Is “Fashion” just a toned down term for consumerism?

For once in the posts I write, I can say that what I am writing about does not apply to me. I have never been, as the title of The Kinks 1966 song says, A Dedicated Follower Of Fashion.

The current definition of “fashion” according to the Oxford English Dictionary is

“a popular or the latest style of clothing, hair, decoration, or behaviour.”


and yes, it is all these things and it changes quickly, just as quickly as the fashion houses and designers and retailers can convince us that what we wear is out of date.

The truth of course is that, unless you can afford that one, exclusive item of clothing that no one else has, whatever cheap copy you buy is out of date by the time it is purchased. Not only is it out of date, neither do you show any individuality, when you just follow the heard of unthinking ‘fashionistas’ ,blindly buying what the designers, brands, retailers, magazines and advertisers say is fashionable.

Why? Because what we buy in the high street shops is just a cheap imitation of that one ,exclusive item that we can’t afford. By the time we can buy its copy in high street shops, the designers are already working on the next thing, if it is not already designed and waiting to go into production.

Advertisers tell us to express our individuality but as soon as we put on a brand, our individuality is gone because anyone else can also buy that brand. There is nothing ‘individual’ about wearing what someone else told you to, or some advertiser persuaded you. That just makes you gullible.

Most clothes, even fairly cheap ones, last years but fashion is fleeting so they are thrown away long before they wear out. We are are told we must by different clothes this year, this season and great numbers of gullible people listen and do just that. I often wonder if those of us who do not follow fashion are more free (I use “free” advisedly). We wear what we want to, not what someone else has told us we should or what we think will matter to other people.

I find it ironic that the kind of clothes I wore 35 or so years ago are currently “fashionable”. I had a pair of jeans back then, that could only be purchased in dark blue and took years to fade. I had them long enough for them to fade naturally, without paying a fortune for pre-washed, faded jeans that are nothing more than a supposed ‘fashion statement’. I wore them not for fashion but as their original 1873 designer intended, hard wearing working trousers that were suitable for the kind of work I was employed on in those days.

A more current irony is all the ‘bright young things’ lecturing us ‘mature’ generation about green issues, at the same time as they are wearing the latest fashion; what is environmentally friendly about that? Buying new clothes before the ones you have are worn out, or for children grown out of, is just consumerism but a significant number of people can’t see it, or likely just don’t want to. They actually believe that Fashion is important.

I tell you: do not be worried about clothes. After all, isn’t the body worth
more than clothes?  Look how the wild flowers grow: they do not work or make clothes
for themselves. Not even King Solomon with all his wealth had clothes as beautiful as
one of these flowers. So do not start worrying: ‘Where will my clothes come from ?’

Paraphrased from Matthew 6: 25-34 GNT



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