Saturday, July 12, 2014

COLUMN: TRENDS - IN THE HANDS OF SOCIAL MEDIA

This may the 1000th post you read on the "social media" and its immense impacts, and I can't promise you that it isn't, but for me, the social media and fashion combined creates an interesting co-dependency that is often overlooked, at least by me, as they seamlessly work together, around the clock. The way I see it, trends drive the day-to-day business of the fashion industry, whether it is the defying/propelling of them. After the widespread use of social media platforms for marketing purposes in (almost - I can't be too sure) every industry, the fashion industry has used them for many purposes, both consciously and subconsciously. The conscious would include promotion, and the subconscious will be the topic of this discussion.

The prompt of this column piece came from Man Repeller's post "The Life of a Trend" with the header image of a woman in a chic turtleneck holding up a slipper-sandal/the Birkenstock in the same way Simba was held up in The Lion King. The article was less about the impacts of the social media, but more of the, almost inevitable, fate of trends:


"The style tribe goes crazy for the trend, then overdoes it, and as the peanut butter syndrome sinks in, the Thing of the Moment trickles out into the masses. Before long, that girl you hate from math class and her entire family tree has ruined your favorite bag that you once felt so cool for carrying. Or perhaps it was a style of jeans. Or maybe, per this summer's trendiest shoes and the storybook above, it was a pair of Birkenstock sandals..."
- Man Repeller

Consider trends one of the products of the fashion industry. Like any product, trends also have their own life cycle, from birth to death, and in our current society, social media platforms determine the length of this cycle. Of course, going without saying, these platforms will mean nothing without humans (us), but like any other great invention, tools help us to reach greater achievements. And how does this tool give us the power to determine the life cycle of fashion trends when the industry seems so out of our reach? This question isn't that hard to answer when you get into this line of thought, but, essentially, an account. As trends can catch on like a wildfire and extinguish just as quickly, you can simply tweet, instagram, or post anything that shows your interest/disinterest in the industry's current big thing to contribute to the uprising or downfall of a trend - congratulations! Although it seems harsh with the words "downfall" and "disinterest", it really isn't, because by the time the market for this trend has saturated and is starting to die off, another would've already been blooming, thanks to your favorite brand/blogger/magazine/youtuber/instagrammer (the list goes on). So basically, the rapid turnover rate of trends help to keep the industry new and creative with new blood constantly being reeled in, and old blood constantly being expelled.

How does this benefit the various social media platforms that want to stay alive amidst the jungle of many others? I guess with the increasing desire for ordinary people to voice their thoughts and connect with people with similar interests and ideas (or for some, to gain likes just for the sake of it), the demand for social media platforms, or any platform of the sort, will unlikely diminish.

As i'm handwriting the draft of this post in Starbucks and holding back the urge to Instagram my table setup (a cup of skimmed caramel macchiato, my black Moleskine planner, a pack of chips, and my note pad + Muji pen), i'm convincing myself that i'm not immersed in social media platforms and that i'm defying the current norm. I know, this sounds ridiculous because until some other technology as convenient, entertaining and informative is developed, I will still be attached to the social media, alike the rest of my generation, regardless of whether i'm handwriting this or not. Looking at the the big picture, I feel lucky that I am in some way attached to the social media, because as a being that holds very little existence, I am somehow writing this in full belief that even my words can contribute to something much bigger - an understanding, an idea, or even a change.

Thank you for bearing with me and reading this large body of text - I hope you liked it!

x
Pearl

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