Style can sometimes be mistaken for a fashion theme, and sometimes those who have a particular style can sometimes think that they are true individuals. However, there are times where themes or fashion trends can become more than a quick trend or evolving seasonal theme. Sometimes they can also mean more to a group than fashion. They can mean an identity. A social change. A political statement. A religious viewpoint. An evolution of society, or a more generational theme that can change a city, generation or even a country. I want to introduce you to a wider concept of fashion trends. The Unique factor
Now depending on your age, you may have seen or experienced the moment when a teenager starts to experiment with their style. Maybe you remember when that was you. They might align themselves with a particular music style, or want to be someone they idolize and the reason I bring up that period of a person’s life, is because this is the point where our musical taste and identities start to develop.
Well if you were about during the 90s, grunge music made droves of teens start to wear worn out clothes, dark make up, leather studded jackets, check shirts, a lot of denim and all with messed up hair and generally just a grungy appearance, literally. Then in the late 90s and 2000’s, this changed into a darker evolution of “goth”. Still the same leather, makeup, studding, but just a few tweaks here and there. For for the uneducated eye, it was a totally new way of dressing.
This isn’t restricted to teenagers though. Band’s dated models and celebrities, who then changed their appearance to fit into the ‘lifestyle’, which then encouraged more people to join in who idolized them. And so it continued….
EMO’s ARE SOOOOO UNIQUE!!!!
If you haven’t seen any pictures of Madonna in the 80’s, [or even remember that time] I’d suggest you have a look. Or maybe go back to the 1970’s at the Punk era in the UK plus a bit of Glam Rock first, which then triggered Madonna and her own version of both, which triggered a generation of girls to start wearing tutus and leggings with a lumberjack shirt, which then led to grunge and then moved onto goth and finally emo, [which is basically the clothing of grunge and the hair of goth with a bit of glam rock makeup thrown in]….
In their small group of friends or community, each emo they might be very individual. Very unique. But the lack of individuality becomes more and more obvious when you look at a large number of that group together. The individuality that they are trying so hard to create; that everyone so desperately tries to find, isn’t actually unique at all.
The shock factor really doesn’t exist on a global or even city-wide scale. By being part of a group or aligning yourself with a music genre, political cause or hobby, puts you into a camp, a group, with other like-minded people who also gain their style inspiration from exactly the same sources and subconscious as humans, we love to follow and copy. We seek out friends and colleagues who have some common ground so that we can talk about and discuss those interests we share in common. People who we can share experiences with us or participate in sports or music as a team. We love to be part of something and share our views, beliefs and inspirations or achievements and as time has progressed, with social media, this has become far easier to do. It’s the power of the masses and what we believe is truly unique, sadly is not.
Now you might be wondering why I’m talking about this in a fashion brand post and you may not even consider these events in history as ‘trends’. Well I’m sorry to say that you would be wrong and there are in fact two important elements of this issue that I hope you will come to agree, can have a larger implication. Those who either want to create products on a larger scale or with some greater cause in mind, or those who wish to create products for the individual person…..
THE FASHION PROBLEM
Every new brand or client that comes to me for my services asks the same first question. Will I sign a confidentiality agreement? Although I understand and happily sign them, I do laugh a little every time. Every design, every product and every idea I have seen 100 times before. In fact in 20 years, I have only ever seen 1 product that was “new”, but only because it was an older item of clothing in an unusual fabric…. It’s currently 2015 and the picture above was taken in NYC in 1983. Do you think Madonna would out-of-place now? Not at all. Actually, even after 32 years, she’d be a little bland and mix into all of the others following that same trend.
If you are trying to create “individual” styled products and you’re worried about sales, then you’ll be fine. There are thousands of “unique individuals” who all like the same thing….. But if you actually want them to be worn by true individuals for a creative or moral reason, then you may have a problem. You could of course create the illusion of this by moving to a smaller town and just selling everything to one person, but you may need to get a second job to pay your rent.
If you’re trying to start a trend for something “unique” then you are in luck. Look outside your local community and there will be people who will follow you if you lead. No problem. You will always find like-minded people who believe in a cause, somewhere in the world. But if you want to create a trend for an individual, then unfortunately I have no answers for you. This is a juxtaposition that will never be solved and I’ll explain why….
THE JUXTAPOSITION OF AN INDIVIDUAL TREND
We are influenced in our language, music, loves, hates and many other elements of ourselves through the influence of people we spend time with. By being around them an absorbing their beliefs, language and views. The most common example of these things are in language. There are many times in our lives, where we meet people who make a particular exclamation about something, or have a particular expression that they use, and by hearing it often, sometimes we start to use it ourselves. Our close relationship with this person means that their behavior and language can become our own and in the same way, our own language and behavior will rub off on them also.
We are influenced on many levels by others and also influence others on a day to day basis. Have you ever worn an outfit and someone has asked you ‘’Where did you get that?’’. If you answered them and the item was available, you have probably influenced them into buying their own item. Your simple choice of clothing, has influenced another person to buy the same item. Just think about the reviews on Amazon. It’s the whole reason this feature exists. The power of persuasion by your peers.
So it makes sense that although we consciously need to be an individual, subconsciously, we make choices that are influenced by others and are not truly unique.
There is a contradiction in terms when thinking about trends for those who are either unique or have individual style. Those who wish to be truly individual would by definition, not follow a trend. A trend is an inspirational starting point for a wider group of people, but to someone unique, a trend would never apply.
So the moral of the story is that on a global scale, trends reoccur over time and location. We follow or aspire to be like someone or something else, which subconsciously effects what we like and buy as consumers. The trends, in a more traditional sense bring us inspiration, either through what we see or who we aspire to be. Our individuality only exists in the way we put our ‘look’ together, which in turn, is only individual if you are never inspirational to someone else, or never look past the edge of your small town.
Yes every Emo is unique. They look like every other Emo just with a slightly different hair colour.
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