The Culture of Dissent in a Social Media-Dominated Society

Fashion: From Rebellion to Conformity

In an age where social media dictates trends, thoughts, and behaviours, the culture of dissent appears to be under threat. In fact, platforms designed to connect us have, paradoxically, homogenised our culture, creating echo chambers and discouraging divergence from the mainstream narrative. 

Fashion, a lens through which we analyse society, reflects this phenomenon vividly. The rapid spread of trends via social media has led to global uniformity, stifling individual expression and, consequently, dissent.
But how does this happen?

Understanding the challenge

Homogenization Through Social Media
Social media platforms operate on algorithms that prioritise engagement, promoting content that aligns with popular opinions and trends. So, this creates a cycle that reinforces continuously the same ideas, styles, and behaviours. Therefore, the result is a flattened culture where dissenting voices are ignored.

Fashion as a Microcosm
Fashion, once a bastion of personal expression and rebellion, now mirrors the conformity fostered by social media. Trends spread almost instantaneously, and the pressure to conform is immense. So, the once-subversive power of fashion to challenge societal norms is diminished. Today, everyone wears the same fast-fashion or mass-luxury items promoted by influencers.

Steps to foster a culture of dissent

1. Encourage Critical Thinking and Media Literacy
To cultivate dissent, it is essential to equip individuals with the tools to critically analyse the content they consume. Media literacy programs should be promoted in schools and communities to help people recognize biases, understand algorithms, and critically evaluate sources of information.

2. Support Independent Voices
Amplifying independent designers, journalists, and artists can counteract the dominance of mainstream narratives. Supporting these voices through shares, follows, and financial contributions can help create a more diverse media landscape where dissenting opinions have a platform.

3. Create and Participate in Diverse Communities
Online and offline communities that celebrate diversity of thought are crucial. By engaging with groups that value different perspectives, individuals can find support and encouragement to express their unique views. Also, these communities can act as incubators for new ideas and counter-culture movements.

4. Promote Slow Fashion and Individual Style
Encouraging slow fashion – where the focus is on design, quality, and individuality – can serve as a rebellion against the fast-fashion culture propagated by social media. Indeed, celebrating personal style over trends can empower individuals to express their dissent through their fashion choices.

5. Educate About Historical and Contemporary Dissenters
Highlighting the stories of past and present dissenters can inspire others to question the status quo. Specifically, education systems and media should celebrate those who have made significant contributions to society by challenging prevailing norms and pushing for progress.

6. Foster Open Dialogue and Debate
Creating spaces – both online and offline – where open dialogue and debate are encouraged can help normalise dissent. Encouraging respectful discussions on controversial topics can help individuals feel more comfortable expressing their unique viewpoints.

Building a culture of dissent through fashion

In conclusion, building a culture of dissent in a society dominated by social media is undoubtedly challenging, but it is not impossible. In fact, fostering critical thinking, supporting independent voices, and promoting individuality can create a more diverse and dynamic cultural landscape. Fashion, as a reflection of society, can play a pivotal role in this transformation. When we celebrate personal style and slow fashion, we resist the homogenising force of social media trends. Ultimately, a culture of dissent means valuing diversity of thought and expression. And recognising that progress comes from challenging the norm.

So, as we navigate this digital age, let us remember the power of dissent to drive innovation, creativity, and change. By embracing our unique perspectives and encouraging others to do the same, we can build a richer, more varied society that thrives on the strength of its differences.

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The Rise of the No-Phones Trend

Has Social Media Democratized Fashion? Or our Lives?

The no-phones trend is gaining momentum, extending its reach from fashion shows to theaters. Also, it prompts a critical examination of whether social media has truly democratized fashion.

The no-phones trend in fashion

At the recent Paris Fashion Week, The Row took a bold stance by banning phones, aiming to encourage attendees to fully engage with the runway spectacle without the distraction of screens. This move not only allowed spectators to immerse themselves in the live experience but also disrupted the instantaneous sharing of images on social media. Instead, attendees could reflect on and digest the show before sharing their experiences.

Critics argue that such restrictions, stating that social media has democratised fashion. But does merely observing luxury clothing on screens equate to affording luxury those items? So, can we define “democratic” a product we can only see but cannot afford to purchase?

The no-phones trend in theaters

Yesterday, we attended “Jesus Christ Superstar” -a glorious show at the “Teatro Sistina Chapiteau.” It reinforced the growing prevalence of the no-phones trend beyond fashion events. The announcer urged the audience to power down their devices and refrain from taking photos to fully appreciate the performance. Only during the grand finale, featuring the iconic Ted Neely, were attendees permitted to capture the moment on their phones. The show, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the film and the 30th anniversary of the production by Massimo Romeo Piparo, showcased remarkable talent and creativity, demonstrating the effectiveness of the no-phones policy.

Prof. Paolo Ercolani quotes Guy Debord: “The society of spectacle”

However, Professor Paolo Ercolani referenced a quote from Guy Debord’s “The Society of the Spectacle,” highlighting the danger of life becoming a mere accumulation of spectacles detached from genuine experiences.

“In societies where modern conditions of production prevail, life is presented as an immense accumulation of spectacles. Everything that was directly lived has receded into a representation.”

Furthermore: “The images detached from every aspect of life merge into a common stream in which the unity of that life can no longer be recovered. Fragmented views of reality regroup themselves into a new unity as a separate pseudo-world that can only be looked at. The specialisation of images of the world has culminated in a world of autonomised images where even the deceivers are deceived. The spectacle is a concrete inversion of life, an autonomous movement ofthe non living.”

Social media: democratizing fashion or dictating our lives?

Indeed, this raises the question of whether social media’s proliferation of images has truly democratised fashion or merely inundated us with unattainable ideals. Has social media democratised fashion? Or our lives?

In conclusion, the no-phones trend signifies a desire for genuine engagement and connection. But it also prompts reflection on the impact of social media on our perception of fashion and life itself.

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Tired of social media?

In search of healthier connections

Are you tired of social media? Do you find yourself frustrated with the rampant poor communication, tricks, and manipulation? You are not alone. Join the growing number of people becoming increasingly weary of social media.

Social media status

The Twitter Muskification is a disaster. Even Meta asks for a monthly fee: the offer is either a paid account to avoid advertising or a free account. If you choose the free option, Meta informs you that they will use your data for targeting. Well, targeting and data exploitation was their usual practice. They just said it openly! Then, another suggestion says: get a verification badge so your followers will know it’s really you! Perhaps those who need to feel important will be happy with it.

Among the large numbers of people who still share the recurring hoax on their account: “I do not give Facebook permission to bla bla bla…” – which makes you question human intelligence, one positive element emerged after these updates. Finally, users started opening their eyes. “Did you receive the message? Are you okay with it?”

Hey people, welcome! Yes, we received the message. And, no, we’re not okay with it! We won’t pay! Actually, we are so disappointed that we are searching for alternative opportunities to connect.

But it seems we are not alone. In fact, according to Wired, millennials (aged between 27 and 42), the first-gen social media users, are tired of being constantly connected.
Read the full article here.

“Twitter is bad (sorry, I will never refer to it as X). Instagram is overrun with ads and influencers hawking face creams and fitness tips. TikTok, what originally felt like a glossier alternative to YouTube, increasingly resembles an outlet mall full of “dupes” prizing hype over lasting influence.”

Don’t you agree?

Niche fashion & social media

Social media isn’t any more an opportunity to stay connected. That is gone. Misinformation, aggressive language, duck faces, boobs, a race to show the best bag, shoes or travels! It’s all about hate speech and toxic engagement.

And we, as tiny niche fashion online retailer for a small group of free thinkers and connoisseurs unsatisfied by mainstream fashion or fake sustainable clothes, should be happy with just showing outfits in order to sell. But that’s not us.
We aren’t on Instagram solely for marketing purposes. Our goal is to spread awareness, share knowledge and exchange thoughts. Indeed, we enjoy interacting with thoughtful individuals.

Being eternally connected, informed on any trend and absorbed in a time-consuming activity leads nowhere. In fact, people are overwhelmed and exhausted by the constant stream of information and the pressure to keep up with it all.

But, by taking a step back, we can regain control of our lives and focus on what truly matters.

Genuine connections in smaller groups

However, we believe that connecting in smaller groups can be healthier. Whether the interactions happen in person or online, smaller groups sharing respectful content develop a real sense of community.

What’s your viewpoint on this?

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The new gods: rise and fall of celebrities phenomenon

How popularity drives people’s choices

The new gods are inhabitants of our present-day civilization, celebrated like geniuses. Although what they offer is their popularity, nothing else. There’s no Van Gogh, no Mozart or David Bowie. And no Cristobal Balenciaga or Jean Paul Gaultier. Meaning, no real geniuses.

We could summarise the latest events as “the rise and fall of celebrities” phenomenon. And it has a lot to do with fashion brands.

The new gods are famous individuals. For some reason – perhaps not understandable to us – people put them on a pedestal. But, sooner or later, something goes wrong. So those who put them in that venerable position wake up like they had a revelation and push them down again.

The new gods: latest events

Specifically, we are talking about a couple of events that caused strong reactions.

First, much acclaimed Demna Gvasalia – considered one of the gods of fashion designers by international crowds – ended up on the slippery ground. So far applauded, even if his uglified Balenciaga seemed pointless. But, after his disgraceful campaign featuring sexualized kids, negative comments on social media multiplied. Of course, the campaign was unacceptable. Indeed his work is just about provocation, and perhaps he has no more ideas.

However, so many people asked him to step down. Did they wake up altogether? Did it seem reasonable to kill Balenciaga’s heritage so far?

Second, Kayne West: rapper, producer and fashion designer. He spoke in support of the Nazis, and Twitter suspended his account. Did it make sense to listen to him, at least in the fashion field? Can his fans understand they made him rich?
(We explored the connection fashion / music here).

Celebrities and social media

These kinds of characters and their social media “emptiness” attract the masses. It’s a matter of understanding why so many people blindly fall in love with them, to the point of accepting absurdities. To the point of purchasing their products for so long, making them rich. 

Demna, Kayne. There’s a fil rouge connecting these celebrities’ phenomena, even though there are many more to mention in the club. The new gods, we have many of them! Born thanks to a shallow system based on tricking algorithms and, therefore, people. Who, in the end, proudly elevate them to a higher status.

Why masses follow the new gods

We are giving people credit for their popularity and follower base. Based on what? Are they geniuses? Do they have any valuable ideas? Any particular skill? No, their fame is everything. And provocation is all they can do. Out of that, nothing arises.

But they can move a lot of money. Simply because so many people give them credit!

Marketing plays a huge role in hammering with advertising and social campaigns. If someone invests money, it’s not difficult to influence people and make more money. They will trust blindly!

Individuals lose connections with their brain activity and buy into any product or idea, even if they make no sense!

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Social media & value

In our modern and hyper-connected society, life revolves around social media. While it is nice to be in touch with your audience, it is impossible not to notice the vain by-product of this virtual life: images artificially created and obsessively shared. Yes, too much even for those of us that work in fashion!

Perhaps, you might think, social media worked well to boost self-confidence, instilling the idea that everyone can be super beautiful. We all have an amazing life. People need approval.
But if we dig deeper, we see the void generated, all the meaning has been swiped away. You mainly find empty boxes. Nice, but empty. And a certain horror rises in knowing that the percentage of suicides among teenagers has gone up due to social media.

Social media and fashion

Whatever they say, all this exaggerated overexposure didn’t bring anything positive. Not even in fashion. The expectation of fake models looking like plastic dolls together with poor language created a devastating environment.
The strategy to run a successful account consists of buying followers to attract the attention of a large audience and letting the algorithm fly. In other words, you end up talking to yourself in the mirror.
That is the game you have to play if you want to be successful unless — you need something more than a facade.

For people like us, who believe that buying books is way better than buying followers, the discomfort gets real. You don’t really want to interact with fake accounts, do you?

People who have no idea what they’re talking about, who are not able to distinguish a fast fashion brand from a high quality one, are not our point of reference. We do not consider such a person a leader, no matter how many followers they have.

It is possible to be on social media having a different approach, setting up a healthier environment based on quality and real connections, and being clear in your mind that you are playing a different game.

If you are looking for meaning, for something that matters, this is the challenge. Bring back valuable content. Bring back value. Share ideas, not plastic faces.

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