May 30, 2019 | By Louise Squire
Dec 11, 2017
Instagram is first and foremost a visual medium, a place where you are used to seeing more images than text. Pantone coloured walls? Check. Avocado toast? Check. Fashion branded clothing flatlay? Check. So, it has been exciting then to witness a break from this norm. Over the last few years now Instagram has started to become a place were the written word is celebrated. Poetry in particular has found its voice on the platform, and increasingly it’s become the launch pad for poetry book deals, and creative brand collaborations. Brands are moving away from working with top-tier fashion influencers in the bid to seem more authentic. We’re seeing forward-thinking fashion as well lifestyle and interiors brands team up with these poets to offer their consumer something cooler, and more real. Below we showcase how one high profile poet is using her creativity for good, and being discerning about only accepting meaningful collaborations.
Born in New Orleans, 28-year-old Cleo Wade now calls New York home. A poet, artist and storyteller, Wade has 300k followers and a 2.91% engagement rate. Her words are anchored in positivity and purpose, as she stands up for causes she feels strongly about from Black Lives Matter to gender equality. Unlike most high profile Instagram influencers she is not afraid to speak her mind, and use her platform to talk about politics, rather than shy away from the topic for fear of alienating potential brands looking for partnerships. Her authenticity makes her even more appealing to forward thinking brands.
Wade has been profiled in NY magazine’s fashion publication The Cut, has given a TED talk and writes for Teen Vogue.
Based on the success of her Instagram account, which showcases her poetry, her first book, Heart Talk, is set to hit the shelves in 2018 (in time for international women’s day).
At the end of last year she teamed up with fashion designer Maria Cornejo on a capsule collection stocked at Barneys celebrating New Orleans. In time for this year’s holiday season she has just realised a crockery collection called Love, Cleo with NY store Fishs Eddy.
These collaborations make sense for her, they appeal to her broad audience of fans, from fashion to homeware. It also makes sense that she’s working with retail outlets based in her new adopted home of New York first.
We noted in our report Campaign Trends: Poetic Inspiration that between 1992 and 2012 the US saw a 10.3% decline in adult poetry readers – thanks to influencers like Wade, the medium is now attracting a large and diverse audience from across the globe. Look out for more from this key influencer and a rising number of poets in the coming year.
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