Ever wondered about why we change taste in fashion? Why you suddenly like flared jeans, when you hated it just some months ago? Something that used to look like shxxxx suddenly changes into something attractive. What happened?
Conspiracy of consumption?
Is it the fashion industry that is doing some kind of one consumption conspiracy in order to force the consumers into buying more stuff? Or is there somekind of magic force, that tell our brain what to like and what not to like?
The truth is; we are not dealing with brainwash or evil conspiracies. We are dealing with the human race trying to survive. The reason we continuously change our taste and preferences in fashion has to do with Darwins old theory about ”Survival of the fittest”.
Darwin and fashion?
Darwins theory described how the best adapted individuals will survive. This means the animals, who are fitting in perfectly in their surroundings, have the best opportunity to survive. I can give a little example; In a place with no green leaves near the ground, a giraffe will be the winner , the race that will survive–to put it very clear.
We want to be the alpha male
If you study monkeys, chimpanzees and gorillas, you will notice that the alpha male is being imitated. They simply imitate the individual in the community with the highest rank. So monkeys copy high ranking monkeys. Wonder if humans do the same…. THEY DO! The human race have been imitating royalties, leaders, rich and successful people for ages. When King Edward VII was too big to button his west all the way down, it turned into a fashion trend!!
Why do we imitate?
So why do we do this? Can´t we just be ourselves? No, not if we want the same status and success as the alphas of the society. This is also the reason why our ability to do social learning affects our chances to succeed later on in life. As a child you do what your parents do, and when you grow up, you probably do what the people you admire do. We are simply imitating the strong and successful people of our society to get the same status and benefits.
But why imitate an innovator
Not all powerful and successful people are being imitated when it comes to style and personal taste. Most of the times it is the innovators, who are being looked at, admired and then eventually copied. And why is that? I mean, innovators are often underground people working with art and often with no money….This group are being imitated because of their ability to change and invent new things and new ways of doing things. And we like that. We like the change (well, we have to like change), because our ability to adapt and change is crucial when it comes to survival –especially in the society we live in today. That is also the reason you suddenly want to buy the flared jeans. You want to show the world that you are open towards change by buying the latest products.
So if you want to go out right now and add a new color to your wardrobe; don´t feel bad about it. You are just trying to survive;-)
If you want to read more about the field, try these books:
- “Evolutionary Perspectives on Human Development” by: Robert L Burgess andKevin MacDonald
- “The Natural History of the Rich: A Field Guide” by: Richard Conniff