[In the reconfigured SOAN curriculum, seniors in the department spend their Fall semester reading somewhat comprehensively on two topics they select from the breadth of sociological and anthropological interests. For many of the seniors, that new foundation in the social scientific literature will inform the independent research projects they will design and then conduct in the Spring semester. As we approach the midway point of the Fall semester, I asked students in my thesis seminar to sketch the research projects they are configuring for their last semester at Puget Sound. At this point, these are just plans, but collectively this group of projects look great.]
Up until a month ago, whenever someone would say “senior thesis”, my eyes would swell with fear. How was I supposed to write an extensive research paper on a topic that I would have to dedicate myself to whole-heartedly? How could I even begin to pick a topic? Luckily, fate helped me out a bit. I knew that I wanted my thesis to be applicable to my future career path: fashion styling. As I was faced with the dilemma of picking a research topic, I was offered my post-grad dream job. In May, I’ll be moving to New York City to assist an editorial stylist.
I check my Pinterest account multiple times a day, I online window shop at my favorite clothing stores, and I am a loyal follower to multiple fashion blogs. I do all of these things to stay up to date on the week’s newest trends. But I caught myself wondering: Why? What’s the point? And thus, the idea of my thesis began to formulate. As a fashion stylist in the making, I probably shouldn’t find fashion trends arbitrary. But I do. And even worse? I still follow them.
So here is the question I set out to answer: who is creating these fashion trends, and why do people pay attention to them? First, I plan on speaking with different fashion influencers, from buyers, designers, stylists, to bloggers. I want to get a sense of where they are getting their trend ideas from and how they’re predicting the next popular style. Second, I want to interview other trend-followers like me to get a sense of what sources they’re using to look at fashion trends, what they pay attention to, and what they ignore. This research design will allow me to better understand the science behind fashion trends.