The romanticization of haute couture promotes harmful perceptions of fashion

High fashion encourages the idea that clothing has to be exclusive to be truly fashionable

By Zeinab Rakhshandehroo

Luxury, glamor and extravagance are what come to mind when I think of high fashion, or, as it is more commonly known, haute couture. Haute couture refers to incredibly high-quality, hand-made clothing designed by specific brands.

High fashion clothing is not available in just any store, however. Haute couture is only created and showcased during the bi-yearly couture shows held in Paris, according to The Culture Trip. The shows display the hand-made garments produced by select brands, each of which cost approximately  $10,000 to $100,000, according to The New York Times.

A GLAMOROUS FACADE: The grand sets of haute couture shows adds to the upscale image of luxury fashion. (Photo courtesy of Elle Decor)

However, the grandeur surrounding high fashion has a negative impact on societal impressions of fashion. The glamorous fashion shows and exorbitant prices encourage the idea that exclusive and expensive is better. This perception of fashion can affect people of middle or lower classes, to whom haute couture is inaccessible, and cause them to feel like they can’t reach the ideal beauty and style displayed in high fashion. The high standards set by haute couture may spread the idea that those whose clothing does not meet the haute couture criteria cannot be stylish or fashionable.

Fashion is an art, which, in theory, is open to everyone. Anyone with a creative mind and passion can create unique and beautiful styles. However, by glamorizing high fashion, brands make it so that only one variety of clothing is considered to be of good quality: the expensive and exclusive kind. This ideology discourages those who aspire to become part of the fashion industry.

Ultimately, the glamor and exclusivity of “haute couture” clothing promotes views of fashion that glorify wealth and extravagance and exclude those who are not part of the elite. While high fashion clothing is certainly unique and of high quality, it should not be idealized in such an extreme manner. Fashion is for everyone, and rather than promote luxury fashion as the only admirable style of clothing, all forms of fashion for all people should be encouraged and valued.