Why Fashion And Personal Style Are Not The Same
Eugene Tong. Photo: Adam Katz Sinding
With the numerous fashion bloggers, influencers and Hypebeasts, “fashion” is a term that is almost as synonymous to glamour or style. Yet, fashion and style are terms that are often used interchangeably, when they actually couldn’t be more different. In order to understand the difference, this article aims to delve deeper into the two aspects that inadvertently form a part of our daily life and modern culture.
People will also have their own definition of what means what for example style could be described as an everlasting and longing look and fashion as a fad or runway trend - both valid points but still not quite the full truth. One thing is for certain though they both are intertwined and need each other to cohesively work together.
Korean Rapper - Bewhy. Photo: HYPEBEAST
What Even Is Fashion?
So, what is fashion exactly? Fashion can be described as an expression of what’s popular during a certain time through the use of clothes, footwear and even make-up.
Fashion isn’t always just about trend surfing - fashion is a beautiful creative outlet for a lot of individuals. Fulfilling the urge of something new and exciting - the latest. Fashion for some is a never ending cycle of newness. Furthermore, fashion can also be an imagination. Inspired from nature, peer pressure, or our previous experiences and now social media. Context also comes into play, as it remains a social and cultural phenomenon that is often dictated by the desire for change. In fact the overarching theme in fashion is change. This is because fashion is often dictated by a number of factors. However, the number one factor remains to be seasons:
The Different Seasons of Fashion:
Out of the four mentioned seasons, Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter are the most important and dominant within the industry. Due to this, these two main seasons have their own fashion weeks. Paris being the crème de la crème, followed by New York Fashion Week, Milan than Tokyo. Buyers, bloggers, designers and everyone else with their momma attend fashion week. With the soul purpose to review designers up coming season.
READ: Experiences: The Guide To Streetwear & Designer Shopping In Tokyo
With the above in mind, it would seem that fashion is always changing to suit a particular time or season. Therefore, it can easily be defined or termed as a trend.
Examples of personal style from Instagram: @cyruschow_, @brickybrozay, @chicha.am
How Fashion Is A Trend
Let us first define what a trend is. A trend can generally be defined as a certain aesthetic expression that is prevalent for a certain period of time - think Supreme the last 5+ years. It not only reflects what is most popular, but it also shaped by factors such as entertainment, lifestyle and celebrities just to mention a few. Notably, it is often short term.
Fashion connotes, what the latest and most popular look is, and so does the term, trend. The perfect example of a fashion trend is the popular Nike x Sacai Waffles. The Nike x Sacai Waffles were designed in the wake of making sneakers available for female sneaker heads. Nike x Sacai Waffles are one among many released sneakers specifically for women and designed by women. Ask yourself this honest question. Did you really want a pair of Sacai Waffles before your favourite blogger or influencer copped them early? The current change where top athletic brands such as Nike are now catering to the female population has been brought about by a number of factors. However, the overarching factor seems to be the fitness lifestyle that has taken over the covers of magazines and social media just to name a few (our current trend).
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This, then begs the question, is street style a trend? According to Allison Cooper, a Fashion Marketing Expert, street style is among the five key trends that shape fashion. Street style can be defined as looks that one generally sees every day on the streets and becomes inspired by them. Thus, one ends up dressing in a way that mimics a particular street style that they saw with somebody else on the streets. In response to this trend, numerous fashion houses now cater to street fashion. Fashion houses such as Fear Of God, Balenciaga, Vetements and Off-White are of course pioneers in the game. Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Prada and many other top fashion houses followed suit.
The king of personal style: Motofumi “Poggy” Kogi. Photos: Star Fashion, Highsnobiety & Vogue
What Is Style or Personal Style?
Now, as previously mentioned, there is a difference between fashion and style. Style is not dictated by the latest trends or seasons. Style or personal style is unique to an individual and goes beyond what he/she wears. It expresses who an individual is from the inside and often shines through your attitude, how you dress and even how you behave. It’s expressed in the way you treat others, speak, talk and even walk. It’s deeply rooted in what we want, how we think and what we do.
The former President, Barack Obama is the perfect example of an individual with personal style. After attending a Duke Basketball game sporting a black bomber jacket with the number 44 etched onto its sleeve, people went crazy over it. His customised Rag and Bone bomber jacket paid tribute to his presidency with the number 44. This means, that the jacket, which was customised to his liking and preferences, was personal to him. Not only paying homage to his time as president but exuding his personal style.
Barack Obama wearing his “44” bomber jacket. Photo: Huffington Post
Fashion Fades, Style Is Eternal
How many times have you heard of someone trying to define their personal style? You probably lost count, and maybe you are on that train yourself. If you’re struggling, you’re not alone. With just a few tips, finding your personal swag will be a breeze. Notably, we all have a personal style, it's discovering and expanding on it that usually the fun part. As you go about developing your personal style, keep in mind that style and function are one. This means, that whatever pieces of clothing, accessories and so forth, should be useful and practical.
Photos: Brittany Bathgate, Anthony Lee
Tips On Developing Personal Style:
Observe And Scout For Different Looks: This simply means that you observe and watch various brands and designers. What are their latest and/or old designs? Which ones are you most drawn to?
Use Social Media as your tool as well to keep tabs on fashion bloggers and influencers. They often sport the latest designs or showcase their own personal style preferences. Make mental notes of the outfits that you prefer, and you can even go as far as making a visual board on Pinterest - but remember, style and function.
Try Something New: Part of creating and defining your personal style is visualising. The other part is actually trying these outfits out for yourself. Don’t be afraid to try something new or different, regardless of whether they feel comfortable or uncomfortable.
Ignore Trends: Remember that trends are dictated by what’s popular at the moment and are often short term. Personal style should define you, your personal taste and lifestyle. It’s something you can wear in and out of season.
Focus on Value-Based Consumption: More and more shoppers, especially us Millennials, are focusing on purchasing goods and services that offer more quality than quantity. It’s easy to let the price tag dictate which outfits to purchase. However, by focusing on quality, you are able to purchase clothing that will last longer. Of course, it also lends to ensuring that you spend less since you are focusing on purchasing a few clothes that are of great quality. Another added advantage of purchasing clothes and items that are of quality will be their recyclability. In other words, if you wish to sell them during a wardrobe change, you can. Most of your pieces will hold if value or increase in value depending on the designer. So do your research!
In conclusion, style is a personal expression of who you are, your likes and dislikes, and so forth. It is inherently different from fashion as it's not dictated by time or season. Instead, it has the ability to impact and influence others and give people an idea of who you are. As well as attract like minded people who are genuinely interested in what you present.