“The relationship between today’s society and the influencers of the fashion world is powerful, bordering obsessive, and certainly unrequited. So why is it that we feel the need to lean so heavily on both celebrities and influencers for fashion inspiration? Why is it that so many of us can’t decide for ourselves what style we want?”
Fashion is an aspect of life that each individual involuntarily has a relationship with, and one which affects multiple parts of our daily lives. We all know that the fashion industry is synonymous with waste, being the second largest polluter to the environment. Yet it continues to maintain its prestigious position in the world market. The truth of the matter is that the one factor that is universal in the continuation and dominance of the sector is that it is driven forward by the consumer. Just what is it that makes us crave new season styles and continue to support the industry despite all that is wrong with the system? The simple answer for this is love.
Whether you are in a deep and passionate love affair which overpowers your everyday and is seen in all aspects of your life beyond just what you wear including what you read, what you watch, the social media accounts you engage with or how you spend your free time. You may also find yourself in the midst of a toxic relationship with fashion – perhaps you’re a self-confessed fashion-adversary, feeling anger and loath against the industry and choosing not to actively engage or participate. Otherwise, you may be in a totally indifferent relationship with fashion, perhaps partial to an idle flip through the odd copy of Marie-Claire in the hairdressers whilst otherwise having no real opinions or feelings towards the industry.
The reason that fashion holds so much prestige in the world is simply due to the love that we as human beings hold for something that provides us with the ability to express ourselves, to utilise apparel to our advantage and to create a sense of individualism, collectivism and simple joy. Having the power to reflect who we are in a totally overt way is evidently favoured. The love that we hold in our hearts for fashion is an age-old relationship that the most part of us love to flirt with occasionally, lust over obsessively or work towards finding our own balanced love-affair with.
The newest love trend between humans and fashion is akin to the real-life relationships we are seeing more predominantly in the world. Online dating and communication is rocketing in popularity and favoured by many, even if just for a dabble – similar to all of those who reach for whatever fashion magazine is closest while in the salon chair. The accessibility of fashion has changed dramatically, so much so that it is an almost inescapable aspect of life that can be seen everywhere we look, including our phone or laptop screens.
Today’s red-carpet stars, from the likes of Kendall Jenner to Beyonce, to David Beckham and Justin Bieber, are merely following in the footsteps of their fashion ancestors to be the world’s leading style icons of our era. For centuries now, celebrities of this status have been in the spotlight not only for their musical talents or their careers, but merely for the garments they sport strutting down the red carpet, across the stage or in the media. It never takes too long to see evidence of this undying love for the trends of celebrities as similar clothing styles and pieces are seen on the streets on us not-so-influential fashion enthusiasts. With little effort, these celebrities have always played a paramount role in shaping the ongoing fashion trends of society across the world.
With the world becoming an increasingly digital sphere, and with the social media tidal wave that has taken over in recent times, our relationship with the clothing choices of celebrities has changed in various ways. It is now a far easier task to retrieve images and information on the superstars of our generation and generations gone, with the day to day lives of celebrities being documented as the new normality. The privacy of our generation is becoming less and less with the current social media frenzy, with celebrities leading the way in showcasing their daily lives. This, therefore, is surely increasing the influence they are having on us and our fashion patterns. It is no longer just the glamorous red-carpet outfits or the formal photoshoot attire that we see, our relationship has increased to a far higher strength, with the imitation of clothing such as specific socks or pyjamas now seen as a normal occurrence.
This substantial social media influence is altering our search for inspiration. It is lessening the hunt by providing us with endless content at our ease whenever we desire it. Along with the sheer awe us fashion lovers possess for our celebrity heroes; is the more current love affair we are having with fashion influencers. Instagram alone has become a catwalk of its own, providing endless opportunity for inspiration on the latest trends that we are only waiting to imitate at the drop of a hat. It is forcing us to betray celebrities as our primary source of inspiration, as we fool around with the world of Instagram influencers who don’t hold back when it comes to tempting us with all the freshest looks and trends. The relationship between today’s society and the influencers of the fashion world is powerful, bordering obsessive, and certainly unrequited. So why is it that we feel the need to lean so heavily on both celebrities and influencers for fashion inspiration? Why is it that so many of us can’t decide for ourselves what style we want?
There is also the possibility that this inherent adoration and obsession links to many fashion lovers seeking to achieve a sense of higher status by wearing something that someone of intense popularity has worn recently. It is a way of being noticed, of having someone comment on your appearance positively, categorizing you for even just a moment, in the same field as that of someone who is seen to be adored by so many. Our relationship with celebrities and influencers as many of our primary sources of inspiration is a significant aspect of the world of fashion. Imitation and mimicry are features of us as human beings that will always play an immense role in the way we live our lives, fashion included. While it is quite the one-sided relationship in many senses, social media influencers and celebrities would disappear without a fan base, and fashion plays a large role in maintaining this fan base for many of these stars.
Taking inspiration from celebrities and influencers is not a new phenomenon by any means however, as trends of days gone by such as the LBD took the fashion world by storm in the 60’s following on from Audrey Hepburn’s iconic attire in the opening titles for Breakfast at Tiffany’s in a a full length Givenchy black gown. The love and affiliation that we humans stems largely from the inspiration we acquire from others whom we aspire to be like – the Little Black Dress is testament to this power and the feeling that everyone has when they reach for that wardrobe staple.
The truth of the matter is that we love fashion. Whether we choose to engage directly and throw ourselves head first into a full-commitment relationship to nurture this love, or even if we don’t acknowledge this relationship in the slightest – we are completely exposed to the industry. The reason is simple – the love for fashion is timeless, and our continued appreciation and requirement to persevere with this relationship is evident in the success and domineering of the industry through time.
By Emma Treacy and Kaia Purcell