Instagram Archive Accounts And Driving Fashion

Today’s fashion connoisseurs seem to have a somewhat obsession with fashion archives, helping to disseminate the work of famous fashion houses and the designers they bore.

Not to long ago, the fashion world went erratic over Phoebe Philo’s departure at Céline, and thus became the beginning of the Old Céline account. Now boasting over 264k followers, the account is a tribute to Philo’s tenure at the brand, posting key moments and her work.

Then we move onto New Bottega, curated by Laura Rossi, and is an archive account dedicated to Daniel Lee’s current work at Bottega Veneta, and who just happens to be a protégé of Phoebe Philo from when they were both at Céline. The account boasts over 21.2k followers, and essentially has more interaction with influencers and customers of Bottega Veneta than the official account.

Selfless self promo, but now we lead onto other smaller Archive accounts that haven’t quite yet hit mainstream media. Maison The Row, aka @maisontherow, was created by myself to showcase the wonderful brand of The Row in all its entirety, as I felt like the brand has huge potential but doesn’t have a strong social media presence. It now boasts a growing number of 500 followers, having just been created 3 days ago.

Next we have @margiela.archive, who seems to have been active for about a year now, showcasing all the work of Martin Margiela over the years. With a cult following of over 34.4k followers, the account is constantly tagged in clients and admirers posts of MM’s work.

Lastly, we have a Prada archive account, aka prada.archive, who was created and curated by Nat Tong. With features on Hunger and Another Mag, the account has been recognised by the industry and has high engagement on their posts (8000 followers with 1000 likes on photos). Clearly, Prada’s still got it.

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Spring Summer 2015 #juergenteller

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With that being said, what are they contributing to the development of fashion? If they are even driving anything at all, are they driving sales, increasing brand recognition or are they just a means for Virgil Abloah to carry on copying relevant past work from notable past and current designers? #sorrynotsorry

When you look at these accounts, they are created and run because their creators have some form of admiration for the brand, and aren’t doing it because they’re commissioned to do it. Should they be?

Also, it isn’t uncommon to find that some of these accounts can be used for sourcing goods, as people may request the creators if they can source certain OOS items, but it’s rare that they’ll carry through with the request.

In some form, these accounts share the same common ground as influencers, but aren’t paid to do so. When large influencers are tagging these Archive accounts in their posts and stories where they are showcasing branded items, i.e tagging @newbottega in your post with your new Bottega Veneta clutch, you’re encouraging engagement with the archive account and that’s how they’re able to grow to tens-of-thousands of followers in a couple months.

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#therow spring 2017 #readytowear. ✨

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The lingering question remains, why aren’t fashion houses using these Archive accounts for their own benefit, if that means gaining publicity for working with an admirer or reaching a further demographic? My guess is it’s already free publicity. These creators run these accounts in their free time knowing they might never receive praise or recognition from the brand/designer themselves, and there’s no problem in that. It’s mainly online media and magazine publications (like us) that pick up these accounts on social media and write about them, because who wouldn’t like to read about them and the work they’re doing.

Erika Hanson