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Is There Still Hope for Instagram Live? An Editorial By Radflea

The Thread

Do you remember the good old days? No, not spring afternoons spent skidding through mud puddles on a Raleigh BMX with mag wheels and those step back pedal breaks. I’m talking about that short period of time when a few t-shirt nerds thought of some cool shit and tried something new- selling vintage on Instagram. It was exciting, it was profitable and it was better than arguing over Mario kart with whoever you were locked down with at the time. A new way to “come up” was to go live and flog your tees in an early-stage market that no one really understood yet. It was a time where a Genie tee could go for $6,000 and a random Twilight movie shirt would go for $300. Damn, it was special.

So how did we do it? 

Well i’m not going to name names or blow smoke up anyone’s bums, but a few hard working vintage heads went to Instagram’s “live stream” platform to host different types of t-shirt vending events. We saw auction shows, talk shows, live interviews, battles, and the infamous and most widely used and (somehow?) mildly controversial ‘Blind Bids.’ 

We found out quickly who was buying and who was selling and we certainly found out who was trolling(I’m still down for vintage boxing👀) We also found that some people were here to pass time and some were here to carve out a path for themselves. The pandemic had us hungry and that hunger seemed insatiable.. The problem is when we’re hungry we become desperate. And others started to see this desperation.

Already corporations like PopShop and WhatNot are throwing everything they have into the  market. All types of developers and suits are trying to grab a piece of the pie…. And you know who’s gonna feed it to them? Us.  I’m not slagging on those apps or anyone trying to get that bag, because believe me I work full time in vintage, we do what we gotta do to get in that rag (or whatever sources you’re trying your absolute hardest to crack). I’m merely saying everyone’s jumping ship for the next hot flip and we can feel it changing our daily source which has always been Instagram. Instagram feels different now. It feels like it’s almost in limbo. And I think the next year will probably decide whether it lives or dies for our community.

So what does that mean for Instagram lives?

Well- I’m not quite sure yet but I think that innovation from young creatives will lead to growth using the live stream functionality. I do not believe we have tapped the full potential and I have confidence in the idea that change is coming for the better. Vintage vendors are scrambling and now seems like a better time than ever to take advantage of the Instagram landscape while it’s rocky. The somewhat chaotic environment will allow some young creatives to really carve out a brand. There’s fresh faces, new ideas,  emerging styles, and people looking to build a name for themselves. Somebody’s gonna start that show you claimed you came up with if you don’t actually write it. So my advice as someone that spent countless hours and energy into building my own live program is this- 

You have to be able to make the jump from ideation to materialization. Simply put- you have to DO IT. So what if you have a good idea? It’s literally worthless unless you are able to act on it. Make a poster, make some promo, make some content you, your vendors and followers can all share. Say something real, kick bigots out of your chat, stand up for what you believe in, take care of your vendors, give back to your community, be grateful, be thoughtful, be forgiving, be an ally, be inclusive, be original, Be yourself and most importantly have fun. The live space isn’t dead…yet. I guess it’s just a deadstock black t-shirt. The question is are we gonna let it rot or are we gonna wash it out and see if we can’t still rock that shit til it’s thrashed and embodies something new?

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