Fashion- A Trend or Pressure?

-By Janisha Kukreja

Stiletto heels, slit gowns, formal haute couture suits, Louis Vuitton bags, Chanel perfume sprays, and guest watches truly are representative of Gen Z’s fashion world. While moving along these lines, a simple truth becomes enigmatic: What is the unembellished meaning of fashion?

While we are overly amalgamating social media trends, luxury brands, and haute couture, the real sense of fashion lies untouched.

Fashion is not the story just of clothing practiced by millionaires; rather, it has an immutable capacity for expression attached to it. Those who are mistaken, thinking that fashion is not beyond clothes, are truly living in a fool’s paradise. Fashion is a medium of expression and communication not just with your inner self but also with the entire world in the context of clothing, footwear, make-up, styling, lifestyle, accessories, hairstyle, body posture, and much more. It is not something evergreen but constantly evolving and varying with each person’s tastes, preferences, and personalities. Anything that is said to be a staple is not a by-product of fashion because it is only when you move, experiment, and try that you know its true essence.

But let’s not fall into the trap of confusing fashion with experimentation. Well, half of the statement being true can’t justify the existence of fashion as the autonomy to be who you are and being the first-hand version of yourself. With the emergence of technology and different social media platforms, there is an emergence of a wave of ‘’trends’’. With more than 100 million images shared on Instagram every day, along with more than 1 billion influencers, the power to bring various voices to life lies primarily in the hands of social media. From reels to the comeback of bell bottoms, Instagram has been the mediator between trends and people.

Having said that, the existence of a miniature world of fashion influencers cannot be looked upon. The ability of fashion influencers to create a significant impact on the undivided population is rewarding in nature, but the cost of it can sometimes be as profound as impacting the minds of people. It can sometimes be referred to as the brain drain or the brain game. While easy access to social media increases accessibility for fashion influencers and the various trends rolled out by them, the negative consequences of this whole exercise are significant enough to be looked up to. These detrimental impacts include advertising for unethical brands, alluring consumers to increase consumption, promoting a false sense of sustainability, curated anxiety due to unfollowed trends, and always waiting for validation from the outside world, to name a few. And with it, it goes without saying that these unfollowed, most popular, and trending social media trends further endorsed by influencers become no more than a dirty game, as they have the capability to churn the minds of people and drive them deep into the tunnel of stress and panic. Further, this panic and anxiety may create the feeling of missing out, which may lead to an unending tunnel of melancholy.

As rightly quoted by Ralph Lauren, the greatest designer of all time, ‘’fashion is about something that comes from within” ; it does not have to do something from the exterior world; rather, it is a mini-world that resides within. Fashion should not be a prison when it is actually a form of escapism and transportation to a world of comfort and self expression. After all, the greatest trendsetters of all time are not followers but the ones who have the guts to develop their own style.