Introducing The Fashion Psychologist: Therapy à la Gucci?

It’s funny how the idea of psychology is often associated with images of lying on a couch, while a therapist analyses your every word. This idea might sound intense, but luckily that’s not what we do. Fashion psychology is a new field and we’ve come to realize that there is no shortage of interesting and creative theories about what it could be. We’ve picked and present to you the five most common statements we’ve heard when trying to explain what it is.

Image credits The Heidies

“I once went for a colour consultation, they told me I'm a spring type and should wear pastel colours!”

People often assume that fashion psychology is about helping people define their style by finding out what colours, fabrics or silhouettes suit them. Contrary to popular belief, fashion psychologists are not personal stylists. Although some would argue that certain colours are more complimentary for certain skin tones, these colour pairings are dependent on how a colour is perceived. The colours we choose to wear also hold a myriad of personal meanings, including the memories and experiences we attach to a particular hue. Each kaleidoscopic light-wave sparkles differently to each one of us.

Image credits Jasmine Deporta

“Can you analyse me based on what I'm wearing?”

Fashion psychologists (or any psychologists) cannot read your mind. So please relax and let your guards down! Despite the fact that fashion is a visual expression of identity, fashion psychologists do not make judgements about you based on what you are wearing, nor do we provide you with therapeutic sessions using clothes as a mediator to improve your overall mental health. Instead, we apply psychological insight to inform and create a richer experience with fashion, from the creation process to owning and loving the clothes that you have.

“You're not going to use psychology to make money, are you?”

Fashion psychologists don't study people to manipulate them into buying more products. Fashion psychologists want to understand how people behave, how they think and how their emotions work. We aim to explain the dynamics of people’s relationship with clothes, in order to help brands add value to their customers in a meaningful way. We will assist the fashion industry in looking beyond what people want, so as to discover WHY they actually want it, therefore helping brands cater to legitimate needs.

Image credits Jasmine Deporta
Image credits Isolde Woudstra

“How is talking about our problems going to help us meet the bottom line?”

Rather than focusing on the problems, of which we admit there are many; we use psychological theory to find solutions – solutions that are beneficial for everyone involved. Most people who work in fashion understand that without a constant flow of cash, even the most innovative ideas will remain exactly that – ideas. Those entrusted with the daily challenge of tapping into their creative juices to create products that are new, cutting-edge and most of all, better than those of the competitor, express that the process has oftentimes left them feeling exhausted. This, coupled with a lack of creative freedom, has resulted in feelings of increased stress, anxiety and disillusionment. We believe that fashion psychology can bridge the gap between the demands of the market and foster authentic creative expression by helping to improve processes, redefining creativity and most of all understanding what customers WILL want.

“But I don't care about fashion and trends, so what's the point?”

We understand that not all of you are die-hard Vogue fans. But whether you follow trends or not, as long as you are getting dressed every day, you are making a statement about who you are and which social group you belong to. The clothes we wear influence our interactions with others, how we perceive ourselves and even how we think and behave. Fashion can be used to empower the self and reclaim self-worth. Ultimately this is an industry that employs millions of people worldwide, generates trillions of dollars globally and profoundly affects the environment. Fashion is many things – trivial is not one of them.

Image credits Brooke Didonato

So what is fashion psychology?

Fashion psychology is the intersection of two seemingly disconnected disciplines. Psychology emphasises the value of the human experience, both individually and collectively, by using research to lead to new insights that help to improve lives. Fashion is ultimately about people, for people and made by people; every stage of the supply chain is touched by human hands. By crossing psychology with fashion, we place humanity at the centre of fashion, address existing challenges and adopt a problem-solving attitude with the intention of increasing well-being in society.