Does Fashion Influence and Impact Mental Health?



With society becoming more conscious of their appearance, the obsession with factors such as materialistic goods have placed a great deal of negativity towards the mental health of today's generation. This is especially the case in the younger age range whereby ones personal appearance can determine the way others judge this individual before making any means of personal communication. This puts a great deal of stress on any member of a given community, where they feel the need to dress accordingly to the likelihood of others to become accepted and seen equally.


Self expression


Through the ease of accessing various styles of fashion products both online and in-store, this presents a sense of satisfaction, which can be a technique to display a person's mood and style for both professional and personal needs. Many colleges and universities state that there is no formal dress code, so the younger generation have the capability to express themselves showing the power and importance fashion can have as a direct impact to an individual's life.


Various scholars such as Mathew (2015) conducted a study where confidence and motivation to attend educational and social events had an increase when students were able to make their personal choice in their appearance. The impact fashion has towards mental health is crucial, as through self expression comes confidence, and through confidence comes success.


The fashion media and pressure


With digital and traditional media being easily accessible at low costs, this is the reason to why many choose to attract themselves to viewing the current affairs of others, whilst expressing their posts through opinions and statements.


Furthermore, the media can be considered a toxic element towards the younger age group due to presenting the idea of what may be considered acceptable and what trend is upcoming or ended. This can unfortunately lead to extreme pressure and reliance of constantly changing the appearance through materialistic fashion products, and as a result can cause multiple forms of stress whether it is mentally due to the constant expectations or financial demand.


Such influences can consequence in people to shy away from social events where they feel as though their characteristic and personal reflections are hindered while they feel obliged to meet the requirements of others. However, through platforms such as Instagram and Facebook which are dedicated to connected users socially, smaller communities and groups can be formed and allow new users to join as this can bring individuals of a similar interests together.


Where one being may feel indirectly threatened to match the appearance of everyone else, through fashion communities they could feel a higher purpose in accepting who they are with others who have experienced the same thing, thus positively impacting their mental health. This can give individuals the confidence to disregard the negative opinions of others in the real world, and choose to dress to their liking which can have a strong effect on mental health.


Mental health concerns within the fashion industry


Whilst the fashion industry portrays a lifestyle of luxury, excitement, fame and excitement, the models/professionals within this line of work can experience highly traumatic events that are far from what is presented through to society. Unfortunately, we live in a world where criticism can be the first line of thought through accessing an individuals success whereby this form of putting someone else down can satisfy another.


With fashion being a major part of appearance, there are often stereotypical assumptions to what is suited towards a given style or trend, influencing mental health of those within the industry. The most minor areas within a person's body can bring others to negatively comment on physical appearances such as height and size, as well as tone of skin colours and their coordination to the colour of the clothing worn.


Such intimidating opinions can lead to the start of mental illnesses and lack in confidence. Many have contemplated alarming actions such as starvation and the modification of their own body in order to present the 'correct' appearance. Nobody should feel the need to impress those around them before putting their mental health first, however through the competitive and fast paced world we live in today, many sacrifice the mental happiness of their life in order to be accepted.