Life Imitates Art: The Great Gatsby Effect

You’ve probably heard that art imitates life, but sometimes it’s the other way around and life imitates art, especially if the art form is a movie. The blog, Fashionata reported that eBay is experiencing what they are calling a “Gatsby” effect, and after a quick check of Amazon it appears that the effect is popping up there too.

This isn’t the first time a movie has inspired a fashion trend. “Flashdance” brought us big sweaters and leg warmers, “Clueless” brought a resurgence of plaid schoolgirl skirts, and for those with a little more life experience under their belts, you might remember that the gorgeous Audrey Hepburn gave us a variety of stunning outfit styles to replicate in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”


This time around, however, it’s the 1920′s flapper look inspired by the soon-to-be released movie “The Great Gatsby,” starring Leonardo Di Caprio, Joel Edgerton, Tobey Maguire, and Carey Mulligan. Even before the movie was released, women were inspired and shopping for vintage 1920 purses, dresses, and headpieces.

While the F. Scott Fitzgerald book inspired the movie itself, the fashion trend is definitely riding the wave of the upcoming movie. A rep from eBay recently stated that there has been an increase of more than 530-percent gross merchandise volume (GMV) in “Gatsby” related clothing in the past year. There are some items showing up on Amazon too, such as flapper dresses, berets, and some headpieces.

The point here is twofold. First, if you have vintage clothing from that time period, now is the time to get them listed and make sure you put “Gatsby” as a keyword.

Second, sellers need to keep eyes and ears open and take notice of trends inspired by movies and television shows. Did you know that the furniture and clothing styles of the 1950s have seen a revival because of the television show Mad Men? The show is now set in 1968, so if you have vintage 1970s clothing (and especially the boots!) tucked away in the back of the closet or up in the attic, it might be worth pulling them out and listing them online.

The movie was released on May 10, but it’s not too late to get some flapper or deco items listed (or your old copy of the book), but remember the public is fickle, so this trend will probably be reaching its climax shortly. Try paying attention to the buzz for the next period film or television show and ride the wave from the very beginning.

This guest post was contributed by Kat Simpson. Kat is a trusted eCommerce author, speaker, educator, and entrepreneur. Kat Simpson has been a successful eCommerce merchant for over 10 years; is an eBay Education Specialist and Gold Level PowerSeller, as well as a successful Amazon merchant. Currently Kat is the hosts the popular weekly eCommerce Podcast That Kat Radio and an active Facebook Group ThatKat.

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