The misconception with fashion: a dilemma between societal norms and self identity

SO WHAT EXACTLY IS FASHION?

Is it style? A  system of choice? a political expression? but more importantly, how does the simplicity of a fabric have the power to create a personal statement for some? 

The truth is there isn’t a particular word that would perfectly describe the definition of fashion. If we take a look at history, we know that culture and historical events play an essential role in shaping the evolution of fashion. We learn that style trends and the concept of dressing has made its mark into societal impression while influencing the growth and evolution of fashion. As a part fashion student and editor, there are two key observations that I would like to dive deeper into. 

1) The stereotypical misconception of fashion that goes around and how this overlaps in our digitalized world 

2)How the beauty of fashion stems from evolutionary and societal changes 

Fashioning stereotype

As a blogger, what intrigues me the most when a conversation about fashion sparks up are the thoughts, reactions and impressions that individuals have about this culture. The first stereotype that catches my attention the most is how highly this subject has been associated with social class and how fashion can equate to expensive and luxurious items. When asking the older generation, in particular, about the imagery that comes to their mind when the word fashion appears, they envision high end luxury brands, haute couture and how the high class holds more power in this aspect. They don’t always tend to view street style or fast fashion as the overall common definition of fashion. However, the younger generation, on the other hand, tend to associate fashion with independent designers, the concept of sustainability and how social media influencers are starting to become the powerhouse of this industry.

Therefore, pondering the analytical difference between these stereotypical fashion types comes sociologist and economist Thomas Veblen. Veblen holds the strong belief that dressing plays a significant role in our society with impressions. The idea of dressing is completely visible and the psychological reasoning behind why people consume and choose high expenditure clothing is to gain positive hierarchical recognition. Due to this social concept of how the US in particular distinguishes wealth recognition and hierarchical status, the action of constantly changing clothing wardrobes and buying higher luxurious goods can be described as conspicuous waste. Furthermore, expanding on the act of constantly changing clothing wardrobes comes the addictive psychological behaviour behind the concept of trends. Due to every human being’s desire to have a sense of belonging, this game of “fitting in” into the “wealthy” and “less wealthy class” can be seen as a sense of escapism in following the glorification footstep outcome that comes from consuming expensive goods. In fact, a friend of mine who’s deeply involved in the fashion industry has quoted that “the trend game is addicting once you start” and this is where the gap between the rich and poor can be seen to separate, causing the more wealthy class prone more towards the idea of dressing and consuming materialistic. Moreover, this similar pattern where the “wealthy” tend to hold more power and say in fashion can be applied into our current global digitalization world. Social media influencers and celebrities on the other hand are gradually becoming the modern alternative choice in Veblen’s dressing belief.

THE BEAUTY OF FASHION COMES FROM EMBRACING CHANGE

The idea of change serves as a fundamental key point in this industry but something that most people don’t realize is that every societal aspect deeply connects with fashion and that everyone is involved in fashion (one way or another). The saying that fashion is only for specific type of people is simply not true, anyone can be part of it as long as they are interested.

Fashion evolves as society evolves or society evolves as fashion styles evolves?

here’s a basic outline of how fashion is deeply integrated into society, followed with a few basic examples..

From a psychological perspective, fashion can capture a person’s identity through their self presentation but can also serve as a tool that helps individuals express themselves. It can also be seen as an empowering tool for internal and external factors of power.

From an economic perspective, this industry can provide and is starting to create more job opportunities. For example, the rise of fast fashion in modern day society has influenced recent economic growth.

From a political standpoint, fashion can serve as a helpful tool for politicians to create a statement for their campaign or express themselves.

From a filming perspective, costumes can help viewers have a better understanding of the characters or the plot of the story.

From a historical standpoint, we can see how past events have influenced the way society express themselves through clothing, patterns and makeup.

Some of these statements bring me to my current conclusion that the beauty behind fashion comes from embracing the evolutionary changes in this industry. Whether that means the future of fashion will involve a change in technological developments or designer changes, embracing this helps with becoming a knowledgeable fashion learner.

AFTER THOUGHT.

What are some statements that you’ve heard about fashion? These are just some of my personal misconceptions but I’ve also heard others such as fashion “has” to be beautiful or “certain people” can be in the fashion industry.

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