There is an old expression: ‘You can never have enough clothes.’ An expression often used to justify excessive consumption and deemed the perfect excuse to defend a bulging wardrobe; yet, nothing to wear. This combined with the illusion that the success of an individual is measured by the accumulation of material possessions and the belief that the more you own, the more accomplished you are, is starting to show its age. 

Seeing Fashion Consumption in a New Light

In recent years, however, a change in Consumer Psychology has occurred among millennials. Moving away from the attainment of goods as a technique of social signalling, today the concept of “owning” and “ownership” is seemingly less of a priority to younger consumers. This extends to fashion consumption, as well as other possessions and services used by millennials. 

A New Way to Consume

Instead younger consumers are embracing a sharing economy

Birthed from the internet age, this notion has emerged whereby today services, goods, data and property are accessible and obtainable in just one click – anytime and anywhere; thus highlighting the impermanence of possessions and indicating a shift towards the diminishing urgency to own and possess material belongings in 2022. 

Material belongings now growing redundant include: Cars with the invention of ride sharing apps, music, photography now stored on devices rather than in frames, and books now stored on Kindle form rather than sitting on our bookshelves

The Fashion Angle

We have also seen this concept extend to the fashion industry with the conception of Digital Fashion. Considered by some as a somewhat far-out, unconventional method of obtaining fashion, Digital Fashion consists of using sites to purchase digitally generated clothing through augmented reality. An ‘outfit’ or ‘item’ is purchased online, the client then uploads a picture of themselves, and the item purchased will be edited onto their body in said image; ready to be posted online to their social media

An example of such Digital Fashion platforms includes DressX, launched in 2020 DressX is focused on delivering sustainable and affordable fashion. Daria Shapovalova, a spokesperson for the platform described to me:

“While we genuinely share the beauty and excitement that physical fashion creates, we believe that there are ways to produce less, produce more ethically, or not produce at all.” In addition to this, representatives of DressX expressed, “Digital Fashion will become a new way for customers to enter the high fashion world, discovering the new way to shop luxury, reducing their environmental footprint, receiving the same sense of belonging and excitement from wearing designer pieces in digital.”

DressX has confirmed the platform is already looking to the future and into ways to use metafashion in real time – exploring the technology of allowing customers to wear 3D items during live video calls. If successful, it will be incredibly interesting to see what this technology looks like, and how it feels to use it. Could this be our future of what it means to have ownership over our clothing? Will we all have digital wardrobes in the future? What will this mean for the future landscape of the fashion industry?

Many urban consumers have replaced car ownership, once a symbol of independence and status,  with car and ride sharing services providing access to a vehicle or transportation when needed. 

Physical pictures occupying frames, wallets, and albums have been replaced with digital photographs that can be viewed at any time and songs, books, movies, or magazines that can be pulled down from the cloud at any time to suit a consumer’s mood.

This Being Said…

There is still plenty of evidence to suggest that consumers in 2022 (of all ages) still invest in unessential material goods. The retail industry, although it has suffered in recent years and despite the rise of digital fashion, will continue to drive economies. After all, we will always want and need to buy physical clothes for everyday use – when we aren’t posting selfies or grandstanding for our followers. Research has also shown the human need to self-express through fashion is immense – which naturally in turn generates sales. By consuming fashion, we (younger and older consumers) not only take ownership of the physical good, but also our identity.

So What Does The Future Hold?

My guess? Three words: “Collective psychological ownership.” 

Using platforms and new technology such as ride sharing services and Digital Fashion platforms results in the collective societal movement of aiding others to reach locations and source desired goods in the least environmentally damaging way possible: by not producing or encouraging ownership of goods in the first place. Surely this doesn’t sound like a bad thing. Could millennials, who are often branded as the me me me generation, be onto something here?

Let us also not forget millennials are also living in a world where there are so many other alternatives and more convenient options than to own, and that the concept of ownership in some areas (housing for instance) are against them. Therefore, it seems younger consumers are taking ownership of the concept of “ownership” and utilising it to fit their reality. Smart, if you ask me.

I was delighted to speak with Charlie Boyd for Porter Magazine on how our jewellery can influence our mood, reflect our identity and empower us every day!

“The jewellery we wear can be a strong signifier of many things beyond our personal tastes. Jewellery can speak to an individual’s wealth, social status, culture and more about their self-identity – therefore, people should definitely consider the meaning behind their jewellery choices, as it’s another way to allow them to embrace their most authentic self.”
“Studies have shown that people prefer objects that are displayed on a shiny surface than those placed on a matte one. Some evolutionary psychologists believe that our attraction to glossy or shiny objects stems from our innate need to seek out water as a valuable resource.”
“The more I became aware of the powerful symbolism of jewellery through my research, the deeper my relationship grew with my own collection.”

Please find the article in full here.

When it comes to New Years Resolutions 60% of us suffer from The False Hope Syndrome. Find out how to make sure you’re not making the same mistakes each year!

Happy New Year! 

We’re two weeks in and for a lot of us, things are pretty much the same as they were two weeks ago.  Same job, same friends, same surroundings. The only difference is that we’ve promised ourselves that 2022 will bring with it a deep and meaningful personal change. We’ll stop smoking, stop splurging, travel more, worry less, eat healthily and pursue our dreams.

Every year 40-50% of Americans and 60-70% of Brits make New Year’s resolutions and unsurprisingly studies show that most of us make the exact same promises to ourselves year in and year out. More specifically, 60% of us suffer from what researchers call The False Hope Syndrome (Polivy & Herman 2002), vowing on average 10 times to keep a resolution we’ve failed at sticking to in previous years. It’s certainly admirable that in the face of certain failure we remain optimistic. We believe that by simply learning from our past mistakes, by making a few changes here and there that we’ll become the person that we’ve always wanted to be.

But what if, instead of engaging in this never-ending cycle of misplaced optimism that we join the percentage of people who actually see their resolutions come to fruition (those people do exist)? Psychology points to 4 main reasons why you’re unable to stick to your resolutions (and how you can fix it!)…2 

1.  Your goals are not Self-Concordant 

Have you ever asked yourself why something had made it to your list of resolutions? The self-concordance of goals reflects the degree to which they are consistent with your own personal developing interests and values.  Say for example you have resolved to learn how to play the guitar this year. Do you want to learn to play the guitar because you genuinely have a passion for it, or is it really because your ex-girlfriend’s obsession with John Mayer was always a sore sport for you? If it’s the latter it’s likely that come summer time, you would have lost your trusty guitar pick and your strings will be collecting dust.

​A study by Deci & Ryan (2000) found that you have little chance of realising your resolutions if your reason for pursing them are:

External:  Because somebody else wants you to do it
Introjected: Because you would feel ashamed, guilty, or anxious if you didn’t.

You’re significantly more likely to achieve your goals if they are self-concordant i.e. if they are:

Identified: It’s something you really believe that it is an important goal to have
Intrinsic: The fun and enjoyment  which  the  goal  will provide is the primary reason for having it and you’re simply interested in the experience itself.

2. Your list of resolutions is all wrong

Many people fail to keep their New Year’s resolutions because they’re structuring their goals incorrectly. According to researchers Baumeister & Heatherton (1996) and Austin & Vancouver (1996), some of the key mistakes that you’re making with your New Year’s resolution list is that:

You’ve set too many goals – if you’re planning to make 32 major life style changes this year more than likely, come 2018 you’ll find yourself bitterly disappointed. There is such thing as too much of a good thing. Start with 3 resolutions and take it from there, you can always add more to the list as the year progresses.

You’ve set goals that conflict with one another – although it’s clear to most that resolving to save more money this year whilst also resolving to treat yourself to a new wardrobe full of designer pieces doesn’t make sense, we still make the mistake of filling our lists with contradictory goals. Before you commit to any resolutions ensure that they complement one another, this will only bolster your chances of success.

Your goals are set too far in the future – there’s nothing wrong with having a five-year plan but when it comes to New Year’s Resolutions a sure way to ensure success is to make sure that your list consists exclusively of proximal goals – Live in the hear and now!

3. You don’t have an action plan

So, you’ve made your list, you’ve ensured that your resolutions are specific, proximal, complimentary, challenging (yet realistic) and most importantly self-concordant. Now what? Well now you need to develop an action plan. Research into New Year’s resolvers found that people who engage in wishful thinking such as those who think they’ll achieve their goals through a combination of willpower and winging it will most likely fail (Norcross et al., 1989).

​Making the list was the easy part.

​Now you need to plan specifically when you’re going to initiate your goal pursuit and how you’re going maintain your pursuit in the face of obstacles and distractions (Gollwitzer, 1999). Speaking of plans, another reason why you’re not sticking to your resolution is because…

4. You’re not scheduling time to break your resolution

A recent study by Vale, Pieters & Zeelenberg (2015) compared people who had planned moments in which they would deviate from their goal pursuit and people who followed a rigid and strict plan. Essentially people who had cheat days vs those who didn’t. Surprisingly, results found that cheat days can: 

a) Help regain self-regulatory resources
b) Help maintain your motivation to pursue with regulatory tasks, and 
c) Have a positive impact on your mood

This all contributes to facilitate long-term goal-adherence. So, if you want to have that red velvet cupcake its ok, just as long as it’s on a day where you plan to be bad and not in the middle of the night after a day of eating nothing but kale and cayenne pepper. 

Do you have any tips or tricks that help you stick to your New Year’s resolutions? Sound off in the comments below. 

Whether it was Priyanka Chopra Jonas in Ralph Lauren outfit which has been turned into a car cover, the famous Guo Pei “omelette dress” worn by Rihanna or the Kim Kardashian x dementor MET Gala look – we have often seen the quick, memeified version of runway designs breaking the internet. The word meme has been used and abused extensively throughout the globe in past few years. But what are memes, where do they come from and how they are linked to the world of fashion? 

The Runway Hilarity

The fashion industry has a long-established relationship with the new age meme culture. It began in 1927 when the fashion maverick, Elsa Schiaparelli started to make surrealism inspired outfits with irony and hilarity attached to it. Once fashion found its center stage digitally on Instagram with this innate sense of humour, the meme culture was born! Memes act as an antidote to fashion’s preconceived notion. They allow making the most monotonous styles both on and off-ramp relatable by adding a touch of humour, satire and wit to them. 

Once fashion industry tapped the right trend, it has always welcomed, celebrated and used the same in its best capacity. Lately, the viral memes showcasing renowned brands and designers for a quick laugh and a few have helped them to be on the radar. The brands are jumping on the bandwagon by creating designs, campaigns, advertisements and red carpet looks that can be tailored to the meme age. The tool of meme marketing has also helped many fashion publications, celebrities and bloggers to spread their presence in the market by creating captivating and relatable content to engage with the younger audience. 

To further add fuel to the fire, Instagram creators like @freddiemade, @siduations and many more have found employment through posting recontextualized content and collaborating with brands, making them meme-makers professionally! To convert a dull moment into a joyful one by adding a pinch of relatable humour and packaging it into a trailblazing guerrilla advertising to initiate a conversation has become part of many brand strategies. Thus, giving rise to the bizarre trend of “the meme age”.

Meet the meme

The word was coined in 1976 by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins in his book, The Selfish Gene. He took it from the Greek root “mimeme” meaning imitation. It acted as an instrument to translate the ideology of a culture or a definite mindset through an art form. Symbolic to the low-attention span for the generation of millennials, memes can be termed as a modern way of communication emphasizing a symbol or a social phenomenon. 

When the absurdity of memes infuses with an individual’s perspective to produce a reinterpreted version of thoughts and attitudes clashing with trending, popular pop cultural references it gives birth to a new, sartorial, bizarre content that is amusing in the mundane life. As Dawkins defined them as units of cultural propagation, memes hold a certain value to them behind the comic curtain – hence, making them more meaningful and relatable for an audience at large. 

To a layman, memes are a vent for a few laughs but, it allows them to express their thoughts and beliefs at the given moment. The rapidly pacing digital world has glorified the nature of memes by making them universal. It tends to bring strangers around the globe together irrespective of their language, religion, cultural and societal beliefs by the mere fact of finding and relating to something funny.

Culturally, memes have become an integral form of communication for the current generation. As our time span is relatively becoming shorten and consumption increases, our obsession to share these simple, explicit messages constantly to escape reality is thriving. The growing sense of nihilism amongst mankind is a reflection of modern society – one that values their happiness before anything else. To attain the same, they are willing to instill relatable content amongst the cybernauts, questioning the relevance of meme culture. 

Our obsession with meme culture is alarming than ever before. The unparalleled art form can mould and reveal the traits of humans for better and worse. Whether it’s funny or not, the accessibility and ability to reach the audience within microseconds has revolutionized the way we communicate. The urge to go through different chains of thoughts depicted by a picture and caption which are not even our own is evoking a deep concern as it’s turning many of us apathetic and unconscious about our behaviour, beliefs and actions.

Are memes just a product of creativity or a rhetorical medium to mock someone? Do we need a virally-transmitted symbol to express ourselves or are we losing our identities to this quick-witted satire? And perhaps most importantly of all, what sort of impact this new medium of communication will have on our relationships and coming generation?

I spoke to Katherine Singh for Refinery29, Canada about how Balaclavas are the perfect mix of all the emerging fashion trends.

“We’ve seen a global adoption of the athleisure uniform this year and people finding themselves getting into the habit of shopping for what makes them feel good rather than what society has deemed conventionally appropriate.”
“Balaclavas are a mix of all the major emerging trends: cosy knitwear, maximalist accessories, and nostalgia dressing.”
“Balaclavas are functional pieces that can be played with to create edgy looks without compromising comfort.”
“Maximalist dressing goes hand-in-hand with this push to dress for yourself and experiment with personal style… This is known as “dopamine dressing. It’s the psychological lift we get from the clothes we wear and speaks to the idea that often what people choose to put on their bodies helps to fulfil an emotional need.” 

Check out the full piece here!

I spoke to Sara Holzman for Marie Claire about how we can use certain clothing pieces to empower and enable us to become who we strive to be!

“We have mental associations with clothing, based on the people who wear these pieces. When we wear the same clothes, we subconsciously embody the traits we associate with those people.”

“The more we wear a piece, the more value it holds, in turn, these pieces take on a life of their own.”

“Virtual life means we haven’t seen each other’s shoes in a long time, but they’re the first thing we see in real life. As we continue to socialise, now is the time to use an incredibly strong shoe to make your mark.”

“Jewellery enables people to inject their creativity into an outfit, a special piece will help you differentiate yourself in a meaningful way.”

Find the full piece here.

The phrase ‘less is more’ or ‘more is more’ has often depicted the two extremes on a design continuum. Whether it’s the clean-crisp silhouettes, muted colour palettes or exaggerated layered garments, striking neon’s from head-to-toe, the constant battle between minimalism and maximalism has led to diversified sartorial expressions.

As said by Frank Stella ‘only what can be seen there is there and ‘what you see is what you see’. In the 1950s, the art scene saw a rise in aesthetically pleasing minimalism art which was a reaction against the abstract expressionist movement.

These opposing directions were born out of the similar movements of economical, socio-cultural and technological changes. Thus, subsequently trickling down to stimulate and define each other.

Minimalism vs Maximalism

The notion behind the idea of minimalism celebrates purity, simplicity and restraint. The rise of the minimalist mavericks like Max Mara, Calvin Klein and Rei Kawakubo in the 90s subtly portrays the ethos of that era. Reflecting harmony and balance through an expression of reductionism, fine tailoring and transformational garments, the minimalist aesthetics were a breath of fresh air.

As explained by Calvin Klein minimalism is

“a philosophy that involves an overall sense of balance, knowing when to take away, subtract.”

In contrast, maximalism focused on the aesthetic of excess. It celebrates the phenomenon of experimental and extravagance via distortion, decoration, bold prints & patterns and the art of being on the edge!

Looking back, profound designers like Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Lacroix, Versace, Alessandro Michele of Gucci and many more have played around with the concept of maximalism. The striking colours, the vibrancy of layered fabrics and eye-catching textures denotes the eclectic spirit of a maximalist. The 100-year-old fashion goddess Iris Apfel sums it perfectly in her Instagram bio – ‘More is More and Less is a Bore’. 

The Phenomenon of choosing sides

Are you a minimalist or a maximalist? Do you prefer an elegant outfit with minute detailing or a riot of prints? Throughout the history of fashion and even now, the minimalist and maximalist aesthetics have appealed to fashion designers all-round the globe. For some, embracing simplicity gives them the confidence to stand apart from the crowd while for a few experimentations defines their status quo and breaks the mundanity of isolation. 

With the fast-evolving fashion cycles and cultural shifts, the consumers want to try every trend in the market. We often base our assumptions and exhibit our unique sensibilities and individual flair through the way we dress up. 

It has been observed that our shopping patterns and purchases are an extension or a part of our identities, it also symbolises our mood and emotional state. Both aesthetics have a different set of values and beliefs attached to them depending upon how we perceive them.

But what triggers us to choose a side? Most of us dress up to express our style and show the world our best selves through fashion while many of us vent our creative energies.

Whether you prefer tailored silhouettes in neutral colours with one-of-a-kind accessories or an explosion of baroque prints adorned with embellishments, the question is “do we always have to take sides”? 

Yin and Yang

The concept of minimalism and maximalism continues to be driven by multiple factors ranging from the influence from art, design, fashion or the social media platforms through the voice of fashion bloggers, editors, influencers. With the inevitable climate crisis and socio-cultural practices, the future of fashion is quite unstable.

The shifting aesthetics will force us to ponder over minimalism, which focuses on reducing the production of clothing whereas maximalism aims the 3R code – reduce, reuse, recycle code to a T.  Traditionally, we have seen a level of commitment with each aesthetic but with the given privilege in the present we want the entire cake rather than a slice! 

Minimalism and maximalism are synonyms to yin and yang – opposites but complementary. They fall at extreme opposite ends of the spectrum defining our whims and fancies.

However, as humans, too much moderation bores us. With the shifting aesthetics and variety of options served on the platter, we need to find alternate options for consumption patterns. Rather than categorising ourselves with set rules and norms we should deviate and find a middle ground!

Moreover, it’s not about ‘less is more’ or ‘more is more’, it’s about choosing what brings you ultimate happiness and defines your style!

My sister would have been 36 on Saturday. No matter how many years pass it still feels like yesterday. I spoke to Marjolijn Oostermeijer for 1 Granary about using clothes to deal with grief and the piece is so beautiful. 

“We place this increased value on their goods after people die. So for those left behind, the item becomes symbolic for that person. We cherish it and it can help us connect to what we lost.”
“I think it’s easy, when you’re grieving, to push the memories away. The other day I wore my sister’s jacket, which was a bit too snug for me. It made me wonder what she would say, which brought her memory back into the present instead of keeping it locked up.”

Please have a read of the full piece here.

Here at Fashion is Psychology we were delighted to be invited to the press conference to learn all about Red Carpet Green Dress™ (RCGD), a women-led global change-making organisation born out of a need for more ethical clothing. 

RCGD hosts an annual design competition open to those with an interest or passion for sustainability. Previously, the organisation has teamed up with many designers to create red carpet-worthy looks for stars including Lakeith Stanfield who illustrated ethical high-end fashion at the 2018 Oscars. 

Samata Pattinson CEO says

“by bringing together young and established talents, we hope to encourage more designers to take a proactive step to building a more eco-friendly fashion world”. 

Suzy Amis Cameron (RCGD Founder) & Lakeith Stanfield, Oscars 2018

RCGD x TENCEL™ x CLO Virtual 2021

This year, applicants presented a digital sketch of their sustainable red carpet design before the international contest closed in August. One gown and one suit design were selected by the international contest judging panel, consisting of Suzy Amis Cameron (RCGD Founder), Harold Weghorst (Vice President of Global Marketing & Branding, Lenzing AG), Micaela Erlanger (Celebrity Fashion Stylist) and Abrima Erwiah (Co-founder of Studio 189).

Who are the winners of this years contest?

The judging panel are delighted to announce this year’s winning duo: Yuriko Fukuda and Zhi Hong Benjamin Koh. 

Born in Japan, UK-based Yuriko Fukuda is this year’s womenswear winner. 

“Expressing myself through design feels like meditation. Our minds and art are indeed interconnected, having a bidirectional impact on our mental health. Fashion is a work of art and I believe it has the power to control our mind and body.” 

Singapore-based fashion, textile and product designer Zhi Hong Benjamin Koh is this year’s menswear winner. 

“In 2016, I founded The Material Atelier by 本 (BEN), a multi-disciplinary creative studio focused on seeking sustainable fashion, featuring collaborations with local artists to create sustainable wearable art. One of our goals is to inform the public through informative videos about what goes into the material and the design of their garments… I joined RCGD with the hope of sharing our sustainable fashion vision.” 

What prize will the winners receive?

The looks will be showcased as part of an exhibition to leading sustainable advocates in Los Angeles. All winners will be introduced to a sustainable fashion and entertainment audience from across the globe, alongside a monetary award. The winners will also receive business mentorship with RCGD’s CEO Samata Pattinson, support and access to RCGD’s extensive network, and creative support for their fledgling careers.

The designs chosen by the winners will be put into production in early 2022 with sustainable eco-couture textiles in collaboration with TENCEL™ and sponsored by CLO.

Harold Weghorst, TENCEL™, textile speciality brand, CEO, hopes RCGD will inspire future generations to be sustainable as the competition showcases the beauty of eco-friendly designs to the world. He emphasises the importance of “maximising impact whilst minimising footprint”.

CEO of CLO Virtual Fashion, Simon Kim expresses that technology is the answer to operate more sustainably as Virtual Fashion provides expandability to create designs in a socially responsible way.

Next, we asked CEO Samata Pattinson to give her take on Fashion Psychology:

Fashion is Psychology: How would you describe the psychology behind buying sustainably?

Samata Pattinson: I think everyone has a different mindset. For me, buying sustainably is about the questions I ask myself before making a purchase and approaching the idea of consumption from a minimalist point of view. I look at bringing something into my life that I value, knowing we all value things differently.

The psychology behind sustainability is one of constantly balancing discernment and joy. Discernment in being selective about the purchases being made and having the genuine interest to find out more about those stories. Balanced with the joy of wanting to bring something into your life that has been made in a way that is respectful to people and the planet. 

I think when you take an interest in sustainability your approach to purchasing is accepting every purchase is part of a bigger picture.

FiP: How can we make sustainability more accessible?

Samata: I think this means recognising that people have different education levels, different awareness levels, different access levels and then understanding this means you must speak to people in different ways. Not every single person is looking at sustainability with the same perspective, and if we don’t adjust the lens which we are speaking through then we run into the danger of painting every situation with the same colour. In addition, we sometimes approach these conversations as if we’re teaching people things that they already know, and that can be quite patronising.

So perhaps what is missing is humility and awareness that education is a two-way conversation, and ensuring we show compassion about peoples’ different existences.

FiP: How does RCGD improve overall well-being?

Samata: Well-being is defined by different people from different perspectives from us. We try and focus on education-making opportunities for people to learn and empower themselves with knowledge and understanding. 

For me, education is a huge part of my personal well-being, having a better understanding of the world around me. We create opportunities, which means we try and reach talent in all corners of the globe to show the importance of the narrative not being dominated by a small power cluster. The contest we have live right now in partnership with TENCEL and CLO is about pushing to reach creatives from community colleges to high performing colleges. 

That range is important – we want creatives in different places to feel seen and welcome. We also believe strongly in taking these conversations into places where average people exist, not just having them in silos of eco-warrior spaces. 

All of this is how we see sustainability is being de-stigmatised and becoming a more accessible conversation in space.

The competition has our full support in helping draw attention to the importance of more positive practices in fashion. You can find out more by visiting the website here.