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Conceptualising online space

An “Outfit of the day” picture is a category that has been favoured in Instagram, commonly abbreviated as OOTD and attached with a hashtag. OOTD pictures are pictures that showcase the attire that an individual is wearing on that day. The hashtag is a feature in Instagram, attaching the hashtag – #OOTD – enables the picture to be search by the public. The users can also pinpoint the location where the picture was taken. As we know in Brunei there are quite a number of professional OOTD-ers such as lipstickmyname, jeeradoesfashion, etc. that has followers by the thousands, followers whom they have the ability to influence using their pictures.

According to Union Metric (2014), Instagram is a place where numerous large, vibrant communities exist. The biggest communities are those involved in fashion and beauty, this is due to the “visual nature” of Instagram which provides a perfect outlet for its users to showcase their skills. It is also a meeting point in the virtual world where individuals with similar interest meet, this interactions builds a loyal relationship and led to the creation of these communities. This online interaction will not just stay online as they can meet each other through OOTD events (physical world) again such as Zahra Zamari and Lipstickmyname. The paper also emphasised on the importance of utilizing the hashtag to your advantage- to manipulate the traffic- to gain more followers and audience, it is especially useful when trying to promote yourself as a fashion influencer or when promoting an endorsed brand.

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Through Instagram, OOTD-ers has gained recognition and because they tend to have larger followings compare to store’s Instagram. Companies, especially physical apparel companies, see this as an opportunity to capitalise using their social media account. Also, as they are known with their fashion sense, they are offered endorsements deals for example Lipstickmyname was endorsed by Revolution Sneaker. In addition to being sponsored, they are also being paid to write reviews of certain products. Not just that, the more influential figures such as Lipstickmyname and Jeeradoesfashion are invited to KL and Jakarta fashion week where they are able to mingle with major players in fashion such as Fashionvalet CEO, Vivy Yusof. OOTD has therefore opened various doors of opportunities for its users.

Georgetown University (2010) mentioned that the establishment of such social media provides everyone the opportunity to “publish” what they want to the public. However, individuals who posted the pictures are also openly subjecting themselves to criticism from the public. This is when people can be physically affected from what they posted online. Union Metric (2014) also suggested that many views this type of pursuit as superficial by its audience which fuel further criticism, however, the production of these contents in reality involves a large amount of work, time and talent.

We can see the personalities of each OOTD-ers in the overall aesthetic of their main Instagram page for instance, Discofissh and Themayden opted for a grunge, contemporary look and Lipstickmyname conveys a more approachable, girls-next door type of identity. However, the clothing that people chose to wear can be a reflection how they want the society to perceive them which supports the study by Davis (1985) where he stated that clothing communicates symbolically how a person wants and seeks to appear in society. This shows that instead of dressing solely to convey their true identity, they actually dress in order to leave a good impressions and to manipulate others thought on them especially when they meet in physical world.

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According to Bourdieu (1984), clothing can define the class distinction as the clothing is related to their cultural capital and the positions of power. However, we might feel like we are not able to express our identity freely due to the order in this country that dictate what we wear and post on social media. As we all already know that dressing with modesty has been the ideological norms in this country. So we can see that the norms we practice in physical world can affect what we wanted to do in the online space.

Hristova (2014) talked about the ability of fashion to rejuvenate places, mentioning New York, Paris and Milan as the cities that have gained popularity as the fashion capital of the world. Tokyo and Sydney are also gaining more recognition due to fashion. As fashion is seen in history as activities done by the nobility, the area associated to it are also affected. In Brunei, we can see in how the OOTD-ers choose place as background for their picture. For example, if we realised that they are actually using everyday mundane spaces and are kind of actually ‘rebranding’ them as a ‘trendy’ place which make people unable to recognise the place such as burnt forest, door shutters, abandoned buildings, pedestrian bridge and stairwells. This shows how spaces in the physical world are importance to enhance the aesthetic appeal of their photograph in relation to their fashion before they posted it online.

In conclusion, we can see how online and offline space is actually kind of similar through the example of OOTD on Instagram. Similar as in how people are actually unintentionally do the same thing in both spaces. Also, we can see that OOTD is more than just a tag used in social media to showcase a person’s attire. From the hashtag alone, any individual can gain more followings and from then on they can use the followings to launch themselves to a bigger career path in the fashion industry that have not been seen in Brunei before. Hence, OOTD can impact Brunei in various unexpected ways, especially in terms of how places are perceived and utilised.

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