Before you completely write off this blog post for fear that I am going to education you on Walmart fashion (not a chance), stay with me! When I say "supermarket style" I'm referring to every era you've ever dreamed of being offered to you like cans of soup at your local Piggly Wiggly.
We live in a time where people want an absurd amount of options to choose from and they want it delivered 2.5 seconds after they order it.That's why eCommerce giants like Amazon and Ali Baba are fu*king flourishing - especially during COVID when being out and about comes with it's risks. Most of us probably don't give much thought to the luxury that is our life, as we throw on our grunge Metallica band tee and Cinq-a-Sept sequin maxi skirt. It's what we've become accustom to - but it wasn't always this way.
In the good ole' days, long-term style commitments were required to establish yourself as a fashion icon. Belonging to a specific style tribe meant that you embodied the entirety of that style profile, which undoubtedly fostered some of the most legendary looks in fashion history. If you were into 90's grunge - you listened to punk rock music and were a total rebel. If you were deemed preppy - you wore hounds tooth pencil skirts, pearl earrings, and drank cosmopolitans at the country club your dad was a member at.
Fashion is now a straight up free for all where creativity can run rampant. Look at any street fashion photography from NYFW and you'll see outfits that in theory seem perplexing, but in reality pair perfectly. With the rise in Instagram Influencers, these newfound trends of seemingly clashing styles are instantly accessible to the general public (aka you and me) and if you're like most, you immediately hop on Revolve to see how you could recreate these looks.
Now I don't for a second want you to think that I'm knocking the uniqueness that is fashion. Being able to develop an authentic personal style is what got me into the fashion industry to begin with - style is so personal yet so inclusive. But how has supermarket style contributed to fast fashion?
It's no secret that trends go in and out of style on the regular - that's essentially the point of a trend. Which is why people feel so compelled to get it while it's hot. Designers are presented with more opportunities than ever to produce because the demand is there. The problem lies in the fact that trends have become so disposable. One minute bucket hats and animal print is all the rage, and the next minute biker shorts and Fila sneakers are the new must have item. While it creates a diverse style portfolio for the consumer(yay), it dramatically decreases the production quality of brands(boo). When brands are cranking out 6 or more seasons per year, there is no way to uphold production standard. This results in crap clothes that don't last and end up in the landfill.
So what is the alternative to fast fashion and being 'trendy'?
Slow fashion. Aside from the obvious pros (ethical production process, quality fabrics, non-toxic dyes, intentional designing) brands that design with sustainability in mind end up creating moods - not trends. Moods are created through character development and emotional renderings of said character. When you establish a character profile for your brand as a whole, your collections end up having the same cohesive look season after season - in a totally positive way. Consumers can rely on these brands to create a certain overall aesthetic, even though that style can vary considerably in tangible design. When you have an emotional connection to your clothing, it's not as easy to switch them out for the latest trends - and far less likely to end up in the landfill :)