For years, the fashion influencer’s social media domain was Instagram. The app’s algorithm metes out visibility to users that conform to its self-consciously candid aesthetic so the accounts that have built up the largest audiences since it launched over a decade ago can reflect a pretty narrow perspective on what to wear. But on TikTok, the short video app where fashion plates go to show off their looks, offer personal styling advice and share thrifting tips, a more anything goes spirit is taking over.
“The power is now with the creative,” says Vanessa Craft, the director of content partnerships at TikTok Canada and the former editor of Elle Canada. “One thing that’s exceptionally exciting is just watching people get a platform to be able to share their creative energy, and watch it grow the way that it always should have.” It’s a place where a post of Gucci’s latest campaign or a small-town teen sharing their Goodwill haul can gain equal attention.
“TikTok is the first app I’ve seen that caters to people who have really great fashion sense, no matter if you’re wearing a brand name or not,” says Symphony Clarke, who posts “up-thrifting” videos of herself revamping second-hand clothes to her account @TheThriftGuru. Personal stylist Bee Stuart (@queeryorker) says the app helps her discover fashion accounts run by people with diverse aesthetics and body types, and that it makes getting feedback on her own business fun. “The viewers have no problem telling you what they want from you, which makes it easier for me to give styling advice, and allows me to build real connections,” she says.
To Craft, who counts @lexsonator (a celebration of 1970s style by Lexson Millington) and @moxeb (stylist Maha Gondal’s chic take on modest style) as two of her favourite Canadian follows, TikTok’s rise reflects how far the fashion industry’s power dynamic has shifted. “[The app] is completely reinventing the storytelling of fashion and style,” she says. “It’s the ultimate calling card.”