Hashtags here to stay in world of design

Hashtags here to stay in world of design
Thanks to the emergence of social media and its rapid spread, the world has shrunk to a small screen on your laptop. You’re not just up to speed with what’s happening within your social circle but also anywhere in the world wide web. It has generated a big buzz across industries and sectors, but the biggest impact has been in showbiz and fashion.

Ask any fashion follower and she will give you real time updates as things unfold — from collections showcased by our designers in fashion weeks in Mumbai and Delhi, right up to the runways of Paris, New York, Milan or London. In fact, these days, behind the scenes, fittings, rehearsals and everything in between, is out there on social media. It is a treat for fashion followers and a strategic advantage to the brand to communicate their entire story right from conceptualisation to application to end result. One of the important tools of the social media are hashtags (#) which have changed it all.

Hashtag is like a community in itself where with an image, one just type keywords like fashion, style, fashion week, colour, embroidery etc and that image becomes a part of a gallery which has images of all other users who have typed the same keywords. It is more of a visual treat to experience than a theoretical line of explanation, but it is magical. From a designer’s point of view, I can tell you that it gives us a huge high we when we see new followers, likes and comments after posting an image. For example, I have always been an admirer of designer Anamika Khanna, and I was able to check out her new couture collection that she showcased at her Kolkata studio just by following the FDCI on Instagram. Similarly, what is happening around the build-up of Lakme fashion week is so easily accessible through Instagram and Facebook.

Clearly, hashtags have given a new horizon to the world of search engines by adding breathtaking pictures and quotes that were not there before. One may argue the downside of it, which is that now the communication is non-filtered and sometimes gets very personal. Especially when one reads some of the comments that some followers make on pictures. Like it happened at a recent fashion week where some very offensive remarks were made on a senior designer’s collection. Not just that, the comments were downright disgusting and targeted her personally. Commenting on someone’s work or creativity is fine, but it should not get into someone’s personal life. I know that designer well and I can only imagine how hurt she and her family must have been to see such disgraceful things posted on her page.

Still, I would say, despite such drawbacks, hashtag is a new tool that has not just created a big buzz as of now but is all set for a long innings in the future. What is needed to be put in place are some checks and balances which will ensure that there is no abusive activity on the site. Once that is sorted, hashtag will see an even bigger hype in the days to come.

(The writer is a Delhi-based fashion designer)

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