Wednesday, 13 May 2009

The Tyranny of the Majority

“The consumer is now tyrannized by trends. The market is saturated and people are beguiled, bedazzled and bewildered by ‘choice’. The irony of the situation is that in reality we have very little consumer choice at all….I believe that we are in one of the most conventional historical periods of all time. A glance down any high street in any country in the world will show how conformist and similar we now look. The combination of globalization, the rise of the internet and the domination of fast fashion means that, with a few rare exceptions, we really do all look the same.”
Charty Durrant, former fashion editor of The Sunday Times, the Observer, and British Vogue has plenty to say about fast fashion, globalization, and social ills in her article The Tyranny of Trends. She lambasts our current consumer culture, rails against the mini-trend, and points out the destructive practices that the fashion industry has all over the world, from sweat shops and water pollution to “green” fashion. It’s a great article that really sums up the social and ethical problems that have been facing the fashion industry for years.
I have to say, as someone who has never really followed trends, this article really summarized what I dislike about the fashion industry. I used to hate fashion with a fiery passion—why wasn’t my body type represented? Or my style? Nothing ever fit, nothing ever looked good on me. I learned to develop my style over time, but still have some social anxiety even when I look my best. The root of the problem? Definitely fast fashion and its ilk, which shames every consumer who doesn’t buy into the latest mini-trend. This conspicuous consumption, as described by Durrant, harms the planet, threatens culture, and kills the soul.

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