Like moths to a flame, 15 Instagram users huddle closely beside a bright screen during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, admiring the square Instagram photos and videos displayed on the wide horizontal screen inside New York City’s Lincoln Center.
Kat Irlin, arms stretched above her head, pats one of the pictures with both hands. She’s one of the 15 women that Lucky magazine selected to participate in this fashion-inspired InstaMeet.InstaMeets are events happening globally where Instagrammers meet each other, share photography advice and create content together to post on their personal feeds.
Irlin enters a makeup room and finds a seat on a wooden stool. She poses, while fellow Instagram user Paige Wilber captures a portrait of her. Around them, the other women are flexing their creative juices, finding new angles to photograph themselves in mirrors or the space that’s often reserved for fashion models and makeup crews.
I’ve made so many good friends at InstaMeets
I’ve made so many good friends at InstaMeets.”
Though a brand spearheaded this #LuckyInstaMeet, as it’s known in hashtag form, many InstaMeets are organized organically by Instagram users with hefty followings. Irlin, for example, has more than 255,000 followers on her @kat_in_nycaccount and has set up InstaMeets to rally Instagrammers in NYC.
InstaMeet participants, who usually are photographing the same subject or environment, try hard to find new ways to display what they’re seeing. When four well-known models stood in front of the 15 Instagram users on Thursday, Wilber cropped her photo to only show off half of one model’s body and a flower instead of posting a simple group shot of the models.
“It’s nice when you can meet your followers who then become friends,” Eva Chen, Lucky’seditor-in-chief, told Mashable. “You know, a few weeks ago I was on the Instagram/Facebook campus and they were like, ‘We’ve never done a fashion InstaMeet,’ so my brain exploded and I thought we had to do something… So today, we have models, accessories, runways — it’s the best of the Instagram fashion world all in one place.”
Instagram doesn’t have exact stats on how many InstaMeets have occurred, but a spokesperson noted that on MeetUp.com there are 1,800 Instagram communities in 1,500 cities worldwide. Additionally, the Instagram team occasionally designates a weekend to encourage users globally to take part in a themed InstaMeet.
Aside from Lucky magazine, which partnered with IMG Fashion and Instagram to organize the Fashion Week event, other brands and organizations have created InstaMeets.
The White House threw a Fall Garden InstaMeet in 2013:
The National Zoo set up a #ZooMeet InstaMeet, granting access to panda cub Bao Bao:
Twenty-five Instagram users got to meet Indonesia’s first lady for an InstaMeet: