Fashion is everywhere.
It’s not just the clothes you chose to wear today (and the ones that haven’t seen the outside of your closet in years).
It’s the music you love right now, songs you wouldn’t have listened to ten years ago.
It’s how we understand how the world works, what policies make sense to us, and what kind of food we eat. Even the investments we make or the debts we incur.
It’s the pace these days, our priority list and our urgencies too.
Almost none of our choices in the world are the result of direct independent experience. Instead, we make them in the context of culture, of our environment, of “people like us doing things like that”. We choose to align with and be inspired by a segment of culture.
Sometimes there is a coordinator.
40 years ago, less than 100 people determined which songs would be the most popular, which “everyone” would listen to next week. And a consortium of industry titans are deciding what colors will appear in household appliances in a few years.
We might want to believe that culture simply exists, that it is organic, distributed, and based on millions of independent decisions. And sometimes it is. But more often than not, there’s an instigator and a benefit to someone along the way.
While many fashion systems are more open and permeable than before (there aren’t three TV networks, there are a million YouTube channels), there are still keepers and storytellers.
How does the coordinator decide? Are they working in your best interests? Are they erratic, self-deceptive, elusive, selfish, or perhaps long-term thinkers? Do they have a bias for reality and resilience or is it just hustle and bustle?
In Latin, the expression is Cui Bono. Who benefits? If it’s you, if it’s us, then fashion works for us. On the flip side, if it leads to negative results, disappointment, and disconnection, it’s worth considering whether this is something we want to keep doing, even (mostly) if it seems right. in the moment. Because everything we do feels right in the moment.
It is not a secret conspiracy and it is a choice. Who decides today what will be important tomorrow?