The Guardian recently released an article about the impact of the popular hashtag “outfit of the day” or #OOTD. While the hashtag may not immediately stir up a negative connotation, activist Caryn Franklin warns consumers otherwise.
So what’s wrong with someone posting what they are wearing for the day?
Well, evidence suggests that users are making their outfits for the hashtag. The Guardian cites that 1 in 10 people in Britain admitted to buying clothes just to post an image on social media. After posting the image, the customers would return the clothing. When the research is broken down based on age groups, this figure gets as large as 1 in 5.
The hashtag, which has more than 2 million posts on Instagram, has reportedly fuelled this “snap and send back” culture. Activist Caryn Franklin discussed how fashion, at its best, allows individuals to explore their identity. In fact, she explains that how one chooses to dress themselves is a reflection of their emotional experiences. Yet, this means of creativity and self- expression has become a form of branding on social media. Instagram has allowed consumers to create a “disposable” self. If one is able to get a sense of joy and fulfilment from one’s collection of clothing, Franklin suggests that buying outfits for the purpose of Instagramming and returning them can only yield superficial feelings.
Franklin explains that #OOTD is one of many hashtags that has encouraged narcissism and dysfunctional consumption. Fast fashion also plays into this relationship where consumers often see clothing as replaceable and disposable.
It is interesting to consider Franklin’s perspective on what has produced this disposable self in the fashion industry. An analysis into other contributing factors would also be valuable. For example, one can make the argument that social media in general has impacted the fashion industry and consumer attitudes. Following influencers on Instagram and having integrated apps that allow social media users to purchase what they see in their favourite photos can also impact how consumers perceive fashion. Instead of finding clothing that consumers think genuinely represents their style, they may seek to replicate the looks of the most popular influencers and celebrities.
Of course, using social media to post pictures of an outfit or as a medium to display fashion does not necessitate that one is narcissistic or inauthentic. However, it may be useful to question why you are using certain hashtags, why you are posting an image, and how the clothing you are wearing makes you feel in order to avoid the “snap and send back” culture that projects the frivolity of fashion.
What are your thoughts on the popular hashtag? Are you an avid user or would you rather keep images of your daily fashion choices to a minimum?