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CFDA Adds Instagrammer Award

For the first time, the Council of Fashion Designers of America will name a Fashion Instagrammer of the Year, to be selected from a group of eight nominees.

An image from CFDA Fashion Instagrammer of the Year nominee Pari Ehsan's @paridust account.

NEW YORK — Instagram is about to get some CFDA recognition — by way of a new award category that will see crowdsourced results.

For the first time, the Council of Fashion Designers of America will name a Fashion Instagrammer of the Year, to be selected from a group of eight nominees. They are @donalddrawbertson, @dapperlou, @aguynamedpatrick, @paridust, @troprouge, @amy_stone, @hokaytokay and @bessnyc4. The nominees were chosen by a CFDA committee comprised of industry insiders such as Rachel Zoe, The Coveteur’s Stephanie Mark and Editorialist’s Stefania Allen and Kate Davidson Hudson. Voting is open today through May 30 via cfda.com or by “liking” any images tagged #MyCFDA on Instagram. The winner will be revealed on cfda.com, Instagram and Facebook on May 30.

Although the winner won’t be getting a Trova onstage at the CFDA Awards on June 2 at Alice Tully Hall here, he or she will get to attend the ceremony and take over the group’s Instagram account for the evening — serving as the event’s official Instagram correspondent. Each Instagrammer will get to go behind the scenes with a fashion award nominee, documenting the experience along the way with the hashtag #MyCFDA.

Nominees and honorees for the event were revealed in March and include Marc Jacobs, Alexander Wang, Thom Browne, Joseph Altuzarra, Marcus Wainwright and David Neville of Rag & Bone, Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez of Proenza Schouler, Mary-Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen of The Row and Maxwell Osborne and Dao Yi Chow of Public School.

“Instagram has become the platform for visual expression in fashion because it’s quick, easy, accessible — it’s always with you. It’s enough of a category that they [the CFDA] want to take that trend and maximize it in some way,” Instagram cofounder Kevin Systrom told WWD.

To him, what makes a successful “fashion Instagrammer” is the ability to capture a moment in everyday life that is “as much filtered as it’s unfiltered. It’s not a produced moment that feels inauthentic,” he explained, pointing to Pari Ehsan’s account at @paridust as an example. Ehsan’s photos showcase her outfits alongside a corresponding piece of modern art — whether a painting or an elaborate 3-D installation.

As for the public voting aspect — another first for the CFDA Awards — Systrom said this goes hand-in-hand with the platform’s mantra of making fashion more accessible.  “Since we removed a lot of the traditional barriers to entry for creatives — [they] can sign up and amass an audience immediately — it was important this award take the same democratic approach and help us select the winner of the award,” he said. “It felt ‘Instagrammy’ to be more community-oriented versus selective committee-oriented. The community is our greatest asset and we wanted to make sure that was mirrored in the voting.”

Instagram was selected for this award — versus an overall social media award — because it’s enabled the CFDA to spot growing trends among its members, publishers and influencers, according to Steven Kolb, chief executive officer of the CFDA.

“Within at least the past six months, we’ve experienced the ever-growing influence of Instagram within fashion first-hand. Instagram has been a focal point for the industry as a whole and has quickly established itself as the go-to platform for fashion storytelling,” Kolb said. He added that for the CFDA specifically, Instagram has both the fastest growing following and highest engagement rate of all social platforms it’s present on.