Saturday, January 16, 2010

Is Fashion Important?

A lot of people fail to realize the importance and the influence of fashion on our everyday lives. And I think that it is really important to clear a few things up here.
For those of you that think fashion is only the clothing that you wear....and want to argue that you do not care what you wear I have several things to say about that. First of all, we dress out of necessity not out of want. We all wear clothing, and that in itself is critically important. Secondly, we are social creatures and artists. As a human species we are the only animals that create art and find aesthetic and heonic pleasure in products that we purchase. This is one reason that as the baby boomer generation got older and richer all our marketing switched from one way advertisements to experiential retailing and advertising. This gets the consumers involved and to interact with the advertisiments, because businesses have realized that with a rise in competition they have to stand out. There is no longer one stand in the market plae were you can get teddy bears, there are hundreds of different retailers. So brands like Build-a-bear are trying to make more business by introducing a hedonic purchase. This means that you make a purchase that is emotionally satisfying to you.
Before we went to the store to make a utilitarian purchase, which means we went to buy something because we needed it, we got in the store, picked it up and left. Today we go to the mall, sit around, watch music videos and even enjoy (insie the malls) theme parks and waterparks...not to mention restaurants like rainforest cafe. This is all because of competition in a growing society. Still it is important to note that today you make a purchase based on hedonic means rather than utilitarian. A person that says they dont care what they wear still make a purchase in a certain store based on certain demands and needs. And marketing plays a very specific part in this. Why did you choose that shirt over another? is it price, quality, color, fit? Without even knowing it you make a purchase that satisfies you based on your lifestyle, age and style. It is impossible for a person to imagine the amount of work and research that goes into the production of the simple shirt that you wear on your back. It is impossible for a person to realize that the large business from which they purchase their tee shirts know how they eat, sleep, work study and who they hang out with and when they were born and how they feel about their environment.
Also, think about this. This is another thing that people do not understand about fashion. It is all encompassing. Lets say that fine, fashion is the clothes you wear, and lets say you are a person that goes to walmart for all your clothing needs and thus you consider yourself a person who does not consume fashion. In fact, that shirt that you bought went through an incredible journey to get to your hands. A journey that touches everyone in the world and affects our economy and our environment. The journey of the shirt started with the production of the fibers.
Walmart makes cotton tee shirts and cotton is the numebr one water pollutant and its growth, production and manufacture contributes to 60% of the world's water pollution. Did you know that why and how people are becoming more environmentally conscious? Well industries like Walmart are aware of this, in fact, they probably knew this would happen two years before it did. And now they work with GreenSource to produce tee shirts made from only organic cotton. But still, lets say the cotton fibers for your shirt started in South America and they took tons of water to grow, hundreds of bottles of pesticides and herbicides. When the cotton is collected it is turned into a yarn/
This yarn is made in a different country and goes through all types of chemical soaking procedures in order to ensure that it doesnt break as it goes through all the machinery. Then it travels on its way to China where the yarn is weaved, fused or knitted into a textile. This textile is soaked in oils, chemicals and starches in order to ensure its endurance. Then it is dyed and finished with heat, chemical transfers or articificial chemical dyes. The textile is washed with water several times during this process. A factory in Korea buys the textile because a retailer in the US ordered a large amount of tee shirts to be made. For 14 hours a day hundreds of women ages 14-30 work relentlessly to produce several thousand tee shirts for the retailer. The tee shirts are shipped to Canada were they are screen printed and/or a graphic print or logo is applied. The tags are attached in Korea but made in a factory in China. Then the shirt goes to the whilesaler who ships it to the retailer who then puts it on racks for the consumers. The tee shirt is the perfect fit, and color for the consumers even though it took about 8 months to produce.
The shirt that you wear that you claim has nothing to do with fashion, not only saw the whole world and touched the hands of hundreds of people, but it also went through a long process of socio-economic travel to get to you. The tee shirt started at a trend meeting in Paris, where designers all over the world gathered to discuss colors, textiles, innovations in technology and styles. This all happened two year and six months before you saw it in the store. The designers took these trends and went through an 8 step design process that takes them several months to produce a high fashion collection for fashion week. These clothes come out a year ahead. Retailers go to these fashion shows and see trends and ideas that are sellable at mainstream. The fabric, texture, color, and fit for a tee shirt is picked up here and takes 8 months to produce. The tee shirt trickles-down the socio economic levels until it falls into the hands of a retailer like Macy's were it sells very quickly. Wallmart picks up the trend from Macy's and produces this tee shirt for their own store, cheaper quality, and fabric but still that same fashion color that was the biggest hit two years before. And that is were it finds its way into your hands.
You are as much a part of fashion as it is a part of you. And finally fashion is not only a reference to clothing, but also a reference to the process and to style. It includes the study of economics, psychographics, demographis, history, science and technology because it needs to stay ahead. Designers are people that can see and study the future. The succesful designers at least. The machines, factories, oru production methods, advertising, art and history is all connected. When you wake up every morning and decide what to wear that day, you are deciding what you will represent, and what people will think of you, and you decide what you support. You can never forget that what you wear is a part of everything. Fashion is inevitable. It's a basic need, but it is also an emotional need. Psychologists have determined that throughout all the world...the main reason that all of us wear for decoration. That is what we all have in common.

No comments:

Post a Comment