Very little of us can say that the technological revolution hasn’t altered our day-to-day lives – the internet in particular has blown our previous standards to bits and allowed us to stay connected in a more intimate way than ever before. Our new communication platforms mean that information of all kinds can be shared across the world with the tap of a screen – and that really is something, especially for today’s fashion industry.
To say the internet is big is like saying the universe is ‘on the large side.’ There is an incomprehensible amount of target customers out there, coming from all over the globe. It truly is survival of the fittest for online fashion brands – knowing your target audience down to the very last detail, having the means to accommodate a diverse array of wants and needs and being able to cope with a fickle and forever changing market place. The internet can be fast and relentless, which means trends certainly are more changeable and rapid than ever before. So for some, the technological age is about as welcome as a fart in a spacesuit.
But fashion is capricious and she must be if she is to fulfil her duties. Trends are an important form of social commentary for people of all walks of life, especially since the arrival of digital technology. Society and its affairs are fleeting, so it is necessary for the latest styles and fashion blogs to be just that – so we can record humanity’s proceedings accurately and provide a narration of our cultural climate. Whether some advanced futuristic race will be checking our phones for fashion tips in 10,000 years’ time is anybody’s guess. But I think it would bring them as close to touching our minds and souls and they could ever get. So for this reason, the internet and its effect on the fashion industry’s speed and efficiency is a godsend.
Although modern communication is a means of sharing information and interacting with others, it can also distance us from other activities and people. We can sometimes forget how to network in our unplugged lives, giving us a feeling of loneliness and detachment. Isn’t fashion/art supposed to bring us together? Should we really mix something so desensitizing with something so passionate? Perhaps not – but if the raw emotion behind fashion and art isn’t enough to thaw the apathy that this technological age has brought, I doubt anything will be.
Because fashion can be so custom-built, it can also be a form of expression. For a lot of us, it’s a unique way of exhibiting who we are to the world. In this digital era information is well documented, so we have access to new ways to dress on a bigger scale than ever before – there are more phones in the audience than humans at contemporary fashion shows! Some people may worry that individuality will disintegrate, because ideas are shared so broadly now. But if everybody really is unique, I don’t think this will be an issue. Everybody has their own way of doing and wearing things, they just have more choice than before.
So what’s the verdict? Is social media fashion’s enemy or ally? Public communication is expanding and accelerating at an alarming rate and this can be daunting. But if I take a step back, I find myself thankful that this technological era arrived – in the name of art, progress and all of the cute shoes I’ve found on the web.