The Demise of Fashion
It’s official–fashion has imploded. What does this mean and how is it possible?
Let us first analyze the situation. Fashion is supposed to be defined as the “prevailing style of dress at the moment”. But at the moment, every imaginable trend out there is “in”: fringe, bright colors, dropped-crotch pants, skinny trousers, boyfriend blazers, shredded t-shirts, vintage floral dresses.
How to make a Shredded Tee video:
Obviously, this is creating a problem for designers as too many ideas are surfacing and there no longer seems to be a clear direction in the path of fashion.
The sudden emergence of fast-fashion chains (H&M, Mango, Zara, Topshop…) has sped up the fashion cycle. Typically it takes a year or two for runway styles to trickle down into the mass market, but in the past 3 or 4 years, inexpensive versions of, for example, the Herve Leger bandage dress, can be found at your local Forever 21 or Guess stores a mere one month after the shows.
The high street formula works–anyone can look stylish without having to surrender an arm and leg for designer clothing or wait until the runway styles to hit the racks. Fast-fashion is an efficient tactic in our society today, fueled by growing demand and “now, now, now“. We have technology to blame for this phenomena; everything is at our disposal, with a few taps or clicks on a screen. Our lives are not merely mirroring the fashion industry anymore, but directly affecting it. We are becoming bored too quickly and are already hungry for the next “new thing”, only to be ready to dispose of it tomorrow.
Moreover, fashions are no longer solely dictated by the runway–style bloggers are making their way to cult status. Known by the one-name aliases they write by, they appeal to the average person because they prove that “fashion” and “great style” is effortless and accessible. While style bloggers admire and reinterpret runway ideas on a budget-price level, they sometimes set trends themselves. This could be good for the fashion industry in America (since fashion is not a significant part of our lifestyles) but some designers are not pleased about this. To quote New York designer Benjamin Cho from September 2008′s issue of Purple magazine,
“Something happens and everyone joins the trend. I think it’s because there are so many cheesy blogs. It’s the blind leading the blind. People think they’re experts because they research things on their computers at home…”
Does Mr. Cho share the same idea regarding fashion critics? It is not uncommon for designers to “ban” certain critics due to negative reviews, but not until recently has this issue resurfaced, courtesy of Armani and Cathy Horyn of the New York Times. Armani was quoted to have said something to the extent of, “…how can somebody without design experience properly judge fashion design?”
Fashion designers today are tackling a number of frustrating issues in the industry, one of which is the aforementioned “struggle” to differentiate themselves from other designers. More established fashion houses, such as Dior and Chanel, have a loyal customer base, but houses that have been revolving doors for young designers are in direct competition with up-and-coming designers. It’s been said that if you have come up with a brilliant idea, someone else on the other side of the planet has conjured up the same notion. With this theory in mind, it’s no wonder that many of these fresh designers are beginning to produce similar designs, unfortunately resulting in homogeneity.
The once-moderate progression of fashion has been forced to play catch up with modern times–or is it vice-versa? Surely, everyone is familiar with Dr. Ann Dupont’s (fashion professor at the University of Texas, at Austin)take on how “ultimately, fashion reflects the temper of the times.”
Our times now are tumultuous, unpredictable and our current economic state was not bestowed upon by Mother Nature. If Dupont’s words are true, then it is inevitable that fashion is just minutes away from crashing headfirst into itself into its demise.