From the early days of the internet where dial-up reigned supreme, to our current hyper-online age, a sense of community has been one of the key traits that defines the greatest subcultures online. Whether its Instagram accounts dedicated solely to David Byrne dances, or forums to tear each other’s favourite albums apart, there exists a place online for any of us who wants a platform to flaunt our weirdness and explore creative passions.
However, in recent years there has been no greater online development comparable to fashions rapid reselling evolution. Whilst it may have been noticeable that our way of buying clothes has become much easier, it seems that the true creative impact potentially has not yet been truly understood or appreciated within the wider community.
The internet being a gateway to exploring our individuality is by no means a new or unknown concept – as far as fashion is concerned, it seems like the idea has only recently come into being. Where in the past, stars such as Kanye West (or ye, or however he likes to be called now) would be the main outlet for fashion news on blogs like KanyeUniversecity.com, it seems as though the community now has enough breathing room to work on their own with only minor input from the influencers and stylists who exist primarily on the same spaces.
When you compare past reactions to individual collections by designers like Vivienne Westwood, the difference in public following becomes clear. It seems almost too good to be true that people no longer have to rely on dated ideas such as popularised takes by bigger names in the industry. While it’s good that bigger critical analysis still exists. It now seems to act more like guidelines and recommendations, rather than objective fact as to what people should be wearing.
If you want evidence to this claim, look no further than the people. Sellers and buyers are running riot on apps such as Grailed, which flaunted over 8.4 million user visits in April. On sites like Grailed, consumers have been gifted a playground to truly explore their identity with what they want to wear. One such seller (and stylist), Alex Maxamenko feels as though “consumers can blend modernity with coveted grails of the past”. Points like this make it evident that the old way of mass-produced trends are giving way to communities who rely only on their own exploration to pave their path and appreciate the wonders of fashion, with every style getting its time in the spotlight online.
Posts like the Community Fits series from Grailed advertise each users exact incomparable style that has flourished alongside the rapid increase of users on the site. Sites like Grailed are so much more than just a place to buy our favourite pieces. They have been able to provide a new platform that genuinely treasures its users and the creativity they bring with them.
However, Grailed and online sellers are only one piece of the machine that provides this unique space for consumers. On the other side of the coin exists the almost infinite number of message-boards, forums, subreddits, Discord servers, and other such sites. With these sites exist the opportunity for people to fully engage with one another through the interconnectivity allowed by the internet. Considering the past where our interested remained local to us, places such as Discord provide new ground “for many people in fashion to connect”, according to LCF Fashion Design Technology (Menswear) student Bileh.
When considering the numerous developments by larger brands, it can be hoped that the importance of these online communities is finally coming to the forefront. Examples of larger stores such as HBX, the Hypebeast run store, introducing its own archives in store makes it very apparent that the mainstream is moving to attract the cultural curators based online. Though it should be noted that anyone truly wanting to go out and find their grails certainly should concentrate more on sellers like Alex Maxamenko or Constant Practice because it the difference in appreciation and curation by independent sellers against larger stores is still obvious. You really will find no place better than these cult communities dedicated to the designers. All that’s left is for people to go out and spend on all these past pieces until their hearts are absolutely content in all they own and wear.
In an ecosystem where sellers like the aforementioned Maxamenko “wake up every day extremely grateful to have [their] place in such an expansive community” it’s hard to think that the new age of internet reselling is anything but a welcome foundation where inspirations can thrive and “personality seems to shine through much more so now than ever”.