Here I list some factors which, in my opinion, drives the fashion industry
- Our human need for social status. Some people follow trends to fit in and some people use fashion to stand out. Either way, this need to be accepted in society and also the need for high social status has led us to make fashion a tool for status. We often perceive ourselves and others based on external appearances which include the way we dress. Also, luxury and designer goods have become a status symbol and something that we can display for the world to see and acknowledge our status.
- Our want for instant gratification drives the fast fashion industry as the trends come and go rapidly. Garments are readily available. As soon as you purchase something, before you know it, a new trend has appeared. This drives our ‘need’ for new clothes. We want to buy items as fast and as at low a cost as possible, without stopping to think about the consequences.
- Psychological distance. Our clothes are manufactured far far away and out of our sight. This makes it difficult to know, or to even imagine, where they came from. Additionally, manufacturers are often non-transparent about their processes and resources.
- Consumerism and materialistic values. To many people, the act of buying or receiving material goods will bring us happiness. This misconception leads us to constantly want new things. Many people consider shopping to be a leisure activity which might explain why we perceive pleasure from a good bargain. We treasure clothes less when they come easily to us and at a low cost, creating the culture of ‘throw away fashion’.
- Perceived obsolescence. Trends are the epitome of perceived obsolescence, driving us to buy trend after trend before realising we have a full closet—full of clothes we no longer want to wear as they have gone out of trend. Comparably, people in the past treasured their clothes, after saving up to buy them, taking good care of each item till it was worn in.