Consumers’ motivations for buying clothes are different – but we need fashion to express ourselves and the society we live in, says WGSN Executive Vice President Leticia Abraham
In the wake of recent discussions about fashion, its role, what it has done and even its death, I would like to share my insight on the topic. Even though I work for WGSN – globally, one of the biggest companies in creative intelligence and identifying trends – I write with no commercial bias. I write as someone who is dedicated to studying people and consumption behaviour for over 10 years.
I don’t believe in the death of fashion, and the reason for that is simple: I see fashion as one of the most evident and prolific places for individual and social expression. Fashion is a means of communication but not a revolution in itself.
In that sense, when we see fashion orientating towards to mass production – with people being more focused on products and less interested in their meanings – it does not mean fashion has died. On the contrary, it demonstrates fashion continues to play its social role of capturing the zeitgeist.
It is fashion portraying the massification, superficiality, and disposability that is so prevalent now. We may see that same pattern in other social spheres, such as in the very human relationships, which nowadays are also becoming increasingly shallow, quick, and short-lived.
And how do trends fit into all that? As long as there are people, there will be trends. Trends are a way human needs are met – and these are always different, according to ever-changing social contexts. There is nothing more human than wishing for new things, being vain, greedy and having a sense of achievement.
With each new world, especially Brazil (how many major social transformations has it gone through over the last few years?), new ways of meeting our most primitive wishes and desires are created. Here, trends are broad: new ways to think, travel, buy, eat, interact, move…
Every trend begins with innovative people (who are estimated to be 2% to 5% of the world’s population). Afterwards, it reaches the early adopters (from 5% to 20% of the population) and the trendsetters (from 20% to 50% of the population). Finally, hits the mainstream public (the other 50%).
Throughout this process we rely on fashion – we need it to be a form of creativity that translates society in an aesthetically amazing way. And this is why fashion – and trends – will never die.
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