Kevin Systrom is an American entrepreneur best known as the co-founder and chief executive of Instagram, the photo-sharing, social network application that even the most social media allergic in the fashion industry are addicted to.
From first-mover mega-brands like Burberry and pioneering image-makers like Nick Knight , to models-of-the-moment Cara Delevingne and fast-scaling retailers like Nasty Gal , Instagram has taken off significantly in the fashion industry. “I think that Instagram as a visual platform just fits very naturally with how the fashion community communicates its work,” Systrom explained to BoF.
The app has proved to be a powerful marketing tool for brands, providing relatable content, show coverage and extensive brand exposure. Instagram was awarded the CFDA Eugenia Sheppard Award in 2015. Its mobile platform also makes it highly convenient for on-the-go fashion professionals, enabling them to attend and share events with their virtual followers in tow.
The rise of Instagram has even changed the way in which fashion shows are documented, influencing the collections themselves. “The way that we shoot it, the way that we showcase it and the way that we make the clothes and design them changed.” Alexander Wang told The New York Times, discussing Instagram’s impact on the industry.
Systrom was introduced to computer programming whilst attending school in Concord, Massachusetts, having played computer games as a child. He graduated in 2006 from Stanford University, and during his degree he was chosen to participate in the highly prestigious Mayfield Fellows Programme. This led to an internship at Odea, the company that gave rise to Twitter.
After stints at Google and Nextstop (a location recommendation start-up) Systrom created Burbn with the intention to combine location check-ins and social games. After pitching the idea at a party he received $500,000 seed funding within 2 weeks. The creation of Burbn led to Instagram. A month after launching, Instagram had grown to 1 million users, and within 18 months it had gone from nascent start-up to a $1 billion acquisition by Facebook.