I have always been attracted to aesthetically pleasing things, and before you say, “of course April – aren’t we all?” hear me out. From a very early age, I would spend hours sifting through magazines and books cutting out images that inspired me. As I moved into adulthood, the fascination with beauty continued. Often this came in the form of fashion – thus the reason I started out in the industry. And while it wasn’t limited to clothing, it was still beauty in a conventional sense. A pink sunset, a garden of roses, waves crashing along the shoreline – you get the idea. To this day, my phone is filled with a seemingly endless array of these types of photos.
Now onto my conundrum. Given my love of beautiful images, I was an early adopter of Instagram. For the first time I could curate everything I wanted to see while posting all of the sunset and flower pictures until my heart was content. It was amazing – at first. Fast forward to today. With over 800 million users, Instagram has become the most heavily curated social media platform. Many influencers now make a living by carefully curating a visually appealing grid. Obviously, I too have benefited from this platform.
The past several months, however, I have really struggled with the platform. Not wanting to participate in something that breeds inauthenticity and perfectionism. Unfortunately, Instagram, and social media as a whole, rewards those who are actively engaging and posting new content. The ever-changing algorithms are designed to give us a rush of a dopamine every time we log on and proceed with an endless scroll. This consists primarily of advertisements to make us feel as though we need to buy more, travel more, and generally have more fun.
And while I’m acutely aware of all of these things, I still find it affects my sense of self-worth. I have considered several solutions – 1. Hitting the unfollow button (gasp I know!) But, really, who has time to scroll through 600+ highlight reels? 2. Posting less content on Instagram, and focusing more on the website (the experts tell you this will never work). 3. Disengaging from the platform entirely. This doesn’t seem realistic if I want to spread awareness about ethical fashion.
In all honesty, I’m not sure what the solution will be, but I do know that I want to promote genuine content that doesn’t leave you, the reader, feeling inadequate or insufficient. Instead, I want you to be informed and empowered. All Awear was created to inspire consumers to shop better and to spread awareness. If you think there are ways that we can better engage you as a reader and consumer, I would love to hear your thoughts. Or if you have thoughts on the Instagram conundrum, please share those as well.