Gone are the days when the word ‘fashionable’ was only used for designers, models or elite divas. Today, every other kid on the block is fashionable, or at least pretends to be. The boom of numerous clothing brands, with franchises all around the world, has made it much easier for people to get along with the latest trends. No matter where in the world you live in, all you have to do is go to the store, and pick out the chicest outfit for your wardrobe. Or if, God forbid, there’s no designer brand store in your city (which is unlikely, of course!), then websites like Amazon or EBay comes to the rescue. Well, that’s what the modern phenomena of Fashion is; the Fashionomena.
Charles Kingsley once quoted that we act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, which indeed, is the ironic truth of the days. Even the depths of recent recession couldn’t outshine the charisma of fashion at all; Louis Vuitton being just one example. This French fashion house recorded 2% growth in 2010, and still remains at the top with brand value of $19.78 billion. Other luxury brands like Hermes, Gucci, Chanel, Prada are also on a roll. The LV insignia is said to have consecrated the world with some of the most stylish stuff since 1854. Not just in France, it’s popularity extends to many other countries like United States, Britain, & Japan. According to the statistics, a large number of Japanese women possess at least one LV item (Wow, I must get one too!).
The scenario of what we call fast fashion, on the other hand, isn’t much different either. Stores like H&M, Zara, Macy’s, & Forever 21 continue to grow by stuffing consumers’ wardrobes with gazillion seasonal yet superfluous outfits. With this constant upsurge of clothing industries, it won’t be unfair to say that the street fashion has also become very homogenized now. Head out anywhere from New York, to Tokyo, France, London, China or even India, you’ll find people dressed in almost similar way. From similar, I obviously don’t mean intolerably uniform dress codes, but resemblance in general visage. Shorts, tunics, skirts, t-shirts, dresses, blazers, tanks; these were all considered a part of western clothing a couple of decades ago, but now, it is widely accepted by the east as well. Many brands have already established their market in each section of the world, and others are on their way. With the altruistic help of Hollywood and pop stars, western fashion is making its way in almost every culture. But ironically, this homogenization is also contracting the individualistic aspect of fashion at the same time.
I don’t care if it sounds utopian, but I think every person should have their personal style statement, which helps them defining their own personality rather than of some abstracted celebrity. From Hollister’s SoCal image to Dior’s luxurious style, the malls are absolutely glutted with different kinds of clothing. But one should always get what they are looking for, not what the store is thrusting them with. The changing fashion trends definitely have the power to alter your sense of selection, but it should never transform you into someone you cannot even relate to.