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!

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.