The Ever-Expanding Future for Fashion in the Virtual World


Screenshot of Brandy models on Instagram.


Brandy Melville is arguably one of the most popular brands for teenagers today. They are affordable and know how to work social media. Instagram has been a huge part in building the market for this Italian fashion brand. Brandy Melville has a large group of stylish young girls, called “Brandy Models”, who not only work in the stores but also promote the brand and the ideas along with it on their personal social media.

Although most of these girls are not actually models represented by agencies, they post Instagram photos and are featured on the Brandy Instagram, which has over 2.3 million followers. By working for the company they are a new type of celebrity that have their own fans with their personal Instagram, having thousands of followers. If there photos are good enough they are featured on the official account and become instant celebrities. Being a Brandy Model is a coveted position, which encourages average teens to try to mimic the Brandy girls Instagram.

Their Instagrams act as lookbooks for the company and allow people to just look at their Instagram for updates on new arrivals and free style advice.

“Its really cool because you no longer have to go to their website or even their official Instagram account to see the new arrivals, but by following these girls you have updates on the new stuff” said junior Emily Tarbush “and if you’re ever like stuck on what to wear you can just look at their Instagram and get inspiration from those girls wore them”. Brandy Melville promotes the glamorous lifestyle of young California girls and is much more than just a clothing brand it is the lifestyle that draws interest to the brand.

Many fashion brands that have been around for longer do not have this advantage as a way to instantly connect with their market, and no brand even comes close to the full-Brandy effect. Most fashion brands have an Instagram where they post things but this only works for people who already follow the brand. In order to attract new customers they have to have fashion bloggers or models post pictures wearing the clothes for new people to discover the brand. Its about creating a demand and reputation by who is wearing what brand. For Brandy this happens to be teenage girls who are very impressionable and use Instagram daily, but for more high end brands that have a more mature target market they have to use fashion bloggers as their promoters. Its a common practice for many high fashion labels send new inventory to top fashion bloggers, celebrities and other notable figures around the world in order to create demand for their products.

Fashion brand Onepiece even went so far as to offer discount based on the number of followers you have. They are the first company to ever offer a discount of this nature which calculated 500 followers for $1 off and an extra $20 if you posted a photo of your merchandise with a special hashtag. This strategy worked wonders for the then-inconspicuous brand which gave them mass recognition and even landed them on

In order for new brands to come in the spotlight or old ones to stay relevant they have to show just who is wearing or talking about their merchandise. This is why all up and coming brands have a “press” page on their websites that show every high tiered fashion blogger, celebrity or publication who made a post that included their brand. Having a strong social media presence is necessary for success in today’s fashion world.

Caleb Minter poses for a photo.
Caleb Minter poses for a photo.


Social media has created a new realm of attention and coverage in the fashion industry today. A change which sophomore and clothing-enthusiast Caleb Minter put it, “There’s a lot of people that are viewed as fashion icons,” noting specifically a young man by the name of Ian Connor. Connor has existed on Twitter since March of 2011, and since then has accumulated around 98-thousand followers. What exactly is Ian Connor’s title? Well, until last week he was Wiz Khalifa’s full time stylist and creative director as well as A$AP Rocky’s creative director, even though he is very quiet about the titles over Twitter.

With this large accumulation of followers, Connor is very active on Twitter and Instagram; talking about his everyday feelings and posting photos of himself in famous designer’s collections. His following is very closely related with both the hip hop and fashion culture, he knows and interacts with a variety of artists/designers around the world using the internet: and his following are very active with him through it all.

“Everyone wants to be the next ‘Ian Connor’ and make an Instagram page, wear cool clothes and be a model almost,” said Minter. “Ian Connor is my Dad.”

Aside from poster-children in social media, there is a lot of other information and activity on the internet which has allowed independent research or browsing of news in the fashion world, clothing releases, fashion shows, etc.

Minter says he enjoys clothing companies such as “Supreme(NY) and A Bathing Ape,” and added that “Nike also makes good products.”

Aside from using Reddit and forums where “discussions about new clothing,” occur on a daily basis Minter spends his time on the consumer end. “I’m just someone that buys clothes,” said Minter.

On these forums and discussion boards people talk about shoes that brands such as Nike are releasing on a pre-announced date, which many times can have a very small product.

Nike may announce the drop of a shoe with as few as 50 pairs, which is where “there’s kind of an adventure to it,” said Minter, “especially when you’re waking up at five in the morning to just try to get a pair of shoes.” This market of more exclusive purchase opens up another market for their resale: if you don’t get the shoes into your shopping cart within the 2 second period you have, you can buy them from someone who did get lucky, but for sometimes up to three to four times as much as the original retail price.