Shiny Objects Syndrome: Unveiling Psychology Behind Consumer Behaviour

Exploring the Paradox: Why People Forget Reality and Support Exploitation in Fashion

Shiny Object Syndrome is the psychological idea where a person moves from one subject or object to the next, creating a constant distraction and a constant need for something new and exciting. This syndrome is present in the fashion industry with fashion trends, technology, news, social media, etc. 

Shiny Object Syndrome: encouraging overproduction from brands

In terms of the fashion industry, the control of Shiny Object Syndrome over society is what encourages fashion corporations to overproduce and contribute towards the abundance of textile waste and exploitation of labour. But our need for something shiny and new is costing the planet purchase by purchase. 

Unbreakable reputations despite concerning news
In April 2024, the Italian police exposed Giorgio Armani operations for using Chinese workers under an unauthorized subcontractor to make handbags and accessories. These workers were subject to unsafe working conditions and exploitation. Armani can also be traced to major water pollution scandals in China. Despite these concerning allegations, Armani maintains their reputation of being the pride of Italy and a loved brand worldwide. This contradiction is evident in other brands as well. 

The result: a vicious cycle
News and trends circulate so much that we forget the significance of events. Thus, when Armani releases their new collection we are too fascinated by the new fabrics, styles, and costs to remember how exactly these novelties were made. Thus, the Shiny Object Syndrome. Ultimately, we are showing brands that they can exploit human rights and the planet and get away with it. This must stop. 

Stopping Shiny Object Syndrome

Shiny Object Syndrome can reflect in many aspects of our life from relationships to our purchasing habits. If we are always searching for the next exciting thing, we will never be satisfied with what we have. 

To avoid shiny object syndrome you can:

1. Set achievable short-term goals
Setting short-term goals can divert our focus towards positivity and improvement during the week and help us work towards a greater goal. Personal motivation is key.

2. Focus on experience rather than substance and find meaning in smaller things
Spend money on experiences like dinner with friends and plan these experiences for something to look forward to. Also, find meaning in smaller things by reviewing your day and asking yourself what made you smile and how you can make someone smile tomorrow. 
When you do buy, buy thoughtfully. Invest in items where you can read about the story of the designer and feel the craftsmanship. Items that are unique to you and not just a trend.

3. Practice Gratitude
Gratitude always. Gratitude can be as simple as being grateful for a sunny day or the flowers blooming. Once we see what we appreciate, we can appreciate even more and accept a beautiful life.

Gratitude turns what you have into abundance.
Gratitude is so much more than saying thank you.
Gratitude changes your perspective of your world.

What really matters

In conclusion, brands are constantly feeding off our bad habits, not only exploiting their workers but they’re also exploiting their customers. Shiny Object Syndrome increases the profit of brands while decreasing your overall well-being and satisfaction with life. It is better for your health and for our social and economic environments to disengage from Shiny Object Syndrome and focus on what really matters to you.

✍ Credit: Post written by Joelle Elliott, an American scholar pursuing studies in Fashion at Cattolica University in Milan; currently interning with suite123.

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The dark side of modern society

Scanning the dark side of fashion, we came across a document released by ASPI – Australian Strategic Policy Institute – “Uyghurs for sale”. This detailed paper leads to a sad reflection on modern society and its economic system, capitalism. A system that can thrive only by exploiting people and the planet.

The Uyghur minority

Uyghur is an Islamic minority from the far west region of Xinjiang. The Chinese government has facilitated Uyghur and other ethnic minority citizens’ mass transfers from Xinjiang to factories that operate in the supply chains of about 83 well-known brands.
In China, 80,000 human beings live in segregated dormitories subject to constant surveillance. Put through ideological training outside working hours.

Fast-fashion brands are made in China, Bangladesh, India, Vietnam. Well, not only fast fashion brands! Therefore, we naively thought it was mainly a fashion-related issue. But learning about that horrific condition, we had to change our mind, as often happens.
Going through the pages, ASPI named various global brands, not only from the fashion field but technology and automobile too, and, of course, we know them all pretty well.

Fashion or modern society?

The dark side of fashion, that was supposed to be the point. At least we initially believed it was a matter that identified one industry only. But, in the end, we acknowledged that there is a common thread that links all manufacturing, the whole economic system. Capitalism, indeed.

Although we believe it is crucial to uncover fashion issues to move towards a better society, it is clear that exploitation, environmental impact, disposable goods, and lack of inclusivity, are issues that regard our modern society in full.
Perhaps, it is not about fashion but human behaviour, the greed that characterizes and dominates our economic system.

The truth is that society needs new slaves to flourish.
This must stop.

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