Be the change you want to see in the world - Gandhi

Friday, September 14, 2012

September issues & fashion democracy

The September issues have been digested, the tour de force of fashion weeks have just ended, and everyone's favorite fashion season is in full swing. The September issue is the only magazine month that I allow for full indulgence, carrying thirty plus pounds of glossy pages home. This year's American Vogue, the reigning heavy-weight champion, came in at an impressive 4.5 pounds. 4.5 pounds and almost 900 pages of alluring fashion in one magazine alone. Now throw that into the mix with street style blogs, fashion week blogger specials plus online magazine content, it's almost, dare i say.....too much fashion.

There is not even a clear distinction between seasonal trends anymore, it has all become one continuous blur. This summer, while perusing through the resort and pre-fall collections, it occurred to me how commonplace these collections had become. It's like google and facebook, they seem like they've been around forever yet it actually hasn't been that long - not even a decade. There is no denying how important and how fast this industry has grown. Everybody's a fashion designer, everybody's a blogger or street style/fashion photographer etc, etc, etc... Never has the general population been so 'into' fashion as right now. Why? Good ol' democratization of fashion, brought to you buy cheap labour and economies of scale. 

Fashion democracy is a good thing, why shouldn't everybody enjoy the latest fashions. For ages, fashion was an expression and/or source of status and elitism. So, yeah us?!? Yes we finally have fashion freedom and now more than ever I can't help but feel that this is the last thing we have. Fashion isn't an expression anymore, it's a shackle to vacuous consumerism. With so much out there, you can't help but feel that if you are not participating.....well something must be wrong with you. Okay that may be a bit dramatic but hey that's fashion for you...dramatic. 

Yes there is truth in that the boundaries for what is fashionable and stylish are wide open. But you can't help but notice that slowly, everyone is starting to look the same. Globally. While they are slight nuances in what the Parisians are wearing vs. the Danish or the Japanese, everyone on street style blogs more less looks the same. So while I may wear a pair of flatforms in a totally different way from those around me, bottom line is they are being worn everywhere, by someone, in a different way. Fashion freedom? or fashion slave? When flatforms first appeared, I had to have a pair. Still love em' but low and behold, a new shoe trend has appeared and I am now desperately seeking the sharp toes slated for spring. 

Why do I want these shoes? I like them, but why do I like them? Because it's new? Because it's the next 'it' shoe? I find it hard to answer these questions because I definitely don't like all new trends. So where does this compulsion come from?

I ask these questions because I don't know how this industry is going to become sustainable with the level of consumption that is occurring. Fashion slave/fashion freedom, what will happen? I went on a fashion free challenge. It was a good exercise in self-discipline but it was actually really hard. It really made me wonder, can we stop consuming? Is fashion being so 'in fashion' going to peak and fade like the wedge?
In the bid to essentially one up all the time with a look that's all your own and street style blog worthy - there is a natural pull to consume. Never mind the 4.5 pounds of fashion Vogue throws at us every September. 

Tommy Ton for

Here is a shot by Tommy Ton at NYFW. I actually really love this look, she totally pulls it off. But how many times can one possibly wear a head to toe Bart Simpson print duo? What will be Bart's fate when she's done with it? It could be a hard sell at a thrift shop. This girl obviously has a great sense of style, and while original, is it a sustainable, you will be in my wardrobe for the next ten years, piece? I think designer's are actually the epitome of sustainability in a way. They have a distinct look and aren't really participating in consumerism the way their customers do, in the fashion arena. Karl Lagerfeld, Marc Jacobs, Tom Ford, Jean-Paul Gaultier etc... don't change. Karl's been wearing the same ponytail and sunglasses for over 30 yrs. They do not bend to the whims of trends and stay true to their trusted classics. Just saying their name, you get a very clear picture. 

Now how's this for fashion democracy - the Balenciaga 'Galaxy' sweatshirt (which is sold out might I add) will set you back $3,150. While I love the shape - seriously, how can this sweatshirt be worth this much and how many times can one or will one really rock this look? It is just very specific to a particular season. Wait, maybe it's the 'shiny technical fabric' that it is made from. That's the description on the Balenciaga website under product details. Talk about fashion democracy - clearly you are not fashionable/street style worthy if you are not wearing the coveted sold out 'Galaxy' sweatshirt. Also, could you imagine paying that for a top only to see everyone else at fashion week wearing the same one! They've all worn it the same way too - skirts and clutches (mostly in hues of blues and fuscia). Yes, this 'it' outfit does feel very democratic, almost as democratic as US politics.

Now for the street style evidence collected from every imaginable street style blog. 

p.s. I am a fan of Balenciaga, I think Nicholas is amazing. This just reminds me of the Christopher Kane Gorilla t-shirt which retailed at almost $500 and lasted what - one season. Don't see too many of those kicking around on the fashion scene today. Where did they all go......

From the Balenciaga website  $3,150

Where'd you go?????