Five to Follow: My Insta-Squad

Professor does the assignment! Every semester, my students at the Academy of Art University are asked to share their top five social media sources of fashion content. Beyond the predictable Kardashian-Jenner spectrum and the requisite @diet_prada, we discover fresh voices and perspectives. Typically, I post my list in discussions. This time, I decided to submit my assignment for y’all proper. I fall for people with commitment to their own vision of beauty and justice, not “influencers du jour”. In fact, the combined follower count of my “squad” is under a million. Its impact? Infinite! Gods bless Marie Kondo, these Instagram accounts sure bring me joy:

Sissi Johnson @asksissi

My fellow fashion prof un-teaching all around the world, Sissi serves show-stopping glamour looks and legit history fact-checking in equal measure. Her Insta-stories classroom is like, the future of education…. I chose this pic at the magnificent City of Arts & Sciences designed by the visionary Calatrava in Valencia ’cause in my hall of fame Sissi is monumental.

Louis Pisano @louispisano

A fellow Gemini, Louis could burn the Milanese dance floor until dawn and then read any fashion industry wrong-doers for their life at breakfast! Not a frequent post poster, it’s all happening in his insta-stories. Fair warning, the swing from mega-fun to dead-serious can give you a fabulous whiplash. Proceed with caution, but do proceed!

ALOK @alokvmenon

Alok is a gender non-conforming artivist and flat-out the most color-savvy dresser I’ve ever e-met. Just the visuals on their account are akin to daily art therapy. The educational component (ok, it’s a theme, I can’t help myself!) is on point. From Texas to Maharashtra and in-between, this is a style-forward guide to fierce living!

Maria Alandarenko @pattidifyza

In my birthplace of Rostov-on-Don, Maria owns the indie fashion scene with her city-first concept store and an impossibly trendy wine bar. I stalk her stories as an admirer of her style and entrepreneurship. We share a passion for Spanish wine(s) and all things Berlin. Whenever I hear of someone “living their best life”, I think of Maria!

Doha Fashion Fridays @dohafashionfridays

This brilliant account chronicles personal style of migrant workers in Qatar who are toiling at its 2022 World Cup infrastructure projects. Think, Humans of New York meets authentic streetstyle photography. There are no paid-for it-bags here, just stories of home, dreams, subversive hairstyles and defiant accessories. This is FASHION to me.

Now, two bonus accounts for schools where I have the privilege of teaching fashion iconography, fashion PR and fashion criticism. San Francisco + Paris = Heart. Both offer  behind the scenes looks, cool special projects and great alumni updates!

Academy of Art University / School of Fashion @academyufashion

International Fashion Academy @ifaparis

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