2

Kate (@katetik) has 208k Instagram followers and Isabel (@isabel.alexander), 106k followers, which together means they are influencing over 300,000 women around the world with their fabulous Fashion taste and style ideas. Isabel’s excellent knowledge is particularly highly regarded in the petite fashion sector, while Kate is famous for her focus on lifestyle fashion. In this interview, they shared some useful and innovative tips on how to effectively use Instagram and stunned us with some stylish secrets while revealing their plans for the future.

Global online fashion influencers

Sabina: Can you tell me when did you realised that you've become a global online fashion influencer?

Kate: "I think when I was featured in Vogue.com ‘street-style’ over New York Fashion Week (NYFW), a little over a year ago, that was a definite defining moment for me."

Isabel: "I don’t like to think of myself as an ‘influencer’ really.

I think it is such a pretentious and diluted word, especially today. I did, however, have an ‘AHA’ moment when I realised that I had the powerful ability to inspire others. I answered questions about styling and what I thought about particular outfits. I felt empowered but also responsible."

Who inspired you to become a style inspiration to many women out there?

Kate: "To this day one of my biggest fashion inspirations is Olivia Palermo. I love her elegant yet edgy style, how she is not afraid to mix prints and textures to elevate her outfits but still always looking so ‘well put together’".

Isabel: "I’ve always had fashion in my blood. When I was three I was already tip-toeing in my mum’s high heels and I would start as early as 6:00 am. Clearly, the fashion bug was an early one and she did not appreciate it much especially on Sundays.

I was born in the former USSR where there wasn’t access to fashion. Then I moved to Romania where I spend most of my teen years soaking in uncensored Madonna and the all the attitude of the supermodels of the time, like Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell walking on George Michael’s song Freedom! etc. I thought that was the golden age of fashion. When I came to the United States and discovered Instagram and the world of blogging, together with so many interesting fashion bloggers like @mikuta and @negin_mirsalehi, both of whom I found hugely inspiring, I was hooked."

Secrets for a better Instagram feed

What secret would you reveal to the Instagram users how to make a better Instagram feed?

Kate: "Be consistent, whether it’s with your aesthetic, how often you post, your style and images need to be cohesive so you have a signature that your followers can recognise. For photography, lighting is key. I love shooting during the golden hour as it gives you the best warm glow.

Also, VSCO filters are a lifesaver to enhance pictures and make your feed look consistent; I love A4, A6 and J5."

Isabel: "I think that great clear pictures are important, and that goes without saying, but Instagram has become such a curated medium now that a lot of people overlook the obvious: the content. And what I mean by that is the inherent value of your actual content. Before posting another pretty picture, does your content provide an actual value to your audience? Of course, it is also important to have a visually consistent theme but a beautiful feed without a strong content is not enough anymore. You need to have both. For a strong content, you need to do some serious soul searching and it is a very personal and labour-intensive endeavor. But if you are interested in a beautiful and consistent feed, there are different free and paid collage apps such as Layout and Planoly to manage and plan ahead your next nine posts to see how they will look in your feed. That’s especially important if you are a blogger. For editing, I recommend using apps like Lightroom and Facetune 2. I use Lightroom to lighten up my pictures and Facetune 2 to remove imperfections – but only when needed. I find that the least ‘special effects’ you use, the better. Shooting in natural and even light is also the best."

How to get more followers

How can Instagram users get more followers?

Kate: "Working with brands that you love and that are true to your style will naturally get you the exposure among your desired audience, especially when you are re-posted by them. Cross promotion is another strategy that has accelerated many an influencer, as you can reap the benefits of added exposure to each other’s followers."

Isabel: "My best advice for someone today to get followers is to have a very unique voice and content. The blogosphere is so saturated today that it is especially important to have a very unique point of view to stand out. To that I would only add what I have also mentioned earlier: have a visually consistent feed and post consistently and don’t give up too early. It takes time to become an expert, so, you are looking at 2-3 years to becoming and expert and beginning to work with great brands. It is always different for everyone and it also depends on your niche and how strategic you are about your collaborations in the beginning. Before you partner with brands you need to earn the trust of your followers and later you need to constantly work at keeping it intact. Flooding your feed with cheap products you don’t use will not earn you the respect of your followers. This is especially important for the new bloggers."

What are your best and future projects to date?

Kate: "A very exciting moment was definitely seeing my face projected over skyscrapers in Manhattan for Wyeth Eyewear, which subsequently led to another States-wide wild posting campaign. I love having long-lasting partnerships with brands where we can both grow together and create something special."

Isabel: "I can’t say that I have one specific favourite project. I approach projects with passion and I always have fun. Although I have transitioned recently to full-time blogging, my approach to blogging and styling is to not make it 100% my job. And by that, I mean to not beat the passion out of it because then I will have turned my passion into a job and you always hate your job, right? Then I would have to find another passion. And I don’t want to do that. Fashion, styling, blogging is what I do and who I am and I want to keep it that way."