Everyone knows you can’t wear white after Labor Day, but personally, our favorite time to wear our white jeans is in September when it’s cooled down enough for pants but you still are enjoying the crispness that white brings to your wardrobe. To be transparent, we also really love breaking the rules, so there’s that. But have you ever stopped to ask yourself why not wearing white after Labor Day is even a rule? Turns out fashion plays a larger role in your cultural assumptions than you might be lead to believe. Let’s dive into how fashion dictates culture.
The Origin of Not Wearing White After Labor Day
Originally this fashion edict was followed by the upper echelon society to maintain status at society events in the 1880’s. It remained within the upper class until the mid-century when America was recovering from the recession and the war. In the 1950’s fashion publications began labeling “white after Labor Day” as a fashion faux-pas in an attempt to generate sales for the new retail season, and this proceeded to stick for easily the next 50 years. Today, wearing white after Labor Day is less abided by, as we’ve come to see fashion as breaking the rules rather than keeping them, however one thing remains, the industry always dictates the rules to begin with.
How Else Fashion Dictates Culture & Economy
Back in 2009, the economy was beyond bleak and sales were down. Anna Wintour took the opportunity to spearhead a new initiative called Fashion’s Night Out specifically to create traffic and sales in retail at the opportune time when NYC is abuzz for fashion week in September. Four years, and 530 cities later, it successfully generated press and sales into the local retail economy. Ultimately, it needed to dissolve because it had evolved into an event for free booze and a good Instagram photo without ever making a purchase however the initial results were a success.
What’s Next? The Case for Conscious Consumerism
We are currently in another (ahem... continued?) retail slump. Established brands are struggling to maintain excitement for the consumer that generates into sales, and emerging designers are struggling to grow their brand awareness against the major players. Furthermore, there is not an easy fix because the supply of new clothing vastly outnumbers the demand thanks to fast fashion. This is our heart behind promoting conscious consumerism. There are great brands that not only create inspiring pieces for your wardrobe but also operate in a way that positively affects our global economy bringing income to those in need. So this Fall, by all means, wear white after Labor Day, but when you shop, stop to think about what that brand supports and buy better rather than simply buying more.
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