Shall over sharing kill fashion?
The idea is not new. Vanessa Friedman published a couple of days ago a great article in the New York Times titled “Fashion becomes a victim of its own over sharing”.
According to her (and I totally share her opinion), the trends that come out of the four-week circus of shows otherwise known as fashion month, the collections, and all the discussion that defined them, were practically a cautionary tale about the downside of the web.
Note, she clearly stated that she was not talking about the dark side of the web: the lawless digital underground where humanity’s worst impulses can be indulged, nor the trolling (and mobbing and cyber bullying you name it) that occurs on social media, but about the insidious slope of over sharing.
It all began with the confusion created by the lag between what happens on the runway and is immediately available for visual consumption and the time at which said products are available for actual consumption –a six-month gap.
Retailers complain that live streaming and Instagram are responsible for falling sales: people see a dress, they want it, and if they can’t get it, they move on. The irony, is that while “the original products” need six months to hit the shops, fast fashion giants like Inditex and H&M have plenty of time to reinterpret those trends at best (or literally copy them) and offer months in advance (with an obscene price discount tag) to its hungry clientele.
In that context, some labels, like Burberry and Tommy Hilfiger, switched to a see-now, shop-now model, meaning they show fall instead of spring. Companies like Moda Operandi, who focus on pre-orders for the next collection, make even more unclearly where we are or when we are. Not to talk about what we should by: who remembers now the highlights of the Autum/Winter collection 2016/2017 shown in Paris, Milan or New York last March?
Not to forget Kim Kardashian West robbery in Paris (although I promised myself some months ago I would never name her, but if someone epitomizes this trend of over sharing is definitely she). All her media social activity was blamed for the theft, which is to say that she, and everyone who saw her, was not only sharing her jewelry but also her movements online for pretty much all to see and record. Who needs satellite tracking when you have social media?
For an industry that one thrived on, and was defined by, elitism, fashion has become awfully transparent. Make a product: show it to the world, have a show: everyone in attendance or on the runway is revealed. There is almost not mystery anymore. And rarely do people stop to ask themselves if the long-term payoff for the quick post is worth it.
The pressure for the new and the constant online is endless. And the truth is that not one of us in immune to the pressure to fill the limitless space of the Internet. Yet just because you have taken a picture does not mean you have to share it with the world. Just because you have created a product does not mean everyone needs to see it A.S.A.P. As Mrs. Friedman says: “we should all stop and think before we post. In that pause, elegance lies”.