A critique of competition in the fashion industry

Jana Ismail
Senior Staff Writer

Competition is the driving force behind the fashion industry. Designers thrive on the fear of being outdone by their competitors. But, has the competitive nature of fashion gone rampant?

Healthy competition is an essential component to any business. It pushes manufacturers to create and put out the best possible products as they always want to be better than the competitors. Alas, that is no different in the business of fashion.

The fashion industry is known for how exclusive it is and how competitive it can be. To be successful, one has to know how to insert their foot in the door and how to distinguish themselves from the thousands of others thriving for that same spot.

Many factors drive the competitiveness in the fashion industry. The first of them being the glitz and glamour façade of the industry. The fashion industry exudes this opulent and fascinating aura that appeals to millions around the world. This creates a saturated business where the level of competitiveness is through the roof. To succeed in the world of fashion, certain standards must be met. The allure of the industry is deceiving, since climbing to the top requires work that isn’t as thrilling and desirable as some would like to think.

Another factor is the need to keep up with the trends and stay creative. Every season, new trends pop up, prompting the need to produce designs that appeal to consumers. The constant need to change and adapt to new trends creates constant competition among fashion designers.

In recent years, competition in the fashion industry has also become competition between fashion bloggers and influencers. Day by day, new influencers are appearing on Instagram. This has made it increasingly difficult to reach the desired level of success. Seven years ago, when bloggers were just starting to emerge, it was easier to get ahead as there weren’t as many fighting for the limelight. Instagram has facilitated the process by creating such an easy access platform.

Competition in the fashion industry has grown out of being only a source of motivation and a natural consequence of business to becoming an integral of those who only consume fashion.  

The media attention placed on celebrities has made them more aware of their clothing habits and the need to constantly look good. The rise of shows like Fashion Police have also added pressure on the outfits celebrities wear especially when attending an award show. Celebrities are constantly pitted against each other, especially in segments such as ‘Who Wore It Better?’. The media has taken to judging and comparing professionals based on their outfits rather than on their work.

In this sense, competition in the fashion industry has taken a new life outside the business context. It has become akin to a virus that has infiltrated all aspects of fashion. Fashion has even become a tool through which people try to one up their competition.

These days, there is competition in fashion and fashion in competition.

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