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The fashion industry is one of the biggest industries in the world. Fashionable clothes give a sense of a style and individually, but they are also getting low-priced and accessible to obtain. “We communicate to a certain extent, through our clothing. [It is] fundamentally a part of what we wish to communicate about ourselves”, says Orsola De Castro, a French Fashion Designer (The True Cost).
Because of the scale of manufacturing of garments is exploited and sold for nothing, the fashion industry has become into what is presently known as the Fast Fashion Industry. In addition to labourer exploitation, fast fashion also has a negative impact on the environment. These are two negative aftereffects of the Fast Fashion Industry, which add to a bigger issue, the worldwide epidemic of Consumerism.
Considering that garments become “more affordable” the idea of fast fashion has made a market where the customers are attracted to purchase increasingly. In 2007 a group of researchers from MIT, Stanford University and Carnegie Mellon conducted a study on why we shop. According to researchers, people spend money until it hurts, also this research studied the brain while subject shopped using fMRI technology (functional magnetic resonance imaging). The results showed the “pleasure centre or the nucleus accumbens in the brain lit up while subject shopped and indicated that the brain released chemicals that signal happiness and satisfaction when the participant engaged in the act of shopping”. The study goes on to imply that a shopper’s mindset parallels with evidence indicating that “happiness in shopping comes from the pursuit of wanting something” (Brain).
The second part of the conducted experiment studied the brains of shoppers who were shopping bargain deals. The subjects were shown an item’s price which caused the pain receptors in the brain to be stimulated, but when the shopper was shown that the product was reduced in price the pain receptors decreased in stimulation. According to Dr. Tom Megvis, professor of business at NYU, “part of the joy you get from shopping is not just that you bought something you really like, and you are going to use, but also that you got a good deal”.
Most humans are largely motivated by what makes us feel good, especially when it comes to our purchasing habits. Therefore, many corporations have begun to take a special interest in understanding how the human brain can help them better understand consumers..
“People are fairly good at expressing what they want, what they like, or even how much they will pay for an item,” says Uma R. Karmarkar, an assistant professor at Harvard Business School who sports PhDs in both marketing and neuroscience. “But they aren’t very good at accessing where that value comes from, or how and when it is influenced by factors like store displays or brands. Neuroscience can help us understand those hidden elements of the decision process.”
Studies show that customers want a constant stream of up-to-date products in the stores they frequent (Brain). To keep the consumer’s attention constantly a company must have the latest fashion trends on the racks almost as soon as the product goes into style. This causes the brand to deliver more products more quickly. “Because of the low prices, chasing trends is now a mass activity, accessible to anyone with a few bucks to spare, “says Elizabeth Cline, the author of Overdressed: The Shocking High Cost of Cheap Fashion.
This analysis is additional confirmation that Fast Fashion nourishes a negative neurological process:
Real-Time Fashion describes as a concept cultivated by fashion marketers around the world, to portray the see-now, buy-now, wear-now (Cline). Moreover, social media and social networking create instant access to the Real-Time Fashion Market, which consumers now see as an expectation. Therefore, the companies to meet their customer expectation they must take exploit on mass production of textile goods.
Ultimately, The Fast Fashion concept is contributing to a greater problem, the consumerism, “ Give’em what they never knew they wanted: says the editor of Vogue Diana Vreeland. According to Wikipedia, consumerism is the equation of personal happiness with consumption and the purchase of material possession. Webster’s dictionary defines consumerism as ” a movement for the protection of the consumer against defective products, misleading advertising” or alternately “the theory that an increasing consumption of goods is economically desirable.” It is the opposite of anti-consumerism or producerism.
In many critical contexts, consumerism is used to describe the tendency of people to identify strongly with products or services they consume, especially those with brand names such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Gucci, and perceived status-symbolism appeal, designer clothing from Ralph Lauren or expensive jewelry from Cartier. A culture that is permeated by consumerism can be referred to as a consumer culture or a market culture.
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