As I was surfing the Internet this week, I noticed there was a lot of people and celebrities challenging the fundamental beliefs and values of the fashion industry. Many twitter accounts and newsfeeds were filled up with messages exposing what have become of the industry and how it has changed for the bad over the last decades. It seems that we are entering an era of nostalgia where we are no longer fuelled by the hopes of what the future might bring to us. These emotionally pretentious souvenirs draw us back to previous times where the fashion industry was “supposedly” better, superior, credible and fair-minded where creativity and artistic aesthetic were favored. Therefore, this article will be dedicated to the latest rants in fashion.
First of all, lets talk about famous Dutch trend forecaster Lidewij Edelkoort who shared a few days ago her “Anti-Fashion” pitiful text in which she proclaim that “Fashion is dead”. She pathetically insisted on reading this rant in front of a crowd in Paris last week as a preview of Trend Union’s predictions for 2016/17 autumn and winter season. It is appropriate to say that she is definitely one of the most influential people in fashion with the undeniable success of her powerful reviews, creative suggestions and trend brochures. However, her sudden rant against the fashion industry shocked me and I must say that I completely disagree with her statement.
Edlkoort audaciously proclaims that fashion has undergone a radical change making it totally outdated and obsolete. Edelkoort believes that fashion is unable to react to the era we live in, even though it is ahead of its time, mainly because of the education offered to aspiring fashion designers. Indeed, she maintains “Fashion schools and colleges continue to teach young students to become catwalk designers, divas” and “are being taught to become little Karls”. Let’s just stop here and take the time to celebrate many successful designers who rose to fame without a degree in fashion such as Michael Kors, Rei Kawakubo and Jeau Paul Gaultier. Furthermore, Ms. Edelkoort considers that there are no longer any real designers creating fashion since marketing has killed the fashion industry by exposing designers to unbelievable stress and scarifying their originality for a saturation of the market with mass products. I must disagree with this statement when designers such as Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger who manage to design exceptionally creative and stylish clothes that are still overly marketed and sold to the mass market.
Likewise, with the recent publication of Dana Thomas’ Gods and Kings: The Rise and Fall of Alexander McQueen and John Galliano, people are incited to reminisce about the old days, where fashion was powered by amazingly creative and outstandingly ingenious designers. This book examines McQueen’s and Galliano’s career. Their paths have fascinating and undeniable parallels. Both born in London, they grew up in a culture of individualism and homophobia and eventually both studied at prestigious Central St-Martins. Thomas argues that both designers “shook the industry out of its boring, bourgeois stupor” only to become the victims of its unbearable and ceaseless demand and the devastating commercialization of their creativity. In fact, Galliano became a severe alcoholic and drug addict who eventually got fired from the Dior Couture house due to anti-Semitic comment and McQueen killed himself.” I think Thomas has a valuable point concerning the overwhelming and never-ending demand of the fashion industry and the excruciating tasks associated to a fashion designer. Maybe the industry should offer more social care benefits to its employees to help prevent mental disorders and addiction.
Finally, on a similar note, Isabelle Marant, French fashion designer who is adorned by casually looking, effortlessly elegant women recently said that she doesn’t consider her stunning garments as “fashionable”. Actually, Marant believe that fashion is hard to wear in our everyday life since it is created and designed only to be preciously admired and not to be practically worn. I strongly believe that Marant’s designs are as fashionable as any other sophistically casual brand they embody graceful minimalism and feminine practicality. In a fast-paced world where modern women are constantly balancing professional and personal life, Marant’s clothes actually make sense.
Therefore, I personally believe that in a world administrated by capitalism and marketing strategies, creation and fashion are still alive. To which extent will the designers’ freedom of creativity be affected by nowadays’ extreme commercialization?