The Fashion Industry Is One Big Costume Party
Twice a year, once in spring, and once in fall, the fashion industry hosts a gigantic costume party. The costume party is a multinational event. New York, Paris, Milan, London and several other cities put on elaborate parties and runway shows during Fashion Week. The runway shows preview what men and women should wear in any season of a particular year. The extravagant costumes on display during Fashion Week represent a culmination of creativity, nationalism, whimsy, privilege, religion and national pride. New clothing designs are outrageous, melancholy, colorful, and they always give the media something to talk about.
Apparel expresses social, political, and religious significance. What men and women wear everyday tells a story, and that story is a combination of dreams, expectations, humor and confidence. People want other people to see who they believe they are, even if the belief is fantasy rather than reality. Our wardrobe is a visual information board where we post our social status, strengths, occupation, nationality and creativity. Just like wearing costumes from the Cosplay store, everyday clothing confirms the messages we want to send to the world. That message says we are warriors, superheroes, pirates, warlords, pop stars, film heartthrobs or a president in the secret world that lives within us.
This external expression of our internal lives has been part of the human psyche for hundreds of years. Displaying a particular hierarchy and class were requirements, and nationalism was added to those expressions thanks to the desire to mimic military uniforms. But modern day clothing expressions are not like the expressions of the 17th, 18th and 19th century. It’s no longer mandatory to wear clothes that signify a particular status or culture. The old uniforms that people had to wear are gone, for the most part. There are new-age freestyle costumes on display now. People are able to announce they are businesspeople, students, doctors, lawyers, and politicians without fanfare.
But the main message in 21st-century clothing is, all people are equal and deserve equal opportunities and rights. There is a badge of honor on display when men or women wear a pair of ripped up jeans or a leather bombardier jacket. There is a sense of pride and a call to action when men and women wear pink clothing and accessories. And there is an element of coolness in a black T-shirt and a pair of jeans when that is the costume of choice for the wealthy. Men and women also wear fashion statements to project anonymity. The feeling of anonymity is important in the 21st century.
There is always a chance to show our objectiveness and subjective personalities every time we wear a suit or slip into a dress. We may not think about the impact we make through clothing choices. But there is always an imprint left on the minds of people observing the daily costumes that fill the streets, offices, schools and churches around the world. And that imprint is hard to change once a costume becomes real.