2020 truly changed how we used social media. As in-person events closed down and many stayed indoors, Instagram became a way to connect. It was also not only a way to stay informed but a form of escapism. Each movement and moment of 2020—from lockdowns to digital fashion shows—we saw much of it filtered through Instagram.
Fears that lockdown would stifle creativity and photoshoots were quickly dashed. Bella Hadid posed editorials virtually and posted a series of styled selfies from her family’s farm, which showed that she was still living and breathing fashion. In Paris, Chanel’s fit model Amanda Sanchez gave us the full, chic lowdown of how she was doing while staying at home and far from the atelier, and showed us that style doesn’t have to fade even while staying remote. As for the Colombian-Canadian singer Tei Shi? The crooner took pleasure in the little things, like a bit of Palo Santo and some comfy slippers, still appearing as dreamy as ever.
Beginning in March, face coverings were inescapable online and IRL. Many took their PPE and turned them into an extension of their personal style. We saw Naomi Osaka strut through Dumbo, New York with her sister while wearing a Tupac hoodie and a toothy mask, while all the way in Italy, model Mariacarla Boscono wore full paisley print PPE, including pink plastic gloves and a heavy-duty mask.
In the summer, during Black Lives Matter protests, many creatives used clothing to send a message. One that stood out was a T-shirt by Los Angeles-based designer Chaise Dennis of Pinnacle Pins. It was titled, “The Beautiful Black Man” and featured the portraits of three Black men. Dennis told Vogue, “It’s about the celebration of Black men and all their beauty visually and intellectually even in a time of sadness and uncertainty.”
Political fashion continued throughout the election. Celebrities took to Instagram to get the message out: go vote! One standout look was from Lizzo, who modeled a flag print top. She captioned this get-up with: “Auntie Sam realness – RECLAIMING MY TIME MY COUNTRY MY RIGHTS.”
And of course, there were just some really great outfits. Hari Nef celebrated her birthday in a slinky silk slip dress, which made her look almost as if she were plucked out of a renaissance painting. Cardi B gave us a fashion show, strutting along her porch in a preppy look complete with a kicky Burberry plaid print skirt and beret. Halsey flexed her style muscles in her backyard in a Sailor Moon-inspired pink get-up, and model-actress Barbie Ferreira showed off a stained-glass style dress by Ottolinger. And who could forget Dua Lipa, who had a streak of wearing head-turning prints by Richard Quinn.
But the most heart-warming moment? Seeing how people joined forces. Vogue’s January cover star Paloma Elsesser joined her crew of stylish friends at Brooklyn’s McGolrick Park to serve food and raise money for a new fridge for the LES Community Fridge, a program that stocks fresh and free food in a fridge on 466 Grand Street in New York. It is a stellar example for others to follow, and shows how easily friends can connect to do something great. Coming together has never looked better.
Here, see more of the best fashion Instagrams of the year.