Here are some numbers for you to crunch: Over 100 million photos and videos are uploaded onto Instagram every day. 60% of Instagram’s active users say that they use the app to discover new products, and over 2 million advertisers use Instagram as a platform to create click-through sales. According to one study, the highest age group of Instagram users are aged between 25 and 34 (34 percent), followed closely by the 18 to 24 age group (31 percent).
There’s no denying just how far-reaching the influence that Instagram wields. It is the third most popular app behind Facebook and Snapchat, and it accounts for 40 percent of users following through with a visit to the store or purchasing the items that they see.
Strong visuals are effective in turning likes into money — as the entire advertising and magazine industries will tell you — and it is possible that this phenomenon is, in turn, driving fashion brands to create art that is specific to the platform. Be it through collage work, mixed media videos or working with special effects artists, everyone from Louis Vuitton to Prada is finding new ways to engage digital artists as a way of creating striking works of art that redefine or emphasize the brand’s identity.
The relationship between fashion and art has always been present throughout history — remember the clothing and accessories that came from a collaboration between French designer Elsa Schiaparelli and Surrealist painter Salvador Dali? — so the idea of fashion brands tying up with the art world isn’t exactly new.
However, for brands to set aside dedicated budgets to create an Instagram post (that will essentially be forgotten in 24 hours) demonstrates just how much emphasis they are placing on reaching audiences through their phone screens.
Today, a double-tap on Instagram can now generate revenue, and the app has evolved to become a point-of-sale too. Combine that with the sheer volume of visual data and noise flooding newsfeeds, and you can understand the importance behind paying for strong, artistic posts that will stop users from endlessly scrolling away.
Take Gucci, for example. To showcase their line of sneakers, the Italian brand worked with several artists to create ASMR videos. ASMR — short for “autonomous sensory meridian response” — essentially describes the tingling sensation you get from a feeling of relaxation or calm, usually through detailed auditory stimulation. Through this campaign, Gucci is acknowledging the growing trend of ASMR videos to move product. Collectively, the campaign garnered more than 18 million views.
Earlier this month, Miu Miu commissioned New York-based artist Belle Smith to create a series of VHS-inspired short clips that showcased the collection. Models dodged lighting bolts or spun around in Twilight Zone orbs in ‘90s-inspired video editing that was delightfully cheeky. The message? You can wear nice clothes (preferably Miu Miu) without feeling too serious.
On a wider scale, Valentino has taken the art of digital collaging and turned it into its focal point for its AW19 ad campaign. Collaging isn’t a new form of artistic expression, but the democracy that Instagram offers artists has allowed digital collage enthusiasts to thrive on this platform. And from how Valentino is using this almost guerrilla-looking way of snipping different images together to form a final work that would be plastered across billboards and glossy magazine pages, it seems like the Internet-led renaissance of collage work — and perhaps the world of digital art on Instagram — has finally spilled out of the screen and into the real world.