Fashion and Inner Self
The fashion industry is one of the major economic sectors in modern world. Fashion related industries make up a large number of clientele market across Western economies (Nam, 2007, p. 102). The term fashion means the dressing style of an individual, footwear, hairstyle and accessories. It media coverage, fashion has taken a center stage and it can arguably be one of the most defining elements in the industry.
Fashion industry today also appears in many media forms including televisions, print media and social media. It is a growing and a dynamic aspect bearing in mind that an idea or an item can only remain fashionable for a short period of time. People are also spending most of their time and money in style as every person tries to maintain speed with the latest fashion trends. The question is where do they draw their motivation from? Is the desire to purchase trendy items an intrinsic phenomenon?
Therefore, this paper evaluates fashion and the inner self and goes ahead to refute the idea that fashion is a reflection of the personality of an individual. An individual’s choice of clothing and general makeup has to reflect their personality. According to Schiermer, one can tell a person’s character by looking at the dressing, (2010, p.89).
Even though Lee theory can be applicable, modern fashion is enhancing the creativity of an individual of some designers and stylists. In rare cases, people design personal outfits based on the fact that they depend on professional designers. Additionally, there are people who only rely on what is on offer in the market and is in many cases, ready-made outfits. These are ready made products and are often produced in large quantities therefore in the end, many people purchase same products and may only be differentiated by color.
The stylist is also promoting individualism, and over time, they brand it. The individuals who consume pre-designed products should not be considered as revealing their inner self but the character of the clothing designer. It is also essential to note that fashion and style are a set of habits that a person adapts to over time.
Fashion preference often changes with time and the environment. The choice of fashion of individuals is also influenced by their daily activities and people around them. According to Lee (2003, p. 290), style is based on the opinion of other people, their class, achievement and character. A person can dress in a specific way based on the image they want to portray. The image however varies depending on the audience of a person.
For instance, a person can choose different outfits when attending an event in the city or at the countryside. Therefore, the sense of fashion is intrinsically inspired and more dependent on what other people will think. People in modern society are emulating their role models and mentors.
Psychologists have displayed that people are often obsessed with the idea of role models life (Lee, 2003, p. 287). Therefore, they subscribe to their dislikes and likes which include accent and dress code. Many young people for instance are inspired by celebrities including politicians and artists. Even though it can be argued that a person express inner self by emulating a role model, dressing like a specific character doesn’t have anything to do with inner self.
In this relevance, their fashion does not reflect their individualism but their desire to be like some characters in the society. Apart from the influence of role models in the society, an individual’s taste of fashion can be influenced by peer pressure. According to a research carried out by Nam and others, the influence of peer is a very strong factor when it comes to determining the choice of clothing of an individual and other fashion features (2003, p. 104).
A male student for instance can be willing to grow long hair but since doing so will set him aside from the others, he becomes a quick target for tutors for questioning. Therefore, he decides to shave to be like other students. The decision of the boy in this case is formed by choice of peer as opposed to his personal decision. Peer influence on fashion is also quite robust amongst teenagers but the style they settle for at their age is more likely to be carried over to adulthood (Lee, 2003, p. 289).
When a specific fashion is employed with a sole purpose of fitting to a peer group, then it does not reflect the inner self of a person but the mutual group character. Marketing is as a result an essential factor in determining how a given product is received in the market. Fashion designers acknowledge the power of marketing in selling ideas thus making use of it.
A new trend today is highly marketed through the media as a way of convincing people to adopt it. Many of trendy items have been endorsed by the media via regular reference. Clothing brands for instance have gained a lot of popularity in the media following a specific event that offers details to the dress code of a person in attendance.
From the promo persuasion, many people may end up embracing a specific style. The style implemented in this scenario does not have a connection with the inner self of a person because the individual is only responding to the advertisers call. Additionally, fashion and style have for a long period now been seen as a reflection of the financial capability of a person.
Is financial status a reflection of their inner self? According to Docherty and Hann, the fashion taste of a person will change based on their changing level of income (1994, p. 286). While the middle class group and the rich compete on the latest items, the unemployed and the poor are often concerned with hiding their nudeness.
Docherty and Hann also go ahead to explain that rich people are more likely to purchase ostentatious items as a show of class, even without valuing the item (1994, p. 286). Jewelry, expensive cars and clothes are among fashion symbols that are stored to signify wealth. People clearly can dress in a way they wish to not because they are stylish but because they are not capable financially. Others conversely are subscribing to fashions that they have little interest with just to show off their wealth.
Culture is additionally one of the major factors that affect the taste and preference of fashion industry. Many people according to Schiermer have been victims of culture and are embracing what their parents imparted to them (2010, p 92). They also do not have any intention of portraying a given image via their dress code. Therefore, their style is mainly related to their inner self but with their cultural background.
Some types of necklaces for instance are kept as protective charms amongst traditional communities. Descendants from the communities will be forced to wear such necklaces as charm despite the fact that they may personally not like them. Therefore, there should be a clear distinction between fashion trends that conceal the personality of an individual and his or her culture.
Religion is additionally one of the factors that have been identified to influence fashion choices of individuals. Holy books from different religions define what is expected of believers especially when it comes to clothing (Docherty & Hann, 1994, p. 288). For example, amongst the Muslims, Muslims men are customary expected to use turbans to cover their heads and women should do the same with ‘hijabs’.
Additionally, Muslim women are expected to cover themselves, head to toe using a black headscarf for the head and loose fitting black manteaux on the rest of the body. However, this is gradually changing because religion blends with modern fashion trends. Even though Muslim women are embracing fashion, their options are however still limited based on the fact that they have to observe the teachings of the Koran.
The choice of style of a person may not reveal character and inner self necessarily because it only displays the outward appearance. One also cannot claim to understand the character of another person by looking at the clothes they are wearing. The main purpose as to why people dress in a specific way additionally is to protect their bodies, for instance, one can wear a hat to protect the face from ultraviolet rays.
A hat does not have any connection to the character of a person. Additionally, the idea that a person’s personality may be judged by virtue of outward look has greatly impacted the choice of clothing. The society for instance attributes some careers to specific dress codes. Anyone joining the professions will have to dress accordingly as a way of conforming to the expectations of the society and as a result, the fashion choice in such careers is predetermined.
Clearly, fashion does not reflect the inner self of a person because there are many external issues affecting the choice of fashion of a person. The perception of style by a person may also not be reflected in clothing, accessories, shoes and hairstyle they are wearing. There are many limiting factors including economic, cultural, social influence and religion and they have a larger impact on the choice of style of a person as opposed to personal view.
Therefore, it is not right to link the personality of a person to their fashion sense. What’s more, people can dress based on the expectations of the society and this may not be necessarily be coherent to their personalities.
Docherty, C. A., & Hann, M. A. (1994). Stylistic Change in Womenswear Products Part II: The Relationship Between Hem Length and Various Economic Indicators. Journal of The Textile Institute, 85(2), 283-287. Retrieved on 17th march 2014 from http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00405009408659027#.UyauMaiSzD4
Lee, M. (2003). Fashion Victim: out love-hate relationship with dressing, shopping, and the cost of style. New York: Broadway Books.
Nam, J., Hamlin, R., Gam, H. J., Kang, J. H., Kim, J., Kumphai, P., & Richards, L. (2007). The fashion‐conscious behaviours of mature female consumers. International Journal of Consumer Studies, 31(1), 102-108. Retrieved on 17th march 2014 from http://50plus.kro.nl/data/media/db_download/34_4ccaa7.pdf
Schiermer, B. (2010). Fashion victims: on the individualizing and de-individualizing powers of fashion. Fashion Theory: The Journal of Dress, Body & Culture, 14(1), 83-104. Retrieved on 17th march 2014 from http://curis.ku.dk/ws/files/33251173/Fashion_victims_fashion_theory_.pdf