23 October 2011

HOT TOPIC | Unhealthy fashions?

Fashion has always skirted the line between healthy expression and unhealthy obsession. Some excesses are well known - the distortion of women in uncomfortable, impractical clothing, the plundering of exotic birds and animals for trendy feathers and furs, the misuse of cosmetics (belladonna anyone?) and today cosmetic surgery, the promotion of smoking, and the host of eating disorders.

The new social media show both the healthy interests in fashion and some disturbing trends from young designers, marketers, models, photographers, and especially bloggers. One troubling sign is the frequent use of terms of addiction in the self-descriptions of fashionistas including the titles of blogs.

Source: Style Concerto

4th mode | THE UNATTRACTIVE |  The problem appears to be real. We did a little SEO analysis to convince ourselves of the obvious - fashionistas often label their interest as excessive, obsessive or compulsive BUT do not recognize that any addiction is NOT a good thing. Moreover, online marketers promote the idea there is some healthy or even praiseworthy degree of addiction to fashion purchases.

Here is a tiny sampler of sites with "addicted" or "addiction" in their URL:

4th mode | THE MORE ATTRACTIVE |  Few if any of the sites we surveyed actually describe or promote harmful behavior - they were simply using the popular language of fashion addiction to describe normal enthusiasms.

4th mode | BOTTOM LINE |  Everyone is vulnerable to addiction at times. What is a healthy and well-adjusted interest should not be allowed to spiral unnoticed into harmful behavior. The social media community has a responsibility to make these issues known and urge friends to seek help where necessary.

A five-point self-survey for signs of addictive behavior:

  1. Do you feel you spend too much time or money shopping?
  2. Do you regularly buy things you cannot afford?
  3. Are you unhappy when you forgo buying the 'perfect outfit' or fashion accessory?
  4. Do you too quickly tire of wearing what you own?
  5. Are preoccupied with acquiring/wearing new fashions at the expense of family, school, work, or social activities?

Some solutions are practical, such as thrift-shopping for vintage clothing and DIY, or better saving and budgeting, finding designers who will trade apparel for promotional work, or waiting until you income rises. If the problem has become for you a genuine addiction, please seek help from a professional in addictive behavior.


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