What makes people, often irrationally, do one thing and not do another? What is the mechanism for implementing various trends in society through fashion? In this article we will analyze who controls fashion and what are the goals of the consumer society.
What is fashion?
If you look around, you can see many people are trying to follow the lattes fashion trends. From the published sociological researches, you can find out that more than a third of the Russian population are interested and try to follow fashion in general. Sociologists have determined that about 39% of Russians are really interested in fashion. Of these, 18% say that they dress in accordance with the latest fashion trends.
Fashion followers are mainly women and youth, but among them there are men and representatives of the older generation. According to fashion historian Alexander Vasiliev, Russians are more likely to follow fashion than Europeans.
“In France, no more than 7% of the population follow fashion, this tells that fashion in Russia is very in demand,” said Vasiliev.
The question arose, what is “Fashion”, for which a huge part of the population of our planet is chasing and is ready for everything for its sake? There are many definitions of the word “fashion”, here are some of them:
- Fashion is a combination of tastes and views that prevail in a particular social environment at a certain, usually short time.
- Fashion is the temporary dominance of a particular style.
- Fashion is a short domination of a certain taste in any area of life. In the narrow sense – the change of uniforms and patterns of clothing.
- Fashion is fragile, fleeting popularity.
- Fashion can determine the type or form of clothing and accessories, a set of ideas, principles of human behavior, social habits and etiquette.
Based on the above, a generalized definition of fashion can be made as follows:
Fashion is an array of information that contains certain images, behavioral and thinking algorithms. Fashion is a way of sustainable information dissemination in society.
Fashion can be about clothing, lifestyle, entertainment, art type, literature, architecture, cuisine and so on, which are popular in this society and in a certain period of time. An important characteristic of fashion is the desire to follow the new trends. The principle of novelty and popularity depends not so much on the objective time of creation of a product as on the moment of its occurrence in the system of selected values and recognition in society.
Everyone knows the famous expression of Bernard Shaw: “A fashion is nothing but an induced epidemic.” Real life shows us that Bernard Shaw was absolutely right.
A little bit of history
The history of fashion has its roots in tradition. Tradition is also a certain amount of information, as well as fashion, but there is no element of novelty in it.
People at all times wore certain styles of clothing with certain colors, decorated with patterns, which in the past, and still express their cultural and subcultural origin. Previously, people performed traditional dances, ceremonies, farewell, burial, wedding, etc..
The first signs of fashion appeared as a means of dividing society into segments. A selected part of society that positions itself as an “elite”, could afford some luxuries. Therefore, to separate themselves from the rest of the “crowd” they wore different clothes, had different manners, and so on. Various attire, etiquette, manners, habits, some rituals (tea drinking, visiting theatres, decorations, etc.) have become fashionable thus not only separated the “elite” from the crowd, but also divided it into even smaller segments.
The heyday of fashion was in the Middle Ages. The Crusaders brought information to Western Europe from the Levant about the exquisite fabrics and silk there. In Northern Europe, silk was imported and considered as a luxury material. Wealthy people could afford brocade from Italy and other expensive things.
With the advent of machine production, inexpensive clothing became available to the public. At the same time, fashion has become a global phenomenon that emerged in France in the XVII century. Throughout history, different countries have been the trendsetters of new tendencies in clothing. At the moment, Paris is considered to be the most “fashionable” city, but previously fashion was set by Italy, Spain and England.
Let us remind you that fashion is information, and the speed of its circulation has always depended directly on the current dominant technologies. With the development of trade, the synthesis of cultures took place, and information exchange has increased through people who have been traveled worldwide. And with the development of information technology, we all plunged into the information array on the planetary level, the speed of information dissemination has increased, and the ability to influence the mass statistics of human behavior through fashion gained enormous power.
The influence of fashion on your thinking
If we look at the human as a representative of the “reasonable person” type, you can see the presence of “herd behavior” algorithms in the psyche. And from this perspective, we can look at the root causes why people react to fashion. To survive in a pack / herd, two main forms of behavior can be distinguished:
- it either stand out and become a leader,
- or become like everyone else so that you are not considered an outsider.
Fashion allows to do both at the information level. Hence the desire of a certain part of society to immediately join the “latest trends”. This is especially noticeable in show business. Thus, movie stars and various media representatives are trying to secure the positions of the leaders, followed by a thoughtless crowd.
Another part of the public does not get involved immediately in the process of renewing their style, they usually wait for a little bit, and when most people were transformed according to the new trends, they also follow them, because none wants to be a “black sheep”.
Unfortunately, many try to assert themselves not with their brains, deeds, good things, but use external attributes for this: clothing, hairstyles, tattoos, piercings and so on. In other words, all these external attributes, if they are a priority, are in fact nothing more than an attempt to fill the inner emptiness and dissatisfaction of a person with himself.
We assume that this type of people believes that it will help them overcome some of their weaknesses and complexes. For example, the inability to get acquainted with a girl makes a guy dress “too stylish” making a claim to be classified as leader of the “pack”, tattoos give a “brutal look”, making the guy looks “cooler”, certain manners allow him to be ranked among some subcultures like “rappers” or “gangster”. However, these techniques only conceal, hide the weaknesses, without correcting them.
Examples of “fashionable” impact
The fact that fashion impact people by forcing (often ignoring common sense) to do one thing and not do another, has long been noticed. With the current development of information technologies at the global level, it would be strange if fashion were not used it as a tool to achieve certain goals. Let’s analyze some of the trends that can be seen if we look at the world culture with an understanding of technologies aimed at the psyche of people.
For example, emancipation began when purely men’s clothing became fashionable for women. Women, struggling with certain types of social dependency, eventually gained not freedom, but a new master.
Clothing that emphasizes “feminine features”, along with other technologies, has helped to introduce the cult of the naked body into society. Thus, it stimulates the change of life values and ideals through sexual instincts. Sex became the goal of most dating, but not a family. And sometimes sex even began to be equated with Love, hence, the fall of morality.
Now you can observe the introduction of such a phenomenon as “fagging”. Many people consider this word not literary, because it has more “decent” analogues, but we prefer to call everything by their proper names. A large set of tools is involved here, but we will analyze the influence of fashion. Fagging is inappropriate for most people because it is contrary to human nature and it will not be possible to introduce it quickly, so the process is going on in small, “invisible” steps. By the way, we described some part of this process in one of our articles: “Humor as a tool for managing society.”
Tight pants for boys are in fashion now, similar to those for women (the erasing of the gender border is happening – unisex). In trend now a new kind of male greeting: now men kiss, when they meet, this demonstrates various media stars. It turns out that fashion is not only for clothing, but also manners, specific verbal expressions. And their unnatural kisses differ from the traditional three-fold kiss in Russia as a usual way of expressing an affection for a guest (a “gest kiss” is a special kiss filled with great meaning, since a guest in Ancient Russia is a messenger of fate that can both improve and worsen the life of the hosts). In the trends now is “out of the ordinary” ways of self-expression, as well as a tendency to grant various awards exclusively to persons of non-traditional orientation. In fashion men’s hairstyles, which were recently considered exclusively female, pink color in men’s clothing, jewelry, hair dyeing, eyebrows tattooing. There are even men’s thongs!
This all works together using the Overton window technology, slowly breaking stereotypes and shifting the phenomenon from the category of “unacceptable” to the category of “acceptable”, and then, after several such shifts, fagging can become the norm in society.
There are a lot of different opinions on the Internet about the growing demand for tattoos, let’s express our opinion. We agree with the claim that the brand (mark) is the historical ancestor of the tattoo. Then the phenomenon was transformed, and one of the last properties was belonging to a certain subculture (for example, prison). What is the “trick” here? Any subculture has its own attributes (labels): ideals, values, behavior algorithms, etc. Having made a tattoo, you unconsciously “connected” yourself to this subculture, and the algorithms inherent in the subculture and tattoo symbols will now be manifested to some extent in your behavior. It is a social engineering in action.
What kind of things with the help of fashion remove from our lives? Chastity, modesty, naturalness in women, and masculinity in men.
To give the reader a more complete view of management via fashion, it is advisable to read one of our articles, where we in detailed analyzed the Full Control Function (CFF), where fashion was as one of the examples: “The full control function in life, or how to recognize someone else’s control”.
Control mechanism via fashion
The reader should not have the impression that fashion is undeniably bad. Fashion is just a tool, it can be used to promote not only bad things. Well, what good things are becoming fashionable these days? Let’s take a look, what are in trends – healthy lifestyle, sobriety, healthy teeth, shaped body, wellbeing, balanced diet, holistic treatment with herbs. There is much more. And although these phenomena are not as popular as others, but still the fashion for this is present and affects social processes.
The basis for the system to function are two factors.
- Algorithms of herd behavior (we already mentioned about it). They are embedded in human nature and allow society to survive in the early stages of evolution. People either aspire to become leaders or to become “like everybody else” in order not to become outcasts.
- The second factor is when a person becomes a part of the “crowd” and is completely oriented towards “authority” in everything.
Thus, a non-structural management of society occurs, when no one is forced to follow the fashion, but people “themselves” do as fashion prescribes.
How does something become fashionable? There are two ways.
A new idea is picked up by people because it harmonizes with their concept of life, with their ideals and values. And with the development of communications, ideas spread out quickly, and if the idea accepted by a certain number of people, then the idea become fashionable.
The second way is based on knowledge of management processes and knowledge of global fashion marketing industry. We believe everyone understand that fashion does not affect individual countries and peoples, it is a global phenomenon. It is clear that there are some local fashion trends, but in general, fashion has an impact on all of humanity. Accordingly, fashion is controlled by those people who manage global processes on the planet. Let’s call them the “global elite”. Let’s analyze the management process on the example of fashionable apparel. How many fashion designers are graduated annually? We think thousands. Do they all know how to design clothes? Yes. Are there many of them who can do this with talent? We think it’s a small percentage of the total, but it’s still a lot, lots of hundreds.
And how many fashion houses and couturier in the world determine all the global trends in clothes? Few. And these few “trendsetters” of fashion are chosen for this role because they meet certain parameters, including moral ones. For management purposes, plans are always made. There are also plans for global management of social processes. If the designer’s creations fit into the trends defined by the “global elite”, then such a person receives support (financial, informational, etc.). In the future, he only has to “feel” these trends and stay in their mainstream. The few couturiers do their job perfectly, so they are irreplaceable and always on the top.
New collections shown around the world are first accepted by various media personalities who play the role of leaders or authorities. Then, numerous companies, adapted for the mass consumer, produce clothes for the general public. And the crowd, following fashion trends, accepting new collection and thus promotes “global elite” goals. This is how various phenomena appear in society as if “out of nowhere”, “on their own”, and no one can “untwist” the tangle to the subject level in order to see from whom this phenomenon began to be introduced into life.
If we continue to talk about fashionable clothing, the question arises: why is it updated so often? We believe that the frequent change of styles and collections, first of all, does not allow to relax both those who dictate fashion and those who follow it. Thus, the attention of a person is switched to constant following of imposed rules in an accelerated mode, and the control process, in which the fashion is only a tool, falls out of his visibility. And secondly, it forces people to change apparels long before it is worn out. This forms a consumer society. In order for people to be able to change apparel often, industries are forced to work – from cotton producers to industry of energy. And people themselves are forced to work more to have the money to buy new apparel.
Why it is necessary for “global elite”? Fashionable clothing solves the issue of general employment, it is not a trivial issue, because people are forced to devote most of their daylight hours to work, with almost no time left for their own development.
If people have free time, they will spend it on searching for answers to fundamental questions: about the meaning of life, about the bright future. Sooner or later, people will figure out why we don’t live the way we think we should. And then the “global elite” will lose control, and they don’t want it. They preferred to create a consumer society where the planet’s resources are destroyed and mountains of garbage are created. But this cannot go on like this all the time. We will either exhaust the fossil resources and overwhelm the Earth with rubbish and perish, or we will change our way of life and start to live in harmony with Nature.
So, how should fashion look like in a rational society and how to achieve this state? First of all, the worldwide need to understand that fashion is an instrument of non-structural management that has final goals. These goals need to be identified, and then compared with your own goals. And if they are different, you have to pursue your goals even against the reaction of the majority. A person can stand out with his deed, his creations, but not with some external attributes. Clothing should not only be comfortable, beautiful and clean, but also harmoniously correlate with the human nature. Habits should help us stay healthy and beautiful; hobbies should lead us to self-development. It’s the only way we and our descendants will have a bright future. We have everything to make it a reality.
Source: School of Analytics
Translated by Nata Kalliss