Mesh panel jeans and fishnet bikinis – where are these outrageous fashion trends coming from? While fashion used to be largely based on the catwalk and fashion magazines, there has been a shift since the introduction of social media and gave everyone the potential to be a fashion-influencer. In a world that is obsessed with the next big thing, the craziest trend, the most original idea, it is no surprise that fashion is becoming increasingly nonsensical. Nowadays, you can most probably find t-shirts with cheap shirt printing selling at couture prices and find something as ostentatious as a condom dress at the same shop. It is almost as if the whole industry has gone haywire, with everyone trying to one-up the other and celebrities looking ridiculous at the Met Gala.
Men are not exempted from this phenomenon – now sporting ridiculous looking cargo pants and casual wear tuxedos to making a statement with neck pouches. They look as awkward as they sound, a pouch big enough for a phone and a vape pen, perhaps, but leaving not much room for anything else, slung around the neck and resting in the chest area. If that is not disturbing enough, the recent rise of gender fluidity and rights for people of every sexual orientation or gender identity, skirts and heels have become popular with men who are willing to experiment.
It is not a new revolution, however, actor Will Smith’s son, Jaden, who regularly cross-dresses has been seen leading this trend of questioning societal values and gender roles years back. He says that it is not a sexual orientation but merely a preference and a need to express himself. Why should women be allowed to wear both pants and dresses while men are limited only to their wardrobe of manly clothing? This kind of forward thinking will hopefully start conversations and shift the perspective of “feminine” and “masculine” to reflect something more than just shallow preferences such as what clothes one decides to wear. It is commendable that someone as young as he is to be able to understand that you are not what you wear, and you do not have to follow the masses blindly.
All fashion trends have a time and place. The hipster trend overtook the bohemian fashion back in the early 2000s, and today it seems like the modern basic look will be challenged for its number one spot by what is referred to as the “hippie modernism” trend which attempts to merge hipster wares with a boho touch, according to Elle. However, it does seem that fashion magazines have lost their touch and are no longer as influential as they once were, losing out to fashionistas on Instagram or Youtube. Consumers are more likely to look to a relatable individual rather than to the impersonal pages of a glassy magazine. While traditional media hang on by tooth and nail to stay relevant, the truth of it is that they are losing their audience as they seek their inspiration elsewhere.
One of the outlets that people choose to look to, are celebrities. Whatever they are wearing is what they want to emulate. What Taylor Swift wore on her daily routine is much more interesting than reading about how overalls will be making a comeback and trying to get on that trend instead. This is because Taylor Swift – or any celebrity for that matter – is relevant. They are what is right now. Even when reality TV star, Kim Kardashian, made a blunder with her trademarking the “kimono” which sparked international outrage, people were still interested in her up and coming clothing line. Why? Because it is Kim Kardashian and because she is one of the most, if not the top most influential person of the 21st century.
However, what consumers fail to see is that they are the masses and they are capable of influencing change and trends. There is absolutely no need for us to be sheep, but rather, choose for ourselves what fits our personality, taste and budget. Vintage fashion or hand-me-downs can also look good. New does not necessarily mean better. Latest fashion does not necessarily mean good. Anyone else remember the horror of the early 2000s? Denim and Juicy Couture, paired with cheesy and chunky accessories and ghastly glitter. All it takes it a look into the past to remind us that mainstream and what is commercial is not always the best looking.
Furthermore, every one of us are relevant and we do not need social media or celebrities to tell us what is. Whatever we choose to put on our backs is more real than anything else. We are seen by friends and family, the very people whom the media targets. If we focus on our own styles, there is absolutely no need to focus on fads and trends. As Coco Chanel famously puts it: fashion fades – style is forever.