With new pubs, bars and restaurants opening every weekend and replacing the outdated ones, I wonder, has food become the new fashion?
With the food industry alive and kicking, the plush modernity that has taken over the dining experience, the innovative streak rolling on to the menus, food has become more than one of life’s great pleasures — It has become a signifier of style, too.
As I write this, I also acknowledge the fact that it’s food! Food can never go out of fashion. Much like clothes. As much as people need clothes to cover themselves, they also need food to survive. But the categories are a different story altogether. Much like colors, silhouettes and cuts which go in and out of current trends, different foods also swing in and out of fashion. Remember the crazy Keto Diet or the rainbow color food items all over Instagram and how they penetrated the market? They were all trends and they all came and went.
With more millennials, increased pocket sizes and new international cuisines and brands, the metropolitan cities are experiencing new dynamism. The market is getting diverse from diet-based cafes to gluttonous restaurants, from multi-cuisine diners to international concepts and regional Indian places, luxury nightclubs, et all.
But here’s a thing to ponder about. In a sea of ranging food items, what makes a particular food trend stick? What makes it relevant? The answer was, is and always will be — taste. This is the expected answer, I know, but as somebody who has spent quite some time in the industry, I will blow raspberries if someone says it. The correct answer would be social media. Case in point? Look at the giant thalis on Instagram, or the quirky “freak” food trends. They look great! They are okay in taste. But it highlights the fact that once you make content this viral and relatable, there’s no looking back from it. And for people consuming it, the taste takes a backseat.
Having said that, it’s worth noting that food as fashion runs deeper than some great social media content and followers. The idea of food has shifted from just satisfying one’s hunger to making it a status symbol. I agree with Martha Stewart when she says that food has become more than one of life’s great pleasures. She makes a very strong argument about how food has become a signifier of “style”. In this context, “you are what you eat” makes absolute sense. Chefs curate plates of foods as their expression and the only difference is that this expression is gobbled down while we wear what fashion designers curate. Chefs are celebrated, new menus are launched at successful parties. Like fashion shows, food festivals are planned around the city round the year and so are the launch parties for restaurants.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, food is the new fashion!