Friday, July 30, 2010

the brain is trendy

I read a lot of fashion magazines, industry information, and preview countless photographs of runway collections and designers' latest goods. I really make an effort to stay in the marketplace, so I can see what real people want, try to understand their perspective and thought (or lack thereof) process, and especially to provide benchmarking and market demographic analysis. It's an ongoing effort - designers want to be creative and make fashion, shareholders expect widespread commercial success, and customers want cutting edge yet easy to incorporate and execute looks.

Fashion shows aren't meant to be duplicated on just any street in your town. They're meant to inspire a particular trend or emphasis, serve as a public relations blitz to build buzz and excitement for the designer and current collection, and to entertain. Think about it - if your hairdresser wore head-to-toe McQueen or Dior to cut and style your hair, you'd be so distracted and probably wouldn't trust him. Imagine a grocery store full of customers all clad in couture - you'd be so distracted that you'd forget why you were there in the first place.

Fashion to me is like a diet. Your doctor might recommend a new food to eat, or foods to avoid, or a special exercise plan. Your friends and family might also all try to chime in (whether asked or not) on how you should be living. And there's an unlimited stream of internet, radio, television, and print advertisements by an even bigger supply of companies trying to sway your dietary decisions as well. But only you know what's best for your diet. As for fashion - designers create months and even years in advance collections that might be totally wrong (or totally right!) without you particularly in mind. Stylists share their ideas. Magazines and television programing highlight what they think. And advertisements tell you what they think you can't live without. Everyone weighs in and wants a portion of your closet space, and more importantly, your wallet.

Sometimes I think the information en masse now available, thanks to the internet, satellite television, and mobile communications devices, has really done us a disservice. Does it really impact your life and livelihood to know that the price of raisins in Montana is $.30 less per pound than the price of raisins at your local grocery store? By the time you 1) figure out how to get to Montana, or even order some for shipment, you've spent much more than you could have saved.

Look at the varying food categories. Do you only buy "organic" or "natrual" or "low-sodium" or "low-calorie" or "low-fat" or "locally grown" or "hydroponic"? Do you buy from a wholesale warehouse, a locally owned grocer, a speciality shoppe, or a farmers market? No matter what your spending choices include, someone's going to weigh in. Some farms go out of their weight to be ECONOMICAL in growing their crops - so they may try to use environmentally friendly techniques - but sometimes they need reinforcement to control/protect their goods (I read in July's GQ magazine about a farm in New York that tries to use organic preventative measures, but sometimes only chemicals or manmade options are effective, just like honey and lemon can do only so much for a sore throat before your doctor needs to prescribe antibiotics to get the job done properly!). So technically the farm isn't considered "natural" or "organic" - even though they've gone out of their way to be fiscally and environmentally responsible.

The same can be applied to fashion. As much as the folks at Peta want to stop the incorporation of fur and leather, it will never succeed. Think about it - back in the day, before the widespread availability of nylon, polyblended everything, and synthetic fabrics - everything was "all natural and organic" - from the leather, cotton, silk, and fur. That's pretty much all the materials available. And they were earth sourced. I'm not saying we need to walk around like cavewomen with fur pelts and leather loincloths.

What I am saying is that WE NEED TO LIGHTEN UP! Eat what you want, when you want. Wear what want, because you love it - not because a poorly dressed stylist who is getting paid to tell you what they think is trending for the season says so. When you start living for you, making educated, thoughtful decisions, you'll really look good. Because we all know - when you look good, you feel better. And when you feel better, you look best.

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