There’s no denying the increasing impact that Instagram and its most creative users are having on the fashion industry. With blogging now a certified career, stylists, photographers and content creators are using the platform as their main source of communication, inspiration and income, which means that becoming an influencer isn’t just an option for those who live in capital cities.
Marta Lungo from @thestylethesaurus calls Manchester home, and she’s proving that location needn’t play a part in the success of an account. Posting images taken in her back garden and focusing solely on her outfits, she’s established a strong style aesthetic without the added allure of an aspirational lifestyle. Truly relatable and living proof that you don’t need to eat breakfast at The Ivy every day to make it work, her account celebrates blogging in its most authentic form. Culture Trip asks her how she’s making Manchester work for her in a market that’s saturated with city hoppers and the travel obsessed.
Culture Trip: What does being a fashion influencer mean to you?
Marta Lungo: To me, an influencer is someone who dares to be different, who is comfortable in their own skin and who inspires others. You have to be confident in your look, regardless of whether people like it or not. Bright colour is key to my style aesthetic which is something that I don’t think a lot of people feel that they can pull off. I like to remind people that they can look good in anything as long as they feel comfortable in it.
CT: What sets Mancunian style apart from that in other European cities?
ML: Manchester is big on vintage and I love it. There’s an area called the Northern Quarter which is full of vintage stores and it’s amazing – I’d recommend it as a shopping destination to anyone. Spinningfields is another inspiring area and Gay Village is absolutely beautiful; it’s full of colour and vitality. My style is modern and bold and I take a lot of influence from these places.
CT: What makes Manchester work for you in terms of creating fashion content?
ML: Manchester has been my home for 12 years and I can’t imagine living anywhere else so it’s always been the base for my content. It’s true that there aren’t as many opportunities for women trying to work in the industry as there are in London, but I would never trade it. I think as long as my creativity is present within my shots, I could be anywhere in the world.
CT: You have a very distinctive photography style. How important do you think it is to stand out on Instagram?
ML: I’ll take that as a compliment, thank you! I didn’t study photography or take a course because I couldn’t afford it, and I didn’t have anyone to advise me on how things should be done, so I just taught myself. I still wouldn’t call myself an expert by any means, but I have fun editing pictures. I always wanted to work in fashion, so two years ago I decided to launch my Instagram page instead of chasing opportunities that weren’t working out. I knew fashion was where I wanted to be whether someone gave me a chance or I made that chance for myself.
CT: How much does travel play a part in your content?
ML: I love travelling but it doesn’t play a big part in my content, which I like because it gives me the freedom to actually enjoy my holiday! I have lived in a lot of different countries and I’m really attached to my birth country, Angola. I also love Portugal, Brazil and France and I think that my passion for Latino music influences my style choices, too.
CT: Do you adapt your style when you travel?
ML: I am a very minimalist traveller. I usually only go to places for three days maximum as I get bored quite quickly, so I don’t pack much. A backpack is usually enough but I won’t go anywhere without jeans because they work whatever the weather. I also love a simple white t-shirt and I always take a jumper. I’m more about practicality than style when it comes to travelling.
CT: Do you have any key shoot locations and how did you find them?
ML: Manchester isn’t a fancy city. There are some lovely locations but I feel shy shooting in front of people and it can be hard to find ‘insta-friendly’ places, so when you do, they’re always packed. That said, I decided to work with what I have – a lovely back garden. That’s where I shoot most of my looks. It’s simple but it works for me.
CT: Where would your ideal shoot location be and why?
ML: I would love to shoot in California one day. I absolutely love having a blue sky as a backdrop. I’ve just moved house and I now have a lot of beautiful open fields and (sometimes) a blue sky which works well.
CT: What is the main message that you hope to convey within your work?
ML: Whatever your age, size or shape you can always pull off an outfit as long as you love it. You just need to find what suits you. I have always been thin, for example, and in some African cultures it’s not seen as an attractive trait. I had to grow up with that label but I’ve embraced it and I’ve made it work for me.
CT: Who do you think is doing the job of fashion influencer particularly well and why?
ML: There are so many people in the industry that I admire and they all inspire me in different ways. Tamu McPherson and Chrissy Rutherford are incredible at what they do and Margaret Zhang’s creativity is something to be admired. I think that Freddie Harrel is completely true to herself and that’s a beautiful thing, as well.