Intervention: The Lost Identity of Fashion.

Fashion– 1. Something, such as a garment, that is in the current mode. 2. Manner or mode; way. Ex: Set the table in this fashion. 3. A personal, often idiosyncratic manner. 4. To give shape or form to.

Fashion conscious or not. “In to it” or “not into it”. Rich or poor…Fashion is into you. 

From tribal markings and garbs worn in the deepest jungles in Africa to Milan’s concrete catwalks in Europe, personal expression through what we wear will always strive and given the option we will always prefer to do it “in style.” Though we are MUCH deeper than just what we wear, presentation will always be a platform for first impressions. Unfortunately because of this Fashion has been prostituted. Advertisers are her pimp and the consumer is her ‘John’. Instead of street corners they put her on catwalks and in magazines. Instead of cheap fabrics, cigarette smoking and troubled women, they use expensive campaigns, crafty marketing ploys and celebrities. We have been seduced for far too long. This is an intervention.

Its a beautiful sunny day outside, I’ve got my cafe Bustelo brewing and I run across an article in ‘New York magazine’ via my Blackberry titled, ‘The High Price of Fashion.’, written by Josh Patner, who is great writer by the way. Reading this article got the wheels in my head spinning. Why is it that whether making $100,000 a year or $30,000 a year, people are buying into the illusion that wearing high end fashion defines their value? Could it be that they are believing in the lie of misused industry terminology or are they falling for media mind control?

Mode- A particular form, variety or manner: a mode of expression.

The words Fashion, Trend, Mode, Style and Luxury have all been redefined by advertisers and those in the industry to influence the consumers belief system, thus, influencing their purchases. We have adopted this lie that has led us to believe  that the words “Fashion” and “Trend” are synonymous.  They’re not. FASHION is our manner of doing something, meaning it could be anything you want it to be. That is why designers have one of the best jobs. They get to create “THEIR” fashion and then watch millions of others take it for their own hence creating a TREND. There’s nothing wrong with wanting the latest neon green skinny jean but harness your own swagger and don’t feel like you’ve got to spend large amounts of money to be relevant or current. Advertisers target what I like to call the confused consumer. The consumer that allows the advertiser to do the thinking while they do the spending. These people will base most of their purchases on what popular culture is presently pushing. Which From the beginning of time it’s been luxury and the idea that if you possess this item you are some how apart of a Lifestlye that makes you important. The physical manifestations of what people view as luxurious may change but the idea that people crave it will always remain.

“How can I say this Abercrombie sweater is luxury?” asks Sam Shahid, who developed the company’s image. “It’s easy. You put the word on there. You tell them it’s luxury. Luxury is the best you can buy. Luxury touches you…” We believe in the lie because “if you build it they will come.” and advertisers have built an empire of subliminal messages that keep the consumer running back for more. Robert Duffy, president of Marc Jacobs International, says, “Luxury is something you don’t need, it’s something you want. The bag of potato chips I ate for lunch today was a luxury.”

I shop in major department stores, boutiques, thrift stores, flea markets or what some may consider the “hood stores” in my Bronx neighborhood. We as individuals should be inclined towards anything that speaks to our souls or simply to our own tastes. If it’s a $7,000 dollar dress and you’ve got it to spare, by all means indulge; if it’s a $10 dollar purse from a street vendor even better. The point is being conscious of what drives your purchasing power. Don’t be a robot. Fashion is what YOU are wearing, NOT what everyone else is wearing.. Your style should be as unique and distinct as your fingerprint. So next time you see that awesome pair of “no name pants” BUY THEM if you feel so inclined to do so! Who gives a shit about what people think. If you rock it right it’s always going to be “A Do”. If Fashion were all about trends, then I would consider her a hypocrite. One moment white after labor day is considered “Unthinkable”, the next season because its in the latest fashion publication, its a “must try trend”. Give me a break. Fashion is the face I create. Its true that “Fashions fade but style is eternal” (-Yves st. Laurent) Still I believe that fashion is what we choose it to be and style is how we wear what WE choose to be.

Patner, goes on to say and I quote, “…perhaps one reason the dress costs $2,300 is because that’s what shoppers want to pay for it. Some people’s search for identity goes no further than wanting that expensive bag on that movie star in that issue of InStyle. Shoppers who have to imitate Kate Moss to express themselves are a retailer’s dream; they’ll pay any price if you clock them wearing that Dior Saddle bag.” Hopefully this is not the whole truth. I’d like to believe that the real lovers of fashion buy these items simply because of their amazing craftsmanship and design, and not because they are giving into the amazing mind fuck of institutionalization.

By Natalie olivo

Trend- 1. The general direction in which something tends to move. 2. A general tendency or inclination 3. current mode