Media influence helps consumers to identify and define fashion trends. People of the global markets rely upon the media to “see” new fashion on their behalf. The most eager fashionistas may not physically attend fashion shows. Instead, they read the fashion news on their laptops or mobile devices, or watch the show in real time from the comfort of their home.
Technology speeds up the rate at which the images of fashions, accessories and designers’ views reach consumers. Instead of reading published seasonal fashion trends a few months’ before fashions reach the retail level, today’s consumer and retail buyer may see new merchandise around the same time. The media—through television, cable, computer, Internet, blogs and videos—shows potential buyers new ideas. Consumers then go forward to vote with their wallets.
Some fashion trends surprise the fashion industry. For example, a starlet taken to court wears a form-hugging mini dress. Within hours, the dress—for sale at $575—sells out in stores and online.
Similarly, a shade of lipstick worn by a famous White House intern sells out after the young woman mentions the name on tv.
Top designers attempt to bring “street fashion” to high fashion runways. Well-heeled customers decide whether these items sell out or end up in discount fashion stores.
In most ways, the media performs a valuable service to consumers of fashion. There’s less time between the evolution of a trend and the appearance of merchandise. There’s also less theorizing by retail buyers and vendors about “what the customer wants.”
According to authors Victor C. Strasburger, Barbara J. Wilson and Amy Beth Jordan of “Children, Adolescents and the Media,” pre-adolescents and teenagers remain most affected by media images. That’s the dark side of media’s presentation of fashion. The media portrays what the young viewer perceives as normal. She often compares her own body to these images.
More seasoned women understand the difference between idealized model images and their bodies.