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A Fashion Metamorphosis: How social media and public scrutiny have rewritten fashion industry ideals

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at TCU chapter.

In the words of Franca Sozzani, “Fashion is a mirror of the era in which we live.” Fashion is a reflection of social reality. It evolves with the world around it and has the power to tell stories of historical significance while simultaneously unfolding the future. Fashion is society.  

Those in the fashion industry have the responsibility to take inspiration from people across the globe just as much as they are responsible for inspiring them. But with the prevalence of social media, the line that once divided the insiders and outsiders of the fashion industry has blurred- making the industry more expansive than ever before.  

The massive shift caused by social media has forced the fashion industry to dismantle, which in this case, is a good thing. The fashion industry has officially entered its metamorphosis. 

Unlike in the past, the industry now has to deeply consider public scrutiny, forcing those who are the industry’s spokespersons to make representation a top priority- because if their top-named brand is not doing it, a smaller company on Instagram is.

At the end of the day, fashion is subjective. With the combination of digital media expansion and the ability for anyone to consider themselves a fashion expert (though you can usually tell when someone might be lying to themselves), people with no professional ties to the industry have been able to penetrate the fashion dominion.

Around the world, small brands, young designers, and those who simply take an interest in fashion have contributed to this new fashion revolution- one that demands diversity, inclusivity, and social progress. 

The current ideal for those interested in fashion has shifted as well. It is no longer a goal to attain the look of the few sitting at the top of the fashion pyramid— that pyramid has begun to widen due to the addition of thousands of smaller brands, micro-influencers, and self-proclaimed fashion gurus. What everyone yearns for now is to celebrate their individuality. Because of this, brands have needed to learn how to be more adaptive and creative than ever before to ensure that they are exceeding the expectations of a “woke” generation. A hard task, sure, but an essential one.

Some brands, both large and small, who are nailing this task include:

Thom Browne:

The Thom Browne Tartan collection exhibits multiple unisex pieces made of his signature gray and navy tartan, successfully addressing the arbitrariness of gendered clothing. 


The jewelry brand that made wearable art out of prosthetics, giving amputees the ability to add style to their artificial limbs.

Karoline Vitto:

A womenswear brand that prioritizes the accentuation of curves and celebration of folds on a feminine body.  

Collina Strada:

A clothing brand that loves to admit it is on its sustainable fashion journey.  

Apart from brands alone, there has also been a rise in race, gender identity, and disability inclusivity on the runway. Just a few on the list include: 

Aaron Rose Phillip:

An Antiguan-American model who became the first black, transgender, and physically disabled model to be represented by a major modeling agency, recently seen in Moschino’s AW20 show. 

Sofia Jirau:

The Puerto Rican model who just became Victoria’s Secret first model with down syndrome.  

It has been a long time coming, but society now recognizes that beauty does not fit a certain mold. Kudos to the fashion industry for starting to reflect this unveiled truth. 

Chloe Cloud is a double major in English and Journalism at Texas Christian University. She is a fashion fanatic and a (self-proclaimed) thrift queen. When Chloe isn't working as Editor-in-Chief of Her Campus, you can find her at home binge-watching fashion and design competition reality shows. MBTI: INFP | Enneagram: Type 4 | Personality Twin: Carrie Bradshaw x Jenna Lyons' love-child