Let's all stop pretending that fashion is dying.
Feb 17, 2017
Punk is not dead, but neither is fashion. 'Yeah, duh!', I hear you say, 'the fashion weeks are going on warp speed as we speak!' Then why do I feel the need to state that obvious fact? Several reasons really. The first one is that exactly 2 years ago Dutch trendwatcher Lidewij Edelkoort declared the death of aformentioned with appropriate pathos. And though I quite agree with her complaints about the fash bizz (being that nowadays clothes are merely meant for generating likes and not for wearing, and that quantity over quality results in poorly made garments with a sadly short life span), I do not see why these defects should mean the end of a sociological mechanism that is about as old as mankind itself.
Ever since Edelkoort made her bold statement, fashion editors and bloggers around the world seem to have deemed it fashionable (insert grunt here) to parrot her apocalyptical words. If you remember, around that same time the minismalist look was all the rage. One wouldn't wanna be caught dead in any colours but black, beige and grey and the understated Céline look was basically the epitome of style. So naturally, declaring trends to be silly, fleething and whimsical things which were generally passé was very bon ton. Timeless classics were supposed be all anyone would wanna wear for like ever. So that was it. The end of fashion.
But, fashion being fashion, this monodrobe trend quickly made way for more a quirky fashion, filled with 90's pop-culture references and skatestyle elements. Prompting influential fashion sites such as Man Repeller to state that we were now officially in The Era of Personal Style and fashion magazines to conclude that 'there are no more trends!' and 'anything goes!'. Oh, right, so just because there is no more appropriate skirt lenght of the season - like since the sixties - , there are no more trends?! What about pink, ruffles, loafers, jeans with uneven hemlines, hoop earrings, chokers, teddy and lammy coats, gucci belts, band T-shirts, block heeled ankle boots, and need I go on?
Vetements popularity only seems to have fortified popular belief that fashion is dying or at least majorly changing. And I'll admit, the brand is doing quite a lot of things differently. Like emphasizing the cloting itself and not the glitter and the glamour or the marketing talks, or like actually selling the clothing that they show on the runway or like making just two collections per year instead of four. But then again they're not the only ones who got sick of the fashion bizz's killing tempo (Raf Simons for instance quit Dior for that exact reason and Azzedine Alaïa only holds fashion shows when he feels like it). No, in fact, with their well known ugly aesthetics that aims on our urge for clothes that feel fresh, mixed with enough streetwear elements to make the newness accessible to a large group of people, Vetements couldn't embody fashion more than it does. And judging by its enormous influence on what high street stores are selling and what people are wearing, fashion really couldn't be more alive. Demna Gvasalia said himself that they want to give people the feeling that they belong to a group. And I ask of you now, what more is fashion than wanting to belong to certain crowd, that is just a bit ahead of all the other people? Just a bit trendier, just a bit fresher? Well, obviously, it's a lot more. But I do believe that that is the essence. That is the mechanism that keeps it going. That makes new trends emerge, and old ones get old (you know, like when to many people start wearing sneakers heels and you're like ugh, what did I even ever see in those things?!).
So yes, things might be slightly shifting in the fashion bizz, but fashion(s) will never seize to exist. And no matter how much I would like be indifferent towards trends, I'm afraid I'll never be happy as a complete minimalist. Neither do I see myself developing an extravagant signature style that I'll be able to stick to for the rest of my life. I'm afraid I'll never be fully immune to the thrill of 'the new'. And maybe that is what's really bugging me here: That I simply don't know how I will ever fully unite my love for fashion with a conscious attitude towards our planet and other human beings.