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by Melony Breese Forcier

Photography courtesy of Gina DeWolfe

In the age of social media, it seems like almost all the ways in which we consume our culture is changing. One medium in particular is the way we shop for clothes; in the past, the only way to find clothes was shopping at a Brick and Mortar store or online from a familiar store. However, it seems like recently, more people are turning to stores they probably would never have known of much less been familiar with if it was not for Instagram.

Olivia Spina, a current freshman at Boston University, has had good experiences finding clothes on Instagram.

“I found my high school graduation dress on Instagram,” said Spina (CAS ’21).

Spina noted that she was flipping through the discover page when she came across a store called Xenia Boutique advertising a dress that she thought would be perfect for the event. “I clicked on the link and it took me to the online store so I could purchase the dress,” she said.

SheIn is another brand that reaches trendy shoppers through social media. The company allows customers to collaborate with the brand by posting photos in the clothes on their social media. The Instagram page currently has 2.8 million followers which is more than Nordstrom, one of the most popular department stores. The online retailer also takes inspiration from trendy, high-end retailers and sells them for a much more affordable price.

Emma Schroeder, another freshman at Boston University, speaks highly of her experiences with SheIn. “I saw a bathing suit I was in love with on Free People, but I didn’t want to spend the money on it, so I found one that looked almost exactly like it on SheIn,” said Schroeder (CAS ’21).

Although, some people are hesitant to buy from these smaller, online retailers because they are unsure about the quality of the products, Spina and Schroeder among many have had good experiences with their purchases.

“I assumed the bathing suits to not be the best quality because of what I paid for them, but I was shocked to see how nice they really were when they came in,” said Schroeder.

Instagram is eliminating the middleman in online retailers and reaching the customers directly, which is one of the reasons it is so much more cost efficient. However, this is not the only reason why people enjoy shopping at these retailers as finding a good store on Instagram is like finding a hidden gem.

“I think it is nice to shop from a small Instagram boutique rather than a big-name retailer because you know that it is unlikely anyone else will have what you are wearing,” said Spina.

Another plus to Instagram shopping is it tailors your personal taste to what you are seeing on your discover page, so it is like having your own personal shopper instead of flipping through pages upon pages of clothes you may or may not be interested in.

The best part about it, the clothes and stores on one’s discover page on Instagram are specifically tailored to the individual’s personal taste. It is like having a personal shopper instead of flipping through catalogues of clothes that may or may not pique one’s interest. Who knows if shopping through Instagram will become more popular than the more traditional ways of shopping for clothes, but those who do shop on Instagram know how incredible it is to find that one store no one else knows about…at least for now.

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