"Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening."
- Coco Chanel
By now, most of you have read Cathy Horyn's article in the New York Times about how fashion is two clicks behind. She's unfortunately correct - the fashion industry has yet to fully embrace the digital revolution. The system of exclusive shows attended by the top buyers and editors, who then filter the trends down to the waiting masses hasn't been altered in decades. But the way the masses think about fashion definitely has changed.
The internet has drastically altered the way we do business in just a decade or so. It has given an aspiring fashionista in Manhattan, Kansas, for example, the same access to designer goods as her counterpart in NYC. Thanks to the Net, everyone can get pretty much anything. Fashion has been democratized.
We don't need to wait for magazines to show us the best of the runways every season, either. We can see the whole show and form our own opinions about it; or we can avoid the runways all together and check out street style or blogs from around the world for inspiration. With sites like stylediary, people from virtually anywhere can communicate and share ideas on fashion, style, and what's hot. The internet has essentially cut out the middleman.
The print media will always be important and relevant to fashion - the editorials, the stories, and the advertising vehicles are all important to the industry. But the machine has started to operate differently - buzz on the net can move a product far more quickly than a feature in Vogue or Elle. The web has a distinct advantage over print too - it's instant. Mere seconds after a model walks down the runway, the item can not only be viewed online, it can be for sale as well. The internet has the potential to speed up the fashion cycle tremendously, even more than it already has.
Bloggers have made an impact too, and really the fashion blogging community is only going to grow. "The State of the Fashion Union" could be the beginning of a shift in the way the industry operates. What's stylish now is no longer the sole province of the industry's top brass - the internet has made grassroots trends more possible and more common than ever.
Fashion's not quite a democracy yet, but it's not a dictatorship either. Although trends from the streets have always been an important part of the industry, the internet fashion community has made those very "streets" into a powerful voice and a force to be reckoned with. After all, fashion is supposed to be "for the people". So who's ready to put on their stilettos and participate in the revolution?