, there are a few reasons. Reason Number 1: a claim of a deeper understanding of a brand and its products (i.e. something a ‘pick me’ would do). Reason Number 2: hyping up followers for a mysterious big announcement. Let’s focus on the former. A prime example of this reasoning is, obviously, Bottega Veneta. Social media “homogenises” and “oversimplifies” culture as well as it disregards the “enormous amount of thought” that goes behind designing a collection, or so says Daniel Lee. Don’t get me wrong, I agree with what Daniel Lee said, but I recognize that Instagram has never been the spot to source in-depth explanations about products or design processes. Instagram, by definition, should be taken at face value. Pretending it was ever anything else would be delusional, or as fashion critic Louis Pisano says “pretentious”. It’s not as if Bottega Veneta still profits off the social media influencers it pays to show off its new collection, right?
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The second explanation feels somewhat of a smarter game move. In fact it’s one many celebrities have already committed to, and is now trickling down to luxury brands. A clean feed is a clean slate and in an industry where brands must reinvent themselves every season, deleting all previous Instagram posts could make sense if it’s done sensibly. Look at Balenciaga which deleted its feed in order to make room for one of the biggest announcements of the century: the return of Balenciaga Couture. It’s literally the start of a new era so why not start over the Instagram page as well? It was all fun and games until Balenciaga struck again with its content-wipe, this time solely to unveil its latest campaign featuring Justin Bieber. I’m not saying that its latest campaign is of no importance but if a brand is going to make a big statement by deleting all its previous posts for every single announcement, no one is going to care anymore.
And that’s exactly what is happening. Internet users and media publications alike are calling out brands on this nonsensical marketing move, if it can even be classified as that anymore. If anything, social media such as Instagram should be used by fashion brands to its fullest potential. These channels are the very ones that are breaking down the classist and elitist ways of the fashion industry. In a day and age where anyone can attend a fashion show simply via a livestream puts everyone on the same page. Exclusivity is no longer a thing when Anna Wintour and you are watching Chanel’s latest show unveil in front of your eyes at the same exact time. Of course, there are still levels and watching behind a phone screen is not the same as being seated front row, but going radio silence cuts ties with anyone not part of the close-knit community that is the industries’ topdogs. Basically, it’s a big f*ck you to every single supporter of that brand or designer. You get my point now?
So do we really care about brands wiping their IG feeds? It depends. On the rare occasion that it is done so thoughtfully and with an end goal which is eventually achieved, yes people will care as they will feel the excitement, importance and above all the significance of the risqué move. But for the most part, no. In fact, it usually looks and sounds like just a bunch of bullsh*t.
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