Thesis statement: Innovation and social media made consumers the biggest voice in fashion
A. The power of fashion, how it used to be
B. Why this position changed
C. How it affects:
- The Producer/Designer
D. How it will be in the future
The Rise of Consumer Power
Written by Lisa de Vries, March 2013
Fashion has, for a long time now, been one of the world’s most important and powerful businesses. The fashion business is a business of change, of innovation, creativity and collaboration. In this essay I am going dive deep into those four aspects, telling you about the change of power within the Fashion World, how innovation is one of the main reasons of this change, and how creativity and collaboration between producer and consumer will make the future of fashion. This essay explains why innovation and social media made consumers the biggest voice in Fashion.
The power of fashion, how it used to be
When you look at fashion in history, let’s say the 50’s and 60’s, you can see a clear role of power with the fashion designer. Fashion designers created personal art; they made collections made out of personal inspirations and personal taste. It was not about what the client or consumer wanted to wear, because if you where successful as a designer, the consumer wanted to wear whatever the designer made. What the designer made, became fashion. Looking at 1947, when Christian Dior invented the new look, people where used to other types of fashion during the World War II. Utilitarian and frugal styles dominated the period of the war, but Christian Dior decided to make a difference for women in that time. He had the “direct, unblushing plan to make women extravagantly, romantically, eyelash-battingly female.”1 After his fashion show, where he presented this new style, people thanked him for this new opportunity because it was not the choice and decision of the consumer to have this new style in their lives. It was Christian Dior, a fashion designer, who defined fashion in that time and gave the women new rules and guidelines how to dress like an independent woman.
Why this powerposition changed
This great power of the fashion designer slowly faded away through the years. With the changing in human behavior, the rising of the individual, people started to have their own preferences of style and wanted to show their own personality through their clothes. It became less about what the designer said fashion was, it became more about which
designer suited your personality best. Due to the new social groups and many different segments, trends where set and throughout the world people started to dress differently.2
Another micro environmental factor that has a big impact of the shift of power is technology. Like Winston Chesterfield says in an article for the website Men’s Flair3 about the power in fashion; internet has changed the world and gave the consumer information about fashion that originally only a few inside people knew. Starting with the fact that people did not have to wait for the fashion shows or for the fashion insiders to wear the clothes in public anymore; they could simply go on the internet and search for pictures of the new collections. Fashion became much more reachable for the public and thus less exclusive.4 After the possibility of seeing pictures of the new collections came the real video’s and after those even live streams of the fashion shows. These shows were no longer only for the exclusive and invited people, it was accessible for the public as well.
Other, more recent factors that had great impact on power within the Fashion industry are social media and online discussion platforms. These two factors give the ability to the consumer to have more volume and give them the tools to influence the big fashion companies. Public...