Wednesday, March 6, 2013

How the Internet Is Killing the Fashion Industry

The Atlantic ran a satisfyingly dismissive response to how live video streaming of fashion shows will damage the fashion industry. I'm fond of fashion, but I admit it's only skin deep, no matter what fashion shows say about a good image boosting confidence. Even if you love fashion, you may not necessarily love the fashion industry.

In The Devil Wears Prada, Miranda Priestly gives a lecture on how all of our fashion choices are dictated by fashion designers, whose ideas then trickle down to the little people (sometimes through Zara, which admittedly does basically plagiarize).

Overall though, I'm like get over it. After a certain amount of time, copyright on designs should expire, such as on the wrap dress. Also, we don't need gatekeepers to tell us how to dress well. Sometimes someone like Coco Chanel comes along and revolutionizes things, but there are geniuses in every field. Designers, take your place among the other starving artists of the world. Fashion writers, you will have to adapt the way of TV guide writers.

Another endangered species is the model. Now modeling is challenging in its own way, but still, it's pretty wildly overpaid. There's a couple of reasons why they may see their job numbers decline.

Now you can be a model too!
One, product placement and endorsements are replacing photo ads and even filmed commercials, which means models will be replaced by actors and, well, bloggers. I've been browsing fashion blogs and Pinterest lately, and I notice that quite a few outfits are curated not by professionals, but by users on Polyvore or just a girl with a camera and access to social media. That's all you need to be an amateur model nowadays. You may not get the perks, but you'll get all of the intrinsic rewards.

And it works. It's unlikely that any one person can generate as much as a "professional," but the aggregate is more than what professionals alone could produce.

Of course, there's always the chance that we as a population may start dressing ugly, but more likely we'll dress boring. Not that the fashion industry is always creative, but some advertisements are like works of art. How will we continue to get them?

Don't worry. There will be less fashion jobs, but there will always be the elite. In a way, the inundation of the amateur might elevate the truly professional, just like the preponderance of free downloadable movies that we can watch on our laptops makes going to a movie theater special. There will be competition, but the competitiveness of the top notch positions will not tolerate mediocrity. Plus there will always be the many amateur fashionistas who are willing to experiment for free, because they have nothing to lose, and everything to gain. Don't worry, you can still be the next Coco Chanel.

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