The new season has started – and by that I mean the fashion season. Shortly New York fashion week will start, followed by London, Milan and Paris. Fashion week is the time during which designers present their new collections to the public. All fashion lovers will gather to eat, sleep and breathe the latest fashion.
Most style magazines have already written about the fashion for the year 2016 – what stays, what goes and what upcoming trends we can expect to see. A fashion trend can be described as a new design that is highly wanted by the market at a certain point in time. The enormous demand will translate into large quantities being produced. Following, trends will eventually dominate the streets, magazines and online channels.
Fashion trends make a lot of people wonder: ‘Should I or shouldn’t I follow a trend?’
Every day we have to make a countless number of micro-decisions; ranging from what to eat to how to spend our free time. Because a lot of small decisions will not have a significant impact on our lives, it might seem more convenient to let someone else decide for us. Subconsciously, this is actually what happens to us sometimes. A good example of this is the phenomenon called ‘canned laughter’. Canned laughter refers to a laugh track that is inserted into TV shows and movies. The audience will hear this track at specific moments that are meant to be funny. Research found that people who were confronted with canned laughter, responded by reciprocating that behavior – they also started to laugh. This type of behavior is often an unconscious automated response. An explanation can be found in the fact that other people’s confirmation has a significant effect on an individual’s behavior (Cialdini, 1993). If everyone is doing something, we assume that this is the correct way of handling.
The same theory could be applied to fashion trends. If a lot of people are wearing certain apparel, it signals that it is socially accepted to wear these clothing items. The individual could be influenced by this and respond by also opting for the particular fashion pieces. Accordingly, it might be that your fashion choices are the result of an unconscious automated response to your surroundings.
Referring to the ‘canned laughter’ phenomenon, we might not always be the ones that are pulling the strings in our own lives – sometimes our surroundings are making the choices for us. We are influenced by what we see in magazines, on the streets and online. This means that whether or not to follow a fashion trend might not be a conscious choice after all. I’d say we are all fashion victims here!
Cialdini, R. B. (1993). Social inXuence: Science and practice (3rd ed.). New York: Harper Collins