Internet: Speeding up fashion and trends

So my last post was about whether or not trends were getting uglier (or if I was just getting older).  And now I’m thinking that it may not be an age thing at all, but more that the fashion landscape looks very different these days.  [And perhaps I’m not very fashionable, after all.  But we’ll get to that later.]

Modern technology has changed how trends are shared.  I remember growing up I used to read magazines.  Even through college, I subscribed to the likes of Vogue or Elle for fashion information.  Sure, my college years (when I was actually studying to be an apparel designer) were possibly some of my most unfashionable, if you believe it’s possible, but I was still following trends and I shopped a lot.

Then something happened.  I moved to NZ in 2007 and technology began to change.  I spent a lot more time online.  I didn’t get fashion magazines anymore and I had moved to a land so far removed from US fashion influence and style, it was truly an awakening and revival for me.  First off, everyone wears black almost exclusively in Aotearoa (my love for colour made me stand out pretty obviously).  I did my first style overhaul at about 24 (unconsciously) – I moved away from flared jeans, wide leg trousers, sneakers and t-shirts.  I got a job at a local clothing company and started wearing their product almost exclusively.  I became obsessed with knee high boots, mini-skirts, bright colours and printed tights.

Then somewhere between about 2009 and 2014…  everything changed.  Suddenly fashion blogs were exploding.  There was pinterest.  There was instagram.  There was Zara.  Fast fashion ruled.  Fashion trends were translated instantly from the runway to the stores and around the globe.  Athleisure came to the forefront.

So while I was slaving away on my PhD in NZ, the landscape of fashion changed around me.  I slowly started to pick up on it again, but it’s a struggle.  There’s no longer defined fashion seasons.  And the pressure to have trends instantly means that a lot of retailers seem to all look the same.  Denim jeans are struggling to compete with yoga pants.  The skinny jean has ruled for nearly 10 years now and some of us (myself included) are pretty reluctant to give it up.

The pervasiveness of casual athletic wear into all aspects of life (including work wear) is driving some of us crazy (myself included).  Remember when people used to dress up and look nice for work, going out, special events?  I do too.

I feel like as consumers, we’re being bombarded by many different trends simultaneously, and the trends are changing suddenly as retailers are in a desperate bid to sell us anything.  Fashionable and trend savvy consumers still desire something new…  But some of us – myself included – are trying for a more holistic wardrobe and a cohesive look instead.  I have to accept that I’m anything but a trendsetter these days.  I’m too poor, and getting too practical (if I can’t wear at least 90% of my wardrobe to work, what’s the point?).

So where am I going with this rambling mess of text?  I think fashion has actually become harder to navigate.  I think it’s a combination of how trends are shared (instantly online), the economy (retail is becoming tougher and tougher – a lot of traditional retailers are actually desperate) and life (e.g. I’m no longer a 20 something with very little thought for the future and lots of free time to navigate the fashion landscape, I’m a 30 something with a professional job who needs to save all the money for like, houses and retirement and boring dull practical adult life stuff).  I’m no less interested in fashion – I always have been and always will be.  It just somehow seems a lot more difficult.

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