July 25, 2024

Apparel Creations Workshop

Crafting Fashion Trends

Fashion has grown competitive, should be accepting | Culture

3 min read

There are very few things that are more heartbreaking than watching your favorite hobby become competitive. It hurts to watch a community and culture driven by passion turn into a toxic, eat-or-be-eaten space. 

The fashion community started out as a place for expression without judgment, support for one another, appreciation for the art and the movement of boundaries. For the most part, those values still hold true in the community today, but toxic traits and ideas like “money equals quality of style” and “aesthetic supremacy” have steadily become more prominent.

Big brands and designers have always been an influence in the mainstream culture and have usually dictated the decisions on what most of the general public purchases. Constant promotion from celebrities and public figures, who many people view as the golden standard of what it means to be “good-looking,” give people a false idea.  

Most people might believe that brands are the key to reaching this nonexistent “golden standard.” The social status these expensive names carry have caused people to seek identity within the brand itself and forget their tastes or what is actually being produced. 

The majority of people have forgotten how to appreciate an outfit for what it is artistically. Instead, comparison between people to see who can be closer to the standard made by these brands is more prioritized when putting on an outfit or observing someone else’s. This fuels a competitive mindset and makes fashion feel like less of a space for passion and expression and more of a means of validation and judgment of others. 

Another growing problem in the community is the idea that one style is better than another. It’s no surprise that members of a community might view their ideas as better than or superior and look down upon another if they don’t agree or understand. Even though that mindset is nothing new, the effect of the modern trend cycle has created more closed-mindedness and increased separation between subcultures within the fashion space. 

The idea that one way of dressing is better than the other has become a common argument used when pushing a trend. In turn, the alienation of aesthetics occurs. When this does pop up, those who identify closer with the community currently in the spotlight feel a sense of power and superiority and people outside of that space feel less appreciated. 

For example, in the early and mid-2010s, streetwear and athletic apparel were the main trends and were given a majority of the attention among the masses. People who enjoyed this style embraced both it and, subconsciously, a sense of superiority over a majority of the fashion space. This meant that more polarizing or alternative styles were considered abnormal and — dare I say it — “weird.” Members of these subcultures were stereotyped and judged by the general public which created a perceived limit of expression amongst those who identified with that style, boxing them in.

The ideas previously mentioned are nothing new, and they do not apply to the community as a whole, but cases of these situations are growing and becoming more prominent. Discussing these problems is the first step to avoiding them and continuing to make the fashion community an accepting and comfortable place for all people. 

Fashion should be a place where the art of making any kind of outfit can be — maybe not fully agreed upon — but still appreciated and acknowledged. The idea of somebody being a “better dresser” is vapid and can’t be measured by anything legit. 

Confidence and validation should not come from standards pressed on by big brands or the opinions of others. It should come from yourself and the fact that you know that you look amazing and rock whatever you’re wearing no matter what.

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