30 Fashion Brands Killing It on Instagram (And What You Can Learn From Them)

Instagram has become the premier playground for fashion brands looking to grow their audience and sales. With over 1 billion monthly users and 90% of accounts following at least one business, the platform offers unparalleled access to potential customers who are eager to discover and engage with style content.

But in a sea of designer labels and indie upstarts, it can be hard to stand out from the crowd. The most successful fashion brands on Instagram have cracked the code for consistently serving up scroll-stopping content that delights users while driving real business results.

In this post, we‘ve rounded up 30 fashion and apparel brands of all sizes that are crushing the Instagram game. From their stunning visual aesthetics to their savvy growth tactics, these brands offer a masterclass in effective Instagram marketing. Let‘s dive in and unpack what makes them so great.

Lesson 1: Nail Your Niche

The best fashion brands on Instagram have a keen understanding of their target customer and the style niche they are claiming. Whether it‘s minimalist luxury basics or wildly patterned streetwear, every post and partnership ladders up to a cohesive brand identity.

Take the sustainable activewear brand Girlfriend Collective, for instance. Its Instagram content is a pitch perfect embodiment of its earth-toned, ethically-produced athleisure niche. From photos of diverse models wearing its signature leggings in serene outdoor settings to educational posts about its recycled fabrics, every touchpoint reinforces Girlfriend‘s eco-friendly ethos.

The takeaway? Before you craft an Instagram strategy, make sure you have clarity on your fashion brand‘s unique positioning and point of view. Then use that north star to inform everything you post. Delivering consistent on-brand content will help you attract and retain followers who share your style sensibility and values.

Lesson 2: Create Killer Product Showcases

At the end of the day, successful fashion brands use Instagram to sell their products. But the key is to elevate product shots beyond basic flat-lays or in-studio images to create immersive brand experiences.

One brand that does this with aplomb is the luxury Italian label Gucci. Under the creative direction of Alessandro Michele, Gucci‘s Instagram has transformed into an avant-garde digital destination. Products are displayed in ornate, fantastical settings that transport you to Michele‘s whimsical world.

While you may not have a Gucci-sized budget, you can still apply the same principles. Brainstorm unexpected, visually-arresting ways to showcase your products that communicate your brand story. Whether you shoot on-location in a dreamy cafe that embodies your romantic aesthetic or style your items alongside quirky props that hint at your sense of humor, the goal is to make your product posts feel like portals into your brand universe.

Lesson 3: Embrace Instagram‘s Shoppable Features

Instagram has rolled out a slew of features that make it easy for users to shop in-app, and top fashion brands are taking full advantage. 130 million Instagram accounts tap on a shopping post to learn more about products every month – a huge opportunity to turn casual followers into customers.

Revolve is one brand that excels at Instagram shopping. The retailer uses product tags liberally, both on its own posts and on user-generated content (more on that later). It also has several shoppable Instagram Stories Highlights on its profile, curated by category. The "New This Week" Highlight, for instance, lets followers easily browse and buy the latest arrivals.

To maximize shoppability, make like Revolve and abide by these best practices:

  • Enable Shopping in your Instagram business settings
  • Tag products in feed posts whenever applicable
  • Create shoppable Stories Highlights that update frequently
  • Set up an Instagram Shop that showcases your products in themed collections

The easier you make it for followers to go from inspiration to purchase, the more likely you are to drive sales directly from Instagram.

Lesson 4: Partner With Relevant Influencers

Fashion brands have been at the forefront of influencer marketing on Instagram, and for good reason. 79% of consumers say they trust the recommendations of their favorite influencers as much as they do their real-world friends.

One brand that has long leveraged the power of influencers is fast-fashion retailer Revolve. In addition to consistently reposting influencer content on its own feed, the brand regularly hosts elaborate #RevolveAroundTheWorld trips, inviting top style bloggers to document their adventures decked out in Revolve clothing. The strategy has helped Revolve grow its Instagram following to over 5 million and drive significant online sales.

The key to successful influencer campaigns is authenticity. Seek out credible tastemakers and content creators that embody your brand vibe. Set clear guidelines in terms of content expectations, but give them the creative freedom to showcase your products in a way that feels native to their own feed.

When followers see an influencer they admire interacting with your brand in a genuine way, they are more likely to check you out. Just be sure to disclose sponsored content to stay FTC-compliant.

Lesson 5: Encourage User-Generated Content

Fashion lends itself perfectly to user-generated content (UGC). After all, what style-obsessed Instagram user doesn‘t love showing off their latest outfit? Brands that encourage followers to post photos of themselves wearing their products can exponentially increase their reach and credibility.

A great example is the Australian label Spell & The Gypsy Collective. Spell reposts customer photos on its own feed constantly, showcasing its flowy, feminine dresses and rompers on a diverse range of body types and skin tones. It uses branded hashtags like #SpellDesigns to make UGC easy to discover. Seeing such an inclusive variety of real women wearing the brand inspires followers to imagine how they too can incorporate Spell‘s dreamy pieces into their own wardrobes.

To generate a steady stream of UGC, develop a branded hashtag and actively promote it in your bio, captions, and Stories. Respond enthusiastically when followers use it, and regularly repost your favorite on-brand pics to your feed (with credit, of course). Run periodic hashtag contests to incentivize posting. Over time, you‘ll build a community of passionate brand ambassadors creating authentic content on your behalf.

Lesson 6: Go Behind-The-Scenes

Instagram Stories and Reels provide the perfect opportunity to bring followers behind the scenes of your fashion brand for an extra dose of intimacy and intrigue. Aim to capture content that offers a unique glimpse into your world, sparking genuine interest and connection.

Luxury designer Chanel is one brand that uses ephemeral content to give followers an inside look at its rarefied universe. Recent Stories have featured everything from clips of sewing machines in action at the atelier to celebrities preparing for the red carpet decked in Chanel gowns. The effect is a tantalizing peek behind the curtain that deepens followers‘ affinity for the brand.

While you might not have a couture workshop or A-list fans to showcase, you can still invite your audience into your brand story. Walk them through your design process, introduce them to the personalities on your team, take them along to photoshoots or trade shows. The goal is to forge an emotional bond by allowing them to discover the real people and experiences that make your brand special.

Lesson 7: Don‘t Sleep on Reels

Fashion brands are getting increasingly creative with Instagram‘s latest video format, Reels. The short, snackable clips are perfect for jumping on trending sounds and style challenges in a playful way.

One standout example is the LA-based vintage brand Tunnel Vision. Tunnel Vision consistently posts Reels showing its groovy, retro-inspired pieces in action – models twirling in 70s prairie dresses, colorblock windbreakers blowing in the breeze. The lo-fi, uber-cool vibe is a pitch-perfect encapsulation of the brand‘s "Yesterday‘s Styles, Today‘s Trends" tagline.

Even if you don‘t have Tunnel Vision‘s videographer budget, you can still use Reels to bring your brand personality to life. Hop on viral dances or memes and give them your own flair. Create how-to styling videos showcasing ways to wear your latest collection. Record slo-mo clips revealing fun details shoppers might miss in still photos. With a bit of creativity, Reels can add a dynamic new dimension to your feed.

Bringing It All Together

Ultimately, the fashion brands slaying the Instagram game have one key thing in common: a distinctive brand voice and visual language that converts casual followers into devoted brand fans.

Use the lessons above to define your own lane and POV. Arm yourself with a strong understanding of your niche, a focus on creating immersive product showcases, savvy use of Instagram‘s built-in shopping features, and a commitment to forging real community through influencer partnerships, UGC, and behind-the-scenes glimpses.

Most importantly, treat every post as an opportunity to reinforce your brand universe. From the props and settings in your styled shoots to the tone of voice in your captions, every detail should ladder up to a cohesive brand story that ignites your target customer‘s desire and loyalty.

Do that consistently, and you‘ll be well on your way to joining the ranks of the fashion brands that have built thriving communities, and businesses, on Instagram.