Fashion is a worldwide phenomenon. From small kids to old people, almost everyone is familiar with the latest trends whether they like it or not. Fashion cannot be undermined especially given the sale numbers. For instance, the global apparel retail market is currently worth $1.34 trillion in retail sales per year. If footwear and jewelry are included, that value rises to around $2 trillion. These numbers may show fashion as an indispensable tool however I’d like to differ from this argument. Fashion, in reality, has put immense and unnecessary pressure on individuals. It has created such high standards of evaluation that people have forgotten the true meaning of fashion; to dress as one likes. Therefore, fashion is not really important because it puts the individual in a position where they cannot express themselves freely without wanting to keep up with others.
The first argument as to why fashion should not be considered very important is because it’s unrequired. Fashion is given too much importance in society. So much that the level of obsession regarding fashion statements has only been increasing. With the emergence of e-commerce and focused apparel branding, the ‘importance’ of fashion has been restated again and again. In 2017, a total of 60 million online transactions occurred on the fashion e-commerce sites themselves. The market for fashion from then has only grown. Buying apparel is not bad, however, the mentality of wearing one to prove yourself is wrong and people who tend to divert away from fashion trends are often targeted by fashion lovers or ridiculed for their ‘fashion sense’. People have forgotten that what defines an individual is their ideals and personality, not some high brand clothes.
Secondly, fashion does not restrict itself to clothing sense but also extends to body style.
What most people neglect while talking about fashion is the requirement of it to have a particular body size and shape. The fashion trends demand you to not only wear clothes of a particular style but also for you to have a certain body size and weight. This puts immense pressure and creates self-doubt and complexity amongst people who do not possess these “standard” bodies. An example of how fashion induced ‘body-standard’ can lead to harmful situations was seen in August 2018, when a 22-year-old aspiring fashion designer committed suicide for the continuous body shaming attacks that she was bombarded with.
Thirdly, fashion can become an unhealthy addiction. This statement especially rings true for kids and teenagers where keeping up with latest trends and incorporating them in their wardrobes becomes an addiction. With every change in trend, the addicted individual is made to change their sense of style. The addiction can sometimes become so severe that individuals tend to spend a huge amount of their time just dressing up. Research has indicated that shopping addiction affects even the adults. It is estimated that 5-7% of the adult population, who stay in developed countries are addicted to shopping. The constant anxiety and social appearance that comes with this addiction can only lead to worst-case scenarios in the individual’s life. Hence, fast fashion addiction can prove lethal in daily lifestyle as everyday worries like ‘looking good’ and ‘keeping up’ can occupy a major part of the individual’s thought process.
To justify fashion as important, many arguments have been put forward by the fashion-lovers. One of the argument states that fashion is a way to ‘express your personality’. The way one dresses reveals the type of person they are and can help us judge them better. For instance, a person who is well dressed and in formal clothes is chosen for a job prospect over a person who wears joggers or simple informal clothes for the interview. This is because, formal clothes imply your seriousness towards the job as well as showcases your personality to be that of a neat and immaculate manner. But I’d like to emphasize that this argument does not stand true for every section of society. Fashion comes with money restrictions and not everyone can afford ‘branded’ or even ‘good-looking’ clothes. Nowadays if you wish to look fashionable you are required to have money in your wallet. As the trend rises the cost of fashion apparels also rise, making it impossible for poor people or middle-class people to look ‘fashionable’. Hence, limiting our perspectives to just people’s clothes is very superficial according to me.
In conclusion, fashion in its regular description is not ‘very important’. One should not be pressurized to follow a certain trend or certain clothing style in the name of fashion. Not only is it utterly wrong but also insensible. A person should dress according to their comfort and likes, not to some forced trends or fashion “standards”. After all, ‘Beauty lies in the beholder of the eyes.’