Fast fashion is like social media

“Fashion changes, style remains”, reads Coco Chanel’s famous quote. Fashion has really changed in the last two decades.

The most significant change in textiles and especially in the clothing sector has been the drop of prices. For some reason, inflation, war, drought or even energy crisis affect general pricing; but not for clothing prices. Most of the sold clothes cost almost the same (or even less) than 10-15 years ago.

Fast fashion entered the market; a lot of clothes are bought and a single piece of clothing is worn for a short time. Consumer prices have fallen and a smaller share of income is now spent on textiles than before. However, consumption is increasing and at the same time the amount of textile waste is also increasing. Globally, textile production has increased tenfold since the 1980s.

The distortion of the textile industry can also be seen on the machine side. In machine investments, the price has become the deciding factor for many. Production machines are not bought with the same level of requirements as, for example, a car or a phone. After all, the features are decisive here, and we are ready to pay for good features. The same laws do not apply in the textile industry; production is wanted to be carried out as cheaply as possible, because it is thought that otherwise, you won’t succeed in the field. 

Could we go back to when textiles had value?

Social media is used a lot in self soothing way, to have fun and to pass the time. Social media and fast fashion have a lot of similarities.

Fashion used to have two to four seasons a year in accordance with the seasons; spring/summer and autumn/winter. As fast fashion became a more significant part of our capitalist society we now have 52 micro-seasons. The goal of fast fashion companies is that every time a consumer walks into a store (or browses an online store), they see something new.

In addition to the charm of novelty, we want to convey to the consumer that if you don’t buy this garment now, it won’t be available the next time you come to the store. This creates a perception of scarcity “you have to buy it now or you won’t get it”. This also makes the consumer want to come to the store as often as possible, because the selection is renewed and the store always has something new and interesting on display.

Social media works the same way. Many social media users post content possibly once a month or a couple of times a year. So not several times a day, when you would always get new content in your feed when you open the program. Social media platforms have fixed this by providing recommendations of accounts you might want to follow. With recommendations, social media platforms always offer you new and interesting content. The goal is to get you back and to consume more.