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Fashion Statements: On-Trend and Online

New York Fashion Week’s runway shows wrapped up this past Thursday, previewing a host of jaw-dropping collections. The most popular trends that walked down the runway included over-sized coats, summer sweaters, bandeau tops, and designs with layers. Hundreds of the hottest designers unveiled their Summer/Spring 2015 lines, all in the hopes of selling their new looks to department stores and the general public.
Designers have 7-20 precious minutes of catwalk time to present the message of their brand, hoping to create as much buzz possible as a source of promotion. As a result, social media plays a tremendous role in the success of designers, and it determines whether a trend will be “hot or not.” Technology is allowing the glitzy world of fashion to make tremendous leaps forward, as it is evolving into a progressive art form.
How does social media shape fashion? It allows millions of people easy access to more information and pictures than ever before. Clothing brands have globalized, opening up fashion to a wider array of people and creating a greater demand for popular brands such as Michael Kors and Steve Madden. Now more than ever, social media offers anyone the chance to voice his or her unique opinions on the latest styles and fads. Over the past few years, thousands of fashion blogs and Instagram accounts have emerged, which only requires followers to have a computer or smartphone.
But why all the buzz? Why are we obsessed with fashion? Dressing our bodies is a form of expression, or even an art, as most “fashionistas” would describe it. Every morning, the clothes we slip into demonstrate how we, as individuals, wish to be perceived in the eye of the public. 
Fashion is a way to categorize ourselves into groups we are apart of or would like to be associated with, such as preppies, goths, hipsters, etc. On the most basic level, a policeman requires specific clothing and accessories to distinguish himself as an officer of the law. But, people also dress to portray certain, and often unrealistic, images of themselves hoping to appear chic, classy, or even high-class. Even those who believe the global fashion industry is superficial and snobby broadcast those rebellious beliefs through deliberately choosing not to be on trend. 
And, the media does obsess over the fashion statements of celebrities and famous politicians. Fashion Police, anyone? The celebrity who receives some of the most attention for her clothing (or lack thereof) is none other than Miley Cyrus. Her one-of-a-kind style is often labeled scandalous, but she is also an inspiring fashion icon to many girls. Also, an unexpected amount of attention is devoted to Barack Obama’s fashion choices. After the President’s speech on foreign affairs three weeks ago, there was a major controversy not over his serious plans of action, but rather over the color of his suit. Twitter and news channels were flooded with critiques of Obama’s tan suit, and this infatuation shows the power of fashion in our everyday lives.
No doubt, fashion is a fundamental aspect of culture, and it has been since the dawn of man (and woman). Cavemen wore the hides of the animals they hunted, ancient Romans rocked togas, and Victorian women fashioned poke bonnets. Anthropologists devote countless hours to studying the garments of ancient civilizations because it demonstrates the values of those people. Thousands of years from now, what will anthropologists infer about our lifestyles and morals based on the fashions of today? Will modern trends, like transparent tops and 5-inch heels, be viewed as liberating and powerful or provocative and inappropriate? Regardless, fashion acts as a visual form of communication, and it is a basic element of human expression- hot or not.


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