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There’s a new fashion week popping up every month. But who needs the runway when we can take our style inspiration from the screen which now brings under its umbrella not just Hollywood movies, theatres and magazines but also the entire online world, social media, web series, online influencers and many more digital avenues.
Fashion draws inspiration from social and cultural movements around us. Popular culture aka pop culture influences the majority of people and particularly the youth who are attempting to build an identity.
Since a lot of the tech-savvy and Instagram generation feeds on pop culture in their spare time, it has surely influenced several lifestyle trends, including fashion. Let’s break down pop culture’s impact on fashion and find out why a million people would give an arm and a leg to cop the exact same bag like Rihanna, well, even a knock-off like her bag.
Raise your hand if you’ve ever played Buzzfeed’s ‘Guess The Celeb’ quizzes and raise both your hands if you’ve got all its answers right. *shamefully raises both hands* As we write this, some celebrities are the number one trending topic on Twitter.
And this is not just about celebrities, it spreads across — food, music, fashion, travel, even political opinions. We love this-just-in things, and we really can’t help it. If you’re wondering whether your interest is veering into fanatic territory and obsession with newest trends, count us in, we’re on board the same bus.
Pop culture creates curiosity amongst people for wanting the “newly popular” thing. When something is fresh and exclusive many people are driven to it for status. They need approval and validation. Whether it is partaking in the new reel trend or baking banana bread, we love to jump on every ‘it’ thing ‘cause why die from FOMO when you can simply get done and dusted with it.
That’s how pop culture drives interest as per its convenience.
There are celebrities whose style has left us in awe and influenced us to stride on the “risque” path like them. When celebrities and fashion collide, a dynamic and lethal concoction emerges, ushering and influencing millions at once in new trends and culture. Over the years, celebs have established themselves as notable fashion trend setters.
Read on to find out some of our favourite pop culture fashion muses.
She won our hearts as a princess, and she continues to influence our wardrobe choices as a fashion icon. The young princess was frequently pictured in '80s-style clothing, with plenty of frills and bows, when she first became a member of the royal family. However, the fashion icon quickly abandoned clothes associated with conventional aristocratic garb, opting instead for sexier designs; thank you, Gianni Versacci!
In 2021, season 4 of The Crown once again spotlighted Princess Diana’s fashion. Her outfits are so popular that even a child with the slightest of pop culture knowledge can pinpoint a dupe.
The show, apart from the uncanny resemblance between the lead actress Emma Corrin and Princess D, gathered immense noise for re-creating some of her iconic looks to the T. The forever-iconic big-collared overalls, the long trains, and puffs, well, lots and lots of puffs. The show just nailed it and how!
Let’s give it up to Jen for experimenting (and evolving!) with her fashion all through her run in the series, Friends. Remember when Jen… err… Rachel Green wore a tie under a top? Quite refreshing, isn’t it? Rachel Green has served us enough funny punchlines but her art of balancing high fashion with girl-next-door casuals, has been iconic!
And now that the show is yet again having a successful re-run on Netflix, Rachel’s fashion has a fresh crop of millennial audience lusting over her outfits. Such is the power of her character’s styling that genZ content creators are recreating her outfits. Well, that’s one legendary pop culture icon for you!
Pop culture and Madonna are such synonyms of each other that neither of the two can be named separately. Madonna is, without a doubt, a clear depiction of music, controversy, and individuality for a large number of individuals. Aside from that, she is unmistakably regarded as a fashion icon. Her style is still imitated by her fans even today. She popularised hipsters and lace shirts in the 1980s, but fishnet stockings, calf-length black leggings, and knee-high leather boots are still her signature looks. Madonna now at the age of 63 is still as refreshing as ever and her instagram uploads stirs an uproar every now and then.
Lady Gaga has a bold sense of style and isn't afraid to experiment. Designers Alexander McQueen and Marc Jacobs have taken inspiration from her unconventional looks and incorporated them into their collections. She's also given a boost to the edgy trend of wearing only underpants with jackets and blouses. This would generally be regarded as ludicrous, but hey! That’s Lady Gaga we’re talking about. Thanks to Gaga, wet-looking trousers and bodysuits have become a fad on the runways and in the streets; everyone seems to be wearing them.
We know you expected them way above on the list but here they are. The Kardashian, or America’s First Family as people comically love to call them, is a family that has redefined, shattered, and broken every pop culture norm in every possible way. Last we checked, almost every member of the family is a millionaire with Kylie (the youngest Kar-Jenner sister) fabulously boasting her ‘Youngest Billionaire In The World’ title like nobody’s business.
The Kardashian’s, without giving a damn about what the world thinks about them have collectively made latex overalls cool, they brought a revolutionary shift towards athleisure trend (look at Kendall’s oh-so-amazing grocery run outfits), and hey, point us if we’re wrong but who gave a damn about bodycons before Kardashians started donning them over their perfectly crafted hourglass body.
Apart from these fashion trends, the Kardashians have also brought a wave of beauty looks right under the sun. Fuller lips? Contouring? Neon highlighters? You name it and the sisters have already checked it out long back.
For this generation, Harry Styles has become the David Bowie of fashion. It doesn't matter what colours, patterns, or cuts are used as long as it looks fly. He's also not afraid to experiment with androgynous fashion and have given some pretty risque looks.
Harry has very well shown that "men's clothing" and "women's clothing" are nearly interchangeable, and that nothing should prevent you from trying on apparel meant for the opposing sex and seeing how it looks and feels. See that nail colour in the picture below?
If it’s in pop culture, it’s definitely in our wardrobes. Pop culture should be credited to normalise many things that were earlier never open heartedly accepted by people. There are major impactful pop culture fashion moments that have given us a fresh take on it.
In the fashion industry, inclusiveness and diversity have been buzzwords for years. Surprisingly, these two notions have come up in everyone's conversations, especially among fashionistas. However, as time goes on, we see even the general people embracing gender-neutral clothing.
In mainstream media, fashion and gender have always been seen as fixed binaries. Men were considered as the polar opposite of women, and women could only wear dresses while men had to wear pants. Throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, this black-and-white method has been transformed. Society has realised that fashion and gender are intertwined with personal identity. As a result, androgynous fashion and personal expression are becoming increasingly accepted.
Look at Charliez Theron and Billy Porter rocking those gender-neutral attires at the red carpet.
Charliez Theron and Billy Porter on the Red Carpet
Thanks to the influence of Pop culture, the borders between men and women have blurred significantly, as both men and women embraced fashion styles that showcased aspects that had previously been exclusive to one gender.
Since the 1970s and 1980s, androgynous fashion has been popular in the West. From Freddie Mercury to David Bowie, singers and actors have always worn gender-neutral attire without hesitation, and this pop culture trend has persisted in a much larger sense today with the likes of Harry Styles and Jaden Smith leading the way.
Actors like Ranveer Singh, Aparshakti Khurranna, and Jim Sarbh have now adopted androgynous dress and given it their own snazzy spin.
Ranveer Singh and Aparshakti Khurana in Flared Skirt Suits
Another pop culture movement that broke stereotypes is male beauty. Thanks to social media, influencer led campaigns and celebrity trends that have normalised men wearing make-up, although, unlike androgynous fashion, it is still looking for acceptance by the masses.
We can't deny that it's getting increasingly popular, not just among content makers but also among mainstream personalities. We singled out a few men, who have no problem slapping on makeup to enhance their innate features. Well, as they – “different strokes for different folks” - we can all do whatever makes us feel confident.
Case in point, Pushpak Sen, a fashion student in Italy grabbed all the eyeballs for wearing a Saree on the streets of Milan. That’s not it, Pushpak’s Instagram too is full of pictures in various badass androgynous looks as well as fabulous makeup selfies.
Pushpak Sen donning a gorgeous saree on the streets of Milan
Digital boom has however led us to a very subjective take on pop culture. With social media’s existence coming into power, we can now get an immediate response on any trend or a pop culture event. Audience has the power to shun a trend or make it relevant in a matter of seconds. Now, we also have the power to revive a pop culture trend from the 50s and amplify its presence in today’s time. However, on the other hand, mass consumption has also made the shelf life of a trend bleak and almost short-termed. In the pursuit of following a celeb’s style, we also end up looking like each other’s clones.
With all these factors coming into play, these are absolutely exciting times to be in and observe pop culture and where it takes the fashion industry forward.
The symbiotic relationship between pop culture and fashion has always given us new and exciting trends. It comes as no surprise that whatever is selling off the shelves like hot cakes might fade out in a couple of years (looking at you, neon trend!) A new celebrity will rise, and a new torchbearer of fashion will lead the way. What must be considered is the fact that gen Z, the social media-obsessed generation, must not lose sight of their own identity while attempting to clone themselves into someone else.
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