The best alternative fashion critics to follow
These are the style-adjacent thinkers, theorists and commentators taking over TikTok and Instagram, providing us with hot takes on what looks good and why.
There was once a time when fashion critics were so influential that a bad review could see them banned from shows (such as The New York Times’ Cathy Horyn who was banned from an Armani show in 2008). Back then, fashion commentary was, by and large, limited to the pages of magazines and newspapers, FashionTV and, later on, online blogs. These days, though, critics are part of a much bigger ecosystem of online chatter, where a TikTok video can spark as much debate as anything published in print – and can reach millions more.
Enter: a new generation of fashion critics, theorists, commentators and historians. Using TikTok, YouTube and Instagram, these thinkers are providing analysis of fashion moments, from viral shows to scene-stealing red carpet looks, big billboards to celebrity selfies, for the very online. Here are five accounts to follow in the new year to keep up with trends, style, news – and gossip.
For a modern history lesson in Y2K style
Kim Russell, aka The Kimbino, started her Instagram account in 2015. Eight years later, she’s racked up 157k followers, including Precious Lee and Julia Fox. That’s because she has an encyclopaedic knowledge of fashion, with the ability to recognise – and call out – a design’s references, or the season that a celebrity’s vintage outfit is from. Specialising in the Y2K era, she’s a must-follow for anyone who also has that as a Depop search term.
Style Not Com
For up-to-the-minute fashion news
This Instagram account, set up by Beka Gvishiani in 2021, is less about reviewing shows and more about bulletins. With a format designed for the attention economy, Gvishiani posts text slides that tell you all you need to know in fashion news at any given moment. It allows you to feel informed in microseconds. Never shady, always posi, The Business of Fashion called the account the “Anti-Diet Prada”.
Mandy Lee aka @oldloserinbrooklyn
For quick-fire trend analysis from a real-life pro
One of the biggest names in trend analysis TikTok, Mandy Lee’s Old Loser in Brooklyn account is so influential that it basically brought back the early-’00s indie sleaze trend after she posted a video about it in October 2021. Lee, who is a professional trend analyst, still posts videos, with takes on everything from the colour of the year to classics in the trend cycles, while also giving us a look inside her own wardrobe – and each video can be swallowed in a handy gulp.
Rian Phin aka @thatadult
For deep thoughts on serious style
A kind of professor of TikTok, Phin comes from the thinky side of fashion. Her videos might get you contemplating the politics of haul videos, how bad taste makes good taste and even – in a very meta move – how online discussion of fashion, just like that of their TikTok videos, now influences and affects what we actually wear. You can also dig in deeper with her reading list.
For honest takes on the fashion industry
Odunayo Ojo describes his YouTube videos as “fashion content explaining various aspects of the fashion industry in a digestible form.” The journalist (and Central Saint Martins student) does this through weekly videos that take no prisoners, covering everything from Christian Dior being “overrated” to the democratisation of fashion and the eye-watering prices of recent collaborations. Pass the popcorn.
Alexandra Hildreth aka @guyfieri.superfan
For hot takes from a fashion journalist
A mix of thoughts on current debates in fashion (see: the Balenciaga scandal) to deeper analysis on why we wear the clothes we do, Hildreth makes lo-fi TikTok videos (her wardrobe is often seen in the background) that make you think that little bit harder and also keep you clicking. She’s also a fashion journalist, writing for Paper and Showstudio and her videos are strangely addictive.