Trend observations with a sociological eye from afar...
by Darryl S. Warren in Vancouver
A s far as the business aspect of this creative industry is concerned, fashion must meet the essential needs of the consumer to remain viable. For some time, the customer has demanded a level of utility to justify their investment. The unsettling economic picture that continuously reverberates through the news does little to calm the nerves of a frugal yet vain public, hence the continued hesitation regarding experimentation has been more confined to the details such as new textures and textiles while keeping familiar shapes alive in collections. Thus, the customer can feel safe knowing their purchase has more dollar per wear.
Unfortunately, this means that the designer is limited in where they can take us as we remain rigid in more classic forms. Eventually the public has less incentive to buy if fashion doesn't evolve and that can kill business. The creative stagnation out of economic austerity of the early 90s saw the death of many inventive houses when creativity was curbed in favor of utility; the public was too afraid to buy something that was too specific to carry through the changes of the seasons.
But our culture has been well-trained to evolve and to expect fashion to renew. Our attention spans don't hold out for a prolonged state of stagnation, even if our wallets want us to say otherwise. And so fashion pushes us forth. The compromise? Prints become the new expanded vocabulary.
With our palette cleansed via the minimalist phase that accompanied our need to tune out the noise satisfied, our need to reflect the overload of our senses that our world allows us returns. We acknowledge the overload. We embrace it. We let it wash over us as we seek to blend into the chaos of our world and find ways to reclaim the appreciation of its calamity. The mixing of vibrant colours in conjunction with all we have been incorporating in the creative process bring everything to full life. Note that we still have these traditional shapes with us. But we expand our vocabulary beyond colour and textile to add visual texture.
We look to move forward. we will do that. what we are seeing are baby steps to bring us to receive it. And the next season that follows Fall Winter 2015 will let us know whether the consumer approves of the direction.
T he more observant individuals who know their history are well aware of the oscillating pendulum of fashion influence with regards to source. That is, sometimes it's the fashion house who brings innovation to the public. It could be a new cut, a new length, a new volume, a textile or colour combination...it could be any and all of the above. The new standard harmonizes with how we feel. Sometimes it can be for a season or two, and sometimes it can set a standard for a part or a whole decade.
Other times, the houses run their course and it is the streets that provide new direction. here, a generation takes the reigns to cultivate anew dialogue to make up for what fashion hasn't heard. The 1920s was a result of youthful rebellion wanting fashion to meet their needs for ease and mobility; the clothes of the previous generation failed to recognize the new freedom this creative generation craved. The new geenration wanted to run and dance with wild abandon, embracing the role of the new mindset for a new century.
In later decades, we saw the pendulum swing again, more so after the postwar where commerce become more reactionary and responsive to youthful expressions. The denim of the 50s, the go-go eclectic looks of the 60s, the glam rock gender testing of the 70s all influenced fashion, and all came from the playful experimentation of the streets.
The 80s, a period of great fashion rule-breaking and innovation, also owes a lot to street fashion. Designers reconstituted the past as we do now as well as looked to street fashion to find new combinations as design inspiration for collections. There was a lot to look at as the decade fostered individuality and supported fashion involvement that was way more immersed compared to prior decades, in large part to greater accessibility of information , materials and capital (even if, for many, it was borrowed). Also, the birth of street marketing photography for design teams gained traction, and some designers were known for parking it in a cafe with a pen and paper in hand. With avant garde expression more prevalent and more celebrated in the fashion world, the individualistic street styles fed our thirst for everything exciting and new.
Since that last decade, there has been creativity in various levels, and yet more seasoned industry players will readily admit that the 80s never really left fashion, so influential and creative its output was. Seeing quite a few collections carry creative expressions that seem right out of the 80s is most intriguing. We have come full circle: our insecurity cloaks us in oversize just as it did in similar unstable status-conscious times while the deviation from rigid trend hallmarks aim to excite the market, all while providing the best-known creative platform to help set an important fashion milestone stage as we inch closer towards a century we have yet to newly identify.
The streets led us into our last century with great impact. So to may the streets do the same again. For now, the collections admit the power of the people, bringing back legendary energy to a new generation looking to own its new legacy yet not yet aware of what that will be. It's OK; we have patience to give.
W e seek a new voice and yet we find it hard to let go to do so. The Fall Winter 2015 collections reflect this sentiment overall, no matter how one tries to compartmentalize it. It does this by showing collections that throw together prints, layers, combinations, mostly in a slouchy yet artful assembly brought together by the direction of the designer. The assemblies alert us to our siphoning through of our past in an effort to find new vocabulary. However, as this log has repeatedly suggested, the past has already revealed how new voices and new expressions need to come about.
Currently, that person is in their teens and may be playing with what is before them, soaking in our experimentation as a foundation for a new generational, centenary and even millennial platform form which we will see a new way of expressing. Our documentation of history already shows how we achieved this last century. Now, as we wait those already in the spotlight seek to retain influence as they attempt to contribute towards this new voice. They are, yet from a 20th century perspective. A few may have the ability to divorces themselves form their early influences enough to break free with virgin eyes, but ultimately that freshness has yet to mature and take the helm.
It's exciting, like a countdown to a new identity yet to be unveiled. Each season will seem to give hints, and yet the real page-turner is half a decade away. the question is now where this influence will emerge. Or, with our connectivity that our technology affords, will it be a collective shift by consensus? Throw together a few ideas for the next few years as we all keep our eyes peeled.
T his blog has long upheld the notion of fashion being the barometer of our collective social expression woven with our personal expressions. That is, what you wear reflects not just who you are but connects with where we as a society are. While some may feel otherwise, our previous articles outlined how available materials and choices are long planed in advance, carefully chosen to fit with our social evolution. Even those who revisit existing fashions via vintage end up choosing items relevant to what is existing; we can't help it because we ultimately are programmed to connect. That is in our nature as a species.
Some of the collections trailing at the end of the Fall Winter 2015 presentations feature aspects of sustainability practices where fabrics are reutilized. This time around, the patchworking reflect our sophistication and intelligence that our technology affords (such as Threeasfour), while the approach reflects our ecological and economical sensibilities the times demands (such as by Awaveawake or Raquel Allegra). This isn't limited to clothing. In the fragrance world, Mugler's perfumes are designed to be refillable, reflecting economy and ecology that speaks to the public. We choose the elements in fashion to meet our needs while honoring our aesthetics. the frugality may be on either end of the supply chain, but it tells us how we adapt as we aim to carry on.
A s the Fall Winter 2015 shows wind down, we face the same retro exploration that keeps us rooted in familiarity while textile experimentation holds our hand to nudge us into the future.
Some of the more experimental designers, more European based, give some subtle architectural approaches in reconstructing aspects to test our courage. We aren't ready yet to break free of existing form. No, this will have to wait for a new element of fear. The same fear of being obsolete, outdated, left in the dust that comes every time a new youthful generation brings their identity with force.
We loathe it , laugh at it, then embrace it. You'd think we'd be over ourselves by now. Fortunately, fashion is helping us brave our future as it gets close to our skin.
1) https://www.change.org/p/please-make-alexander-mcqueen-s-savage-beauty-a-traveling-exhibition Please sign it, share it. we helped it to get out of NYC, so let's get this exhibit to go global!
2)...and comments from %spinfine-names.dat% are being erased, not posted.
Thank you and have a good week
H ere we are again, facing down death.
Well, those who have been paying attention to the museum circuit in Manhattan know of a certain show that has been quite the influence in the Fall Winter 2015 shows.
The morbid fascination holds us as we look at grim offerings in the media, feeding our global trepidation amidst political tensions and economic shakiness. But this predominant Victorian sway is Halston sleek and hinted at, mixed with the continued explosion of texture and print assembly as we proceed with our experiments towards new forays in creativity. The textile story lets us know there is a style hereafter that we are trying to channel as we aim towards the as-of-yet new 21st century aesthetic that awaits.
Pure and simple. Another season of collections will unfold and again our prudence will drive creativity into subtlety.
Will technology bring the added ingredient into the mix, or are we over it already? What do you think?
Ponder this as I cnotinue my long delay. I promise it will make for a good auto-bio.
O h, how I desire to end this hiatus. and I'd love to share with you why but this blog is reserved for drama that comes from fashion.
The couture collections rolled out currently have some creative minds taking another stab at the deconstructed execution that mirors our current creative approach. We do this as we seek innovation to lead us forward into the shiny new millenium that we have yet to actualize. As stated in articles before, it will come on ther heels of new minds with no ties to the past, much as what occurred in the 1920s that brought us into a completely new mindset. It was shocking, jarring and refreshing. My, my...are our expectations high.
In the mean time, the current masters set the stage for inspiration...to lead forward or act as a springboard for defiant game-changing approaches. My money is on the latter and I have a few ideas. And when I secure backing to take this whole thing higher, I'll gladly share them. Until then...hiatus, continues.