Fashion is probably the truest reflection of our economic status. It is a common ground that no human being can deny being part of even if they are genuinely disinterested in it. However, the current climate in which fashion exists blurs one’s ability to show individuality. Perhaps this is due to fast fashion and intensified peer pressure through social media, but the concept of personal style has been superseded by what is trending as opposed to what one truly wants.
Overriding personal taste for the sake of trends turns one into a mere copycat. This is not limited to apparel but extends to beauty trends and lifestyle as well. One look through Instagram’s explore feed and you will see some of us have come to look like each other with the same heavy contours and well-shaped brows. Our goals to travel to the same places and do the same fitness routines have aligned too.
And if they do not align, there is a constant subconscious reminder that this is what you should want. According to Tangney and Dearing, 2003, the negative emotional experience of embarrassment and guilt arises from social misdeeds. That means most of us will likely embrace the sway of popular opinion.
This week when Kanye West, who I like to refer to as a rapping Kardashian, broadcast his controversial political views and insensitive commentary on slavery, and there was a deafening silence from those who are affiliated with his brand. Not his music brand, but his apparel and footwear that for some strange reason flies off the shelves. West who referred to his breakdown as a “breakthrough,” has had a deal with popular German brand Adidas since 2013.
CEO of the company Kasper Rorsted stated in an interview, “It’s very clear to us that we’re a sports company; we want to change people’s lives through sport.” Adding to that, he said, “We neither comment nor speculate on every single comment that our external creators are making. Kanye has been and is a very important part of our strategy and has been a fantastic creator, and that’s where I’m going to leave it.”
Well if that isn’t a refined and condensed version of ‘we just care about the money’. I don’t know what is. However, despite how aggravating Rorsted’s statement was, the reality is that Adidas is a strong global brand. Its products meet the price points of varying consumer demographics. And there is the notion that once the approval of anything race related comes from someone of the same race it is verified. It apparently carries a different weight, one which leads to supposed acceptance, even more so in this season of ‘alternative facts’.
This is essentially the problem: views and opinions that are shaped only by popular consensus. We as human beings are now tending to rule out informed opinion. Possibly this is because of fear of isolation, but it is with this same anxiousness that we approach every other aspect of our lives. In reality, our options are inexhaustible, but we seem to narrow our choices down to only those that make airtime.
Will Yeezy’s sneaker collaboration continue to thrive? More than likely. Why? Because we have become uncomfortable with reality and we follow without question until the direction switches. So, for now, most people won’t think it’s a choice to not buy products designed by Kanye solely because of his politics. Yes, they are still trending. This is the current fogginess in which fashion exists: it blurs one’s ability to show individuality and threatens our value systems.