Fashion Week has always been the epitome of glamour for the apparel industry in the U.S. The waifish models with impossibly moody facial expressions sauntered down glossy runways as human coat hangers. Adorned in upcoming styles from jewel-encrusted gowns to parachute pants and plaid bralettes, they represented the “cool girl” that you could not be. Yet, aspired to be.
High Fashion at its core is aspirational and that is what seems to be what’s kept fashion weeks moving along as they always have. Then again, can an entire production be kept running purely on exclusivity or will it eventually die out?
Since the dawn of the industry, a selection of people at the supreme fashion houses, magazines and other firms have determined the trends for each season based off what they saw on the catwalk. Regular people have traditionally not had ability to sway, let alone control, trends. Fashion was an exclusive world. Now, the old sartorial hierarchies have been shattered due to the upsurge in social media.
The same editors and fashion elite still have their place at the front rows of any major designer showcase. Just now the person sitting two seats down from Anna Wintour (and her sunglasses) is a digital influencer. Instead of hoarding all of the juicy details from the show for an upcoming issue of Vogue, or to feel self-important, the digital guru is live streaming, tweeting and snapping the entire show. Fashion now just became inclusive. No longer are mere mortals like us waiting months until we can see what happened behind the (very) closed doors at Lincoln Center.
Because of their reach, bloggers and everyday people are influencing designers and magazines instead of the other way around. The monumental shift has forged an acceptance for freedom of style, as well as a choice to adopt or reject particular trends. This is turn has lessened the gravitas of the runway shows as consumers are deciding for themselves how fashion works for them. Not the other way around. So how can fashion weeks still keep their cachet? In an industry based on innovation and change? I think they will find a way.