By Anne Merrick, Friday, June 8, 2012, at 10:00 am.
I have spent the greater part of the past few years poring over fashion blogs, designer websites and photographs from impossibly distant events like the Met Gala or the Cannes Film Festival. I can identify an article of clothing purchased from any major retailer, if not just because I recognize it, but also because I can, more often than not, make out the distinct construction of it—the mother-of-pearl finish on the button, the balance and perfect stitch of a handmade shoe, a homemade finish on selvaged denim.
I can tell you what trends are here for this season (pops of neon against backdrops of nude, colorful printed skinny jeans, color in general) and those that aren’t really trends, despite being touted as such season after season (nautical anything, boyfriend jeans, front-tie button-downs).
Like almost every business sector, the world of retail and fashion for both consumer and retailer have been opened up by the Internet and digital communication. But what is remarkable about the retail industry that might be unique in its totality is the mutual and cyclical influence that retailers and consumers have developed with one another. This is really manifested through the presence of bloggers—and, believe me, there are thousands of them. Bloggers serve as a kind of third dimension, through which most any fashion-conscious consumer goes at some point in her or his purchasing process. Bloggers add an accountability factor that retailers have to address because not only are the bloggers real people who are displaying, examining and styling clothes in their own personal ways, but they are also writing about the cut, quality, color, fabric, country of origin, mood the item put them in, etc. That’s not to say people weren’t interested in these factors before the past few years, but a customer’s choice is exponentially greater now than ever, and all these factors are becoming increasingly critical contributions to the process of getting the consumer to click on the Submit Order button.
Living in Pittsburgh, I can bring a fashion-forward influence from around the globe through my morning laptop perusal in bed. As an avid and eager participant in this process, I have learned that it is my responsibility to be an accountable and responsible user. Sometimes it seems as though social media and the Internet exist to make us aware of everything we are missing out on and then subliminally assert and insist upon our inadequacies and shortcomings. If we spend all day filling our minds with impossible beauty standards or coveting items or lives we cannot have, these outlets will serve up unfounded attacks on our self-esteem and identity.
Arguably, the essence and beauty of modern fashion is, above all else, its respect for the individual. Through clothing and fashion, you don’t have to get on a stage or write a book to demonstrate how you see the world.
It is the purpose of the retailer and designer to sell. This does not alleviate them from certain responsibilities, of course, but as receivers of these messages, we must ardently develop, teach and practice media literacy. It is a delicate art, learning the difference between a consumer of fashion and one who is consumed by fashion.
[photo: creativecommons.org/...love Maegan]
This entry was posted on Friday, June 8th, 2012 at 10:00 am. It is filed under Fashion, Features, Marketing, Social Media, Trends and tagged with beauty, bloggers, Cannes Film Festival, clothing, consumer, designer, Fashion, fashion bloggers, fashion blogs, fashion trends, identity, media literacy, Met Gala, Pittsburgh, retail, self-esteem, Trends, websites. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
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