Fashion is one of those industries that is considered frivolous, self indulgent, and highly disconnected from the real world. People call it fake, superfluous, and something not for the masses. But what they forget to look at, is that fashion is so much more more than sparkly clothes and spotlighted threads. It’s about the much ignored part of everyone’s lives; growing up. And if time has shown us anything is that fashion has grown up to be something much much more than a grasp-able thing for a select few. Now it is for everyone. Now, everyone can contribute to it.
With so many fashion weeks happening across the globe, and so many new things coming out, it is only natural to feel that fashion has come to a point where saturation of ideas and cuts supersedes the idea that fashion weeks will churn out something new, something exciting, and something that will blow our minds away; fashion is expected to wow the audience. And with the recently concluded New York Fashion Week, it was very obvious that innovation has been taken over by wear-ability, needs of the masses, and the mundane. NYFW came to a point where every other collection seemed forced and one could not help the feeling of having seen it before. It reminded me of the Lorde song Tennis Court where she says “Well, I’m bored.”
Since I have quoted Lorde’s song here, the song also goes on to say “because I’m doing this for the thrill of it, killin’ it, never not chasing the million things I want.” Looks like the designers are doing the exact opposite of this verse.
What we saw at NYFW was an ode to the consumer. The dresses/clothes shown were highly wearable, even if they were not price compromised, but the runway looks would be the kind of looks one would see “people” wearing. While coming down to the needs of the customer is all good, and feeding the trend of normcore seems like a good idea in a country where on the basis of consumerism thrives companies forward, it should not come as a surprise that innovation got lost along the way. Sure, a few handpicked designers put up beautiful displays of their creations, but fashion week is supposed to be about the clothes and the focus should not be taken away from it. Some of the theatrical designer presentations did have great clothes (Thom Browne for instance) and should not be dissed along with the general shows, but there was so little of what these good clothes and innovative ideas, that NYFW left a really bad taste in the mouth. And it seems so hard to recover from it.
Fashion, is first and foremost, a form of art; and I think people, and designers alike, have seem to forgotten that. It is not just about creating clothes that sell – it is about creating art, wearable art. Innovation in fashion is a must if one needs to see new ideas being born. But I think that in the world of street style, and personal style blogging, people seem to forget that there are people out there for whom fashion means more than just looking good. Fashion is an embodiment of our ideas, our beliefs, and our senses. Fashion is supposed to evoke emotions (good or bad), fashion is supposed to make one feel special. Where’s the specialty in wearing high priced logo-ridden clothes that are worn just for the sake of them being the “it” item nowadays. There is no Thrill in it. There is no fun in it.
A lot of menswear shown at NYFW felt like one had seen all of this before on some ramp somewhere. Yes, sportswear and gypsy urbanite is a trend that seems emerging all over the world, but what I don’t get is why every other designer would want to get lost along the monotony by doing the exact same thing? This need to hop on the trend-specific bandwagon is what drives art away from fashion. We are so blinded by the idea of trying to make it in the world, that we forget that making a mark and creating a collection worth noticing is about not being lost in the crowd but about being able to stand out and think individually, and on one’s own.
Wear-ability accounts for this loss of innovation in fashion. People are so consumed by the idea of looking like something/someone they saw that they forget they have the ability to be an individual, and individuality requires on to think out of the box and be a pink dot when everyone else is wearing black. And designers are feeding this need of the people.
There used to be a time when people would follow designers. But now, in this world of instagram likes, freedom of tumblr reposts, twitter hashtags, and facebook shares, it seems the masses are being the driving force behind fashion; and while to a certain degree it is a good thing letting designer know what you want; but how will we be able to find someone who tells us what we don’t want, or what new things we can have, if fashion weeks keep directing their ideas according to the people’s needs?