Our economic downturn has not only brought with it disillusionment and insecurities but also in its wake has created a new type of nationalism.
Fashionalism which is a growing trend of blending fashion with patriotism has become the next buzzword. The trend first began to grab hold during the presidential election with Obama supporters sporting graphic tees depicting soon-to-be President Barack Obama’s face. The “Yes We Can” fervor is now the country’s drum roll for change and nationalistic pride.
The main idea behind fashionalism is to make nationalism “hip” and to give citizens a sense of ownership in their country’s economic and social landscape by purchasing American designers and brands.
American consumers are being encouraged to seek affordable, fashionable options with brands such as J. Crew and Liz Claiborne. American designers, such as Thakoon and Jason Wu, who represent the multicultural blend of American culture, have become, overnight, household names thanks to First Lady Michelle Obama.
We, in the United States, are not only experiencing a surge in nationalistic pride in our fashion choices, but this phenomenon has also taken fast hold in fashion capitals across the globe.
British designers have also been inspired by national pride where at a Vivienne Westwood show, one buyer listed new trends spotted in London including designer accessories featuring the Union Jack.
As well as purchasing fashion items with the British flag emblazoned on them, British buyers, same as American buyers, are concentrating on stocking stores with brands and designers that are specific to its respective country. In Great Britain, this includes items from designers, Vivienne Westwood and Paul Smith.
It is interesting to note that the wave in fashionalism has crested during a time when the G20 summit is taking place. The media has spent a significant amount time scrutinizing the attire of First Ladies, Michelle Obama and Sarah Brown. Both women have made a clear fashion nationalistic fashion statement by choosing to wear “homegrown” fashions.
The purpose of the current London G20 Summit is to bring the world’s biggest economies together so they can work to find a solution to help restore global economic growth through better international coordination. While at the same time, many of the G20 nation members have already implemented measures designed to restrict trade and protect local industries.
Aside from the concern to protect national industries, there are many other reasons that may be connected to the rise in fashionalism. One reason may stem from a need to exert patriotic pride and evoke consumer confidence despite the toll the recession has taken on jobs and businesses. Another reason could be that our need for security has turned us back to those brands that are familiar and have a trusted reputation
While an interest in nationalist shopping continues to grow, many proponents of free trade and globalism are concerned that ultimately buying locally may hurt international trade and stunt economic growth in the long term.
So with concerns of economic growth and stability in mind, one question remains to be addressed. With such a strong insurgence and interest in nationalistic pride and shopping, will transplants such as TopShop, H&M, and Zara strive in this environment or find themselves pushed out in the interest of fashionalism?