Nothingness: Trends, trends, trends and obsolescence

It’s the pulse of fashion. We all strive to do what’s new, what’s in vogue, and what reflects our contemporary mindset. This desire is fueled by the need to be accepted by our peers and society, shaping how we are perceived. 

Trends are restless and can turn on a dime, as we witnessed with the dramatic change from the once very aesthetic clean girl to the suddenly sought after “mob wife” or the fact that leopard, which used to be considered tacky, is now the print you must have in your wardrobe. The clothes you wear, the kind of makeup you do, or your body shape will never remain as widely popular in the long term. 

These trends are temporary by nature. They emerge as something novel or exciting, gaining popularity until they become the norm of what’s new, cool, and innovative. Yet, they are just as quickly discarded for the next big thing, perpetuating a cycle of constant change. This rapid turnover of trends fuels our desire for novelty and contributes to our fashion choices’ environmental impact. 

Yet, these trends pose a dilemma in a world increasingly conscious of sustainability and climate change. They permeate fast fashion stores, leading to mass consumption with significant environmental implications. Additionally, social media further pushes these trends on people and makes it increasingly necessary to keep up with them, as this will determine your social strata and how you are judged by the world daily for what you wear and despite how environmentally conscious we claim we are, we follow them, jump on the wagon and buy the cheaply made neon bracelets, cheetah print bags, or cherry red shoes to be considered up to date with the times. To this extent, trends reflect human nature, the unshakeable primordial instinct to conform and fit in above your preferences, hoping not to be left out of what the majority does. Beyond this, they also represent our insatiable need for evolution and our restless nature for innovation, as in a world without trends, fashion would get tedious, and the excitement it would bring to the masses would rapidly dull. In turn, this substantially affects the fashion houses and companies that utilise trends to help turn a profit. Whether it be a fast fashion brand like Shein that thrives off trends or the immovable Hermes, all brands need to follow trends and produce goods that are by what is popular to drive sales. Hence, when animal prints came back into fashion at the beginning of the year, we saw how they trickled down from the runways put on by haute couture brands to now seeing cheaper versions of them distributed to the masses in department stores. 

However, it poses the question of whether any clothing is timeless. Everything is based on a trend, and eventually, all the clothing we wear today will inevitably become a picture of something outdated. If we look back at any era in fashion in the past hundred years, it is easy to appreciate the intricate nature of clothing and use it for inspiration today. Still, it would be unwearable in the present time we exist, which can be seen with historical examples like brands Poiret or Lucille that felt everlasting in the era in which they were popular and have now faded into insignificance. 

Even brands that seem timeless, such as Brunello Cunecilli, Chloe, or Prada, didn’t exist a hundred years ago and will unlikely do so in a century, all because of the eventual obsolescence of what is currently popular. 

Many have predicted that brands that focus on simple clothing, with styles that focus more on a clean, perennial look, will be able to overcome the waves of trends that come and go. This way of thinking has become not just a strategy but the core embodiment of what many high-end fashion brands are doing to move themselves into the category of enduring brands that will not be moved by the tempest of temporarily popular items that have caused so many brands before them to sink. 

All of this has been of critical concern for these brands, who are trying to craft a long-lasting legacy that will transcend their brand from decade to decade while maintaining their same level of influence and relevance, an effort they’ve been trying to achieve not just through the medium of a particular fabric but by enabling the product to evoke innate emotions, memories and aspirations. Hence, the secret for a brand to achieve longevity in the end might not be following trend after trend. Instead, it may be accomplished by appealing to human desires, whether it be the desire for beauty, effortleness or exclusivity. Through this strategic positioning, brands can enable themselves to produce pieces of enduring elegance and keep up with the trends that will allow them to remain popular.  

And through this strategy, they can withstand time without fading into obsolescence.

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