Virtual reality is the new normal that we have embraced in the quiet corner of our domestic existence since Day 1 of quarantine.
A regular 12-hour day involves continuous scrolling, a few left and right swipes and some hesitant taps on check-out. Influencers who have dominated our feed since Instagram became popular have taken a backseat with the pandemic cutting media budgets of youthful brands that they sweared by. Thanks to COVID-19, #OOTDs and #MUAAddict were no more #OnFleek.
Ashley Carmen in her article on The Verge discusses in detail about the reinvention of aesthetics by influencers who are stuck at home. With travel plans tucked away for 2021, feeds are now all about no oven/no bake/no effort Banana bread, fun TikToks, #TBTs to Santorini/Lucerne/Dolomite vacays and repurposing designer outfits that were pressed and ready for New York Fashion Week or brunches at Avenue des Champs-Élysées.
In the absence of any professional photographers and dreamy backdrops, influencers are improvising like all of us to retain the most valuable cash-maker – followers who are spending more time online than ever.
A testing time for influencers when online survival depends on creating creative, engaging posts every day.
Influencers and influencing is set to change and make way for the new. When the lockdown reached its peak, fashion labels and photographers went out of the way to embrace the new normal. Thus, ‘Facetime shoots’ became a thing. The bolder name in fashion, Vogue Italia did a Facetime shoot with supermodel Gigi Hadid and paved the way for the future.
And so it began.
The raw essence of homely existence fascinated art enthusiasts and editors alike and fashion designers sent across their latest creation to be adorned and adored in the domestic sphere. Kylie Jenner posed for Vogue Czechoslovakia wearing Balmain with a modest sheer backdrop and #ShotOniPhone pictures that made headlines in no time.
Lest we forget the mama-bear cover.
The ‘Vogue cover challenge’ sent influencers on a hunt to seek the most aesthetic corner of their home for the perfect snap. Content was never an issue with leading publications that copied each other’s trend and asked fashion industry’s leading names for an #OOTD snap at their homely abode. With the lockdown easing up, the glam quotient of these influencers opened everyone’s pockets wider and got sales back up in no time.
While Zara and H&M were busy making record sales on the app, luxury brands that highly depend on the retail store experience for sales, didn’t have the same charm on online shopaholics. Gucci hiked its prices upto 9% in an attempt to shake off the damages done by the disruption of supply chain while taking affordability into consideration. Chanel, as reported by Business of Fashion, is soon to follow.
BRB, making a beeline for Net-a-porter.
While the fashion/beauty influencers are blessed with their business once again, travel and food influencers can’t say the same. Wayfarer Farah Ayuub was waiting to start a promising career as a travel and food influencer when the national lockdown in India barred her dreams of scouting the Himalayan ranges for heavenly valleys and local cuisines.
“2021 maybe, but I had all the investment and traffic required in my social media accounts and blog for a promising start. Can’t say any of that will make it through till 2021”
While fitness, cooking, beauty influencers are enjoying a career peak, travel influencers who have a generous repository of content are making their way through the lockdown with happy #TBTs and warming up to cozy corners in their homes.
The verdict? It’s time to shift from places to products.
Those who are reluctant to make the shift to products are altering reality to create magic. Who needs to travel for content when you have imagination?
Food influencers who are chefs have successfully survived the pandemic monster and are baking and sautéing for the lens. Cooking at home is the new fad that is raking up likes and follows like wildfire. The feed of successful food influencers have successfully overcome the ‘banana bread’ pandemic and renewed our resolve to become successful gourmet home-chefs.
Zucchini quiche? Hell ya!
Most influenstars who have shifted course and are open to experimenting with new products have successfully put the ‘flu’ past them. The rest who are true to their art are willing to sit out the pandemic with #TBTs and alternate content templates, hoping to get back on top feed once again.
2021, please be nice!