Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Leeds chapter.

Matilda Djerf, the Instagram ‘it girl’ and arguably the blueprint for thousands of successful influencers, is now facing one of the latest threats of cancel culture. 

Amassing 3.1 million Instagram followers to date, the Swedish fashion blogger is a worldwide phenomenon and inspiration; her social media fame has seemingly been attracted by a stunningly aesthetic feed, a beautiful wardrobe, and the most endearing thing of all – herself. 

Matilda has consistently, since her Instagram launch in 2016, branded herself as a warm, open, inclusive person, expressing her struggles with eating disorders in particular, and ensuring her brand reflected her strong views on beauty being all sizes. Perhaps this is what Djerf Avenue truly owed its success to – the element of feeling included, loved and heard. The 631,000 followers the Djerf Avenue page currently has have seen some uniqueness, some glow of attraction in the brand, and in Matilda herself. Priding itself on ethically-produced clothing, the bio reading that the garments are produced in Portugal, Sweden and Italy, all aspects of the brand check out to be quite wonderful, and aware of the world racing around it. 

Until now. Djerf’s clothing has been labeled as ‘elevated basics’, essentially nabbing the typical garments we wear in daily life (on a shopping spree, to work, to brunch), and transforming it into something incredibly chic, and desirable. Even the famous ‘forever blazer gray’ has some sort of shine to its oversized frame – completely, effortlessly put-together, as Matilda is. Buying from this brand is almost like buying pieces of Matilda’s sophisticated, bright nature and pushing your arms through it, doing up the buttons. She is, quite simply, this influential. 

Djerf Avenue is now worth an estimated $34.5 million. In 2022, the New York Times made a calculated prediction that revenue for that very year would amass to around $22 million – Djerf Avenue, since 2019, has become a multi-million-dollar empire. Though, it is difficult to find these figures gasp-worthy, if you have already gotten over the initial shock of the garment’s prices. 

As many will have spotted somewhere across the For You or Explore page, the viral ‘breezy shirt’ was sought after all Summer long, and is priced at £99 GDP. Alongside this, the ‘slow fruit’ pyjama set, its pattern cropping up across plenty of different Djerf pieces, totals at £108 GDP. Still flying far below the unachievable (for many) prices of luxury designer brands, for a brand grown and nurtured from an Instagram account with a target audience attracted to inclusivity and ‘basics’ in terms of clothing, it seems logical that they might flounder at the sight of these prices. 

This contradiction has, during the brand’s launch and sky-rocket to fame, been brushed under an extremely pretty, aesthetic rug. Across Tiktok and Instagram, creators have taken to post videos showcasing their Djerf Avenue purchases, delighted with the quality and the aesthetic. Delighted that they look somewhat like Matilda Djerf as they power-walk through the city shopping, or breeze into work after sleeping soundly in their ‘slow fruit’ pjs. They are one item closer to building their dream wardrobe, and they have shared this with the world. 

With the adoration Matilda and her brand receive, it came as a shock, then, as claims calling for cancellation rose in early October. 

Screenshot Media, ELLE Australia and The Cut are some of the many blogs and magazines to cover the catastrophe, one titling their article; ‘Why did Tiktok turn on Matilda Djerf?’. 

Essentially, mirro-influencers began speaking out about a very quiet series of actions the brand had been taking against small creators – those that were finding dupes of the Djerf clothes, and shouting it from the rooftops. Accusations of copyright were pointed at these micro-influencers as the circulation of more affordable, yet less ethical, dupes of Djerf’s most-sought-after items caused a storm online. 

Threats of accounts being banned due to this, and the speaking out of what had been happening to small creators online for simply attempting to include as many people as possible into this revolutionary aesthetic, prompted outrage. I, myself, came across this most-recent cancellation on Tik Tok, the passion with which this issue was being spoken about affecting my opinion on the brand with simply one video. 

Though many micro-influencers, having found and bought the dupes, were expressing honest opinions about the lower-quality of the reproductions, and praising authentic Djerf clothing in comparison, the accusations from the brand remained and continued to flood in. 

Perhaps it was the irony of it all that caused the sudden stir, since Djerf herself used to share designer dupes online for those who couldn’t afford the authentic luxury items. Or, it could have been the act of searching for and penalizing micro-influencers who would also like to follow in Djerf’s footsteps, inspired by her success, and make something of their social media presence that affected Matilda’s warm, inclusive brand and character. 

Anyhow, the dupes are still available on Amazon and elsewhere. Djerf Avenue effectively silenced and outraged their audience, without targeting the true source of the issue; was it a pointless exercise? Did the brand cause more harm than good? 

On the flip-side, a single glance at the brand’s aesthetic, the values pasted across the website’s homepage such as ‘Re-Sell Djerf Avenue’ create a ring of central values Matilda must have had in mind when creating the brand, and is holding onto throughout it’s climbing success. Sustainability, ethical production, and high quality. Warding customers off buying dupes may be seen as a way for her to protect these values, and her brand, though it’s approach to solving the issue has seemingly been misjudged by the plethora of micro-influences calling for cancellation and turning their backs on Djerf Avenue. And still, we have to ask the question –  are people so upset because it is a woman exercising ruthless business strategies? 

A Forbes article wrote, “women are often judged more harshly than our male colleagues and have different expectations when making these hard decisions. Women have additional expectations to provide a sense of compassion and empathy as bosses”. 

It is a misty, difficult question to venture into, yet surely Matilda Djerf as a person, and as a business owner have their differences. 

Even so, cancel culture is a deadly thing, and can happen in the time it takes to purchase a ‘breezy shirt’. The brand is persevering, it seems, and seen as Matilda not long ago featured on the front cover of Vogue, it looks as if her future is a bright one, with a long road ahead for both her brand and career as an influencer. 

Edited by: Michele Ngue-Awane

A morning person, lover of coffee and collecting too many Vogues. I'm studying Media and Cultural Studies with a particular interest in journalism!