As the lights come up at Miu Miu and the stream of Instagram shots from the autumn/winter 14 collections finally begin to yield, it is once again possible to breathe without inhaling a toxic amount of hairspray and hot air. Aside from all the endless reporting that brights are the new bolds (feel free to insert your own vaguely alliterative trend), what have we actually learned? Well for one thing, we’ve learned that when it comes to keeping up, you can never have a fast enough internet connection! The fashion world may still foster a well-loved reputation for being haughty and exclusive but it’s never seemed keener to capture our attention. Since Burberry set the trend live streaming their runway for autumn/winter 10, every fashion house has been jumping aboard, not that we need it, thanks to the fashion press assuming it’s part of their job description to instagram multiple angle shots of every look. All this over-sharing might seem out of character, but for an industry with global revenue of $1.2 trillion it makes perfect sense. Amidst the trillions, LVMH still turned a flat profit in 2013 and the average salary for a fashion designer sits at a comparatively meager £37k. Even the most legendary houses are beginning to realise that if they want to make the most of their gargantuan industry, they need to start selling. A lot. And it shows; if there was one thing that struck me about the autumn/winter 14 collections it was the silent presence of the consumer on the runway. While the happy meals at Moschino were trademark Jeremy Scott, the drive-through click-to-buy digital technology running alongside it was not. We might not be sitting front row at every show, but (forgive me) the shows are all show anyway – it turns out fashion’s biggest secret last season was that we were all invited.

But aren’t seasons a bit passé anyway? Collections clearly tied to Spring or Fall are becoming less common, another sign that rigid industry standards are bending to meet the demand of new shoppers. It’s hardly surprising, I’ve bought things at private orders which upon arrival six months later have been immediately shoved to the back of my cupboard and promptly sold on ebay. While we’re all convinced we have classic signature style, there are precious few who are actually going to be channeling the same silhouette post-hibernation as they are in September after all the frantic YouTube personal training sessions. This new immediacy is catering to an impulsiveness we’ve always felt, it means we can desperately desire something and hold it in our arms in the same elated gasp. In a world where falling in love on Tinder is a legitimate possibility, it’s pretty much a given that we’re going to becoming more demanding as consumers across all industries. Think about the television revolution of the last decade, a medium which went from uniting the country over five solitary channels, to Netflix, iPlayer and an explosion of accessibility wherever and whenever you happen to want to watch back to back Game of Thrones. Inclusive is the by word of the season, and delayed gratification is as dated as trying on clothes before you buy them. You couldn’t find a more appropriate symbol of this new, youth-focused, commercialized concept than the ubiquitous Moschino french fries phone case. There’s no question it was designed as a digital accessory, a little slice of the Jeremy Scott pizza destined to adorn selfies the world over.

How the fashion industry interacts with digital communities is significant in more ways than Instagram, too. There’s never been an easier way to tap into the next generation of shoppers than utilizing online communities. As played out as the reference to Tumblr may be, it’s still hitting high fashion houses full force. That kind of metamorphic taste reinforces the idea that young people will like pretty much anything if it has the right label and the right celebrity ambassador, and, while I’m not convinced, it’s an idea that big business can’t get enough of. The problem is, as keen as big labels are to tap into the next generation of mass-consumers, they’re delusional if it thinks we’re all going to fall head over heels with anything we have the ability to click.

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