Where Instagram’s “Explore” page was once the reserve of latte art, triggering gym selfies, and GOOP-approved vegan lunches, your feed today probably features as many as lol-inducing Instagram memes as it does artsy photos of charcoal juices.
Of course, there are still plenty of Instagram influencers touting #eatclean content and #wokeuplikethis hair, but somewhere in between Justin Bieber’s ongoing ‘gram drama and a polarizing Kardashian selfie, a new crop of digital deities peddling memes quietly became the platform’s defacto tastemakers.
Amidst the DMs and tags, TFWs, and starter packs, Instagram memes have emerged as a unique language within internet ephemera, and the fashion industry has been quick to take notice, too.
First came the rise of Vetememes, a Vetements parody brand started by enterprising Grailed staff member Davil Tran, offering bootleg Vetements garments and introducing fashion’s very first IRL meme.
Then something even more unlikely happened. An Instagram meme artist turned into a runway star at Milan Fashion Week. This past January, Elliot Tebele, a.k.a. FuckJerry, made his catwalk debut at Ermenegildo Zegna’s FW17 show.
Alexander Wang even used a meme to throw some major social media shade at Philipp Plein, with which he accused his fellow designer of copying the set of one of his past fashion shows.
Yet meme culture’s crowning moment in fashion was the recent unveiling of Gucci’s #TFWGucci campaign. The Italian fashion house courted meme-creators and artists to help launch its new “Le Marché des Merveilles” watch collection with a series of memes. It’s a solid affirmation of the meme’s indisputable cultural cache.
If you’re looking for a little humor to combat the seriousness of #fashion, then look no further than our favorite fashion meme-makers below. Offering hilarious perspectives on fashion from the runway, street style, trends, award ceremonies, and pop-culture, be sure to smash the “follow” button.
While Siduations isn’t a meme account, this offering of photoshopped fashion spoofs and sassy captions is tickling the fashion industry. And if you think about it, posting repurposed runway imagery with achingly witty captions is basically a memes to an end, no?
The account’s creator Sidney Prawatyotin, a fashion PR veteran, offers up comical takes on the circus that is fashion week, often placing over-stylized statement pieces straight from the runway into quotidian contexts or definitive pop-cultural moments.
FuckJerry doesn’t really need an introduction at this point, with a following of more than 11 million. Elliot Tebele, the 26-year-old meme-maker behind the account, has transcended Instafame and graduated into a bona fide media mogul. Though his memes aren’t explicitly fashion focused, the fashion industry is truly obsessed. FuckJerry has starred in Seinfeld-themed fashion editorials in Vogue and even walked the runway at Milan Fashion Week, as mentioned earlier.
Sebastian Tribbie, the meme lord behind Youvegotnomale, has gained cult-status notoriety for his razor-sharp wit. His Instagram handle peddles meme-based content on everything from fashion’s irrational culture of hype (especially when it comes to Vetements) to his now infamous “starter packs” ridiculing fashion trends and typologies.
Unsurprisingly, he was tapped by Gucci to lend his kaleidoscopic pop-cultural insight to the brand’s meme-based #TFWGucci campaign, and his carefully crafted Gucci memes are utterly flawless. Here’s an example below.
Dre is the Montreal-based meme artist behind GothShakira and the self-appointed “high-prestress of dank feminist memery” and I honestly dare you to challenge that declaration. It’s a worthy tagline to describe her prolific output, which has quickly evolved into a legitimate genre of cut-throat cultural critique.
In an age where memes troll dominant cultural, her analytical, feminist memes exist to ridicule and disempower patriarchy. Naturally, Gucci came knocking on her metaphysical door for her radically political yet humorous brand of memecraft, and it’s a surprisingly harmonious union. See the result below.
As you can probably glean from this account’s handle, FakeYeezy Boosts is wholeheartedly committed to dragging the fashion industry with zeal, its die-hard obsessives, as well as fleeting fashion trend culture at large. The first post featured above is a classic and it’s a visual assault against anyone who dropped a dime at Dover Street Market at the height of “street goth.” Utterly savage.
KA5SH is an internet artist and rapper, and he just happens to be the originator behind the “I f*ck with the vision fam let’s build” meme that you’ve undoubtedly seen everywhere. When the North Carolina native isn’t ruthlessly mocking Supreme’s loyal fan base (with some self-reflective irony) and the streetwear community’s own slang terms, he is is busy canonizing the Instagram meme into the vernacular of contemporary art.
He recently curated a gallery show in Los Angeles titled “By Any Memes Necessary” featuring the work of seven meme makers (as well as his own). The show was a great example of how the Instagram meme can readily straddle the digital, political and social climates within contemporary culture into one distinct, universal language (albeit with plenty of niches and subgenres).
Fashion month might already be a distant memory, but FW17’s most dramatic moment wasn’t on the runways. Balenciaga’s casting controversy sparked plenty of industry discussion about the mistreatment of models, and this account is dedicated to calling out the industry’s discrimination against models with one brilliant meme at a time. Other posts simply poke fun at the behind-the-scenes circus that is model castings, such as the featured one above, ridiculing Alexander Wang’s carefully honed “gothic-chanteuse-goes-to-Soul-Cycle-once” aesthetic.
Tommy Lenk isn’t creating fashion memes in the traditional sense, but the ex-Buffy actor is using his Instagram to solely mimic fashion magazines and copy outrageous catwalk looks, and needless to say, the results are hysterical. Lenks has recreated DIY looks from Balenciaga’s latest menswear collection to Björk’s iconic swan dress. He proves that all you need to be haute is a glue gun and copious amounts of trash.
Zoe Dubno’s signature sass sits inside the same meme-sphere as Youvegotnomale, and the two have even become a meme-dream team of sorts following a couple of Instagram meme collaborations. Yet what sets Zoe’s memes apart from her peers is the way in which she’ll effortlessly blend in personal, confessional updates while ingeniously commentating on the latest fashion week drama with unbridled zeal.
Bianca is a self-proclaimed “yung Dominican dilettante” and she’s perfected her very own pithy brand of humor. Her image macros of pop-cultural strata and eery stock footage are skillfully remixed into incisive memes with multiple layers of side-splitting, #relatable humor. Though many of Yung_Nihilist’s Instagram memes are darkly personal, she expands her target drag range from fashion to NYC’s art school clique and though a lot of her output requires you to understand the context, I can promise that you will not regret this follow.
Shannon, the self-described “former art hoe” might not be a fashion industry insider, but her wry take on fashion’s frivolity is sublime. She is also one of many feminist meme makers redefining they way in which women talk about themselves online. Her Instagram memes gleefully blur the line between highbrow and lowbrow, the obscure, familiar, and the esoteric. You’ll find a meme mocking “fuccbois” and “fashion week” right next to a critique of unequal power dynamics, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
- Cover Image: Siduations / Instagram