By Henry Pearson-Miles
Fashion has been a centre of popular admiration and Etiquette for the past several centuries now with the arguable foundations stemming back to the French and the sun king’s fascination with dressing to impress. Yet at the current time the notions that originally pushed the forefront of the industry have all but died out or are dying. So where does that leave the route for the industry’s future?
Looking at the 20th century onwards there are drastic changes in both appearance of people in both physical appearance and style. The beginning of it being around the 1920’s under the pretence that the war had changed the parameters in which behaviour and dress were socially acceptable- Leading to an array of shocking shorter length garments and skin exposure accompanied by extravagant and arrogant behaviour. There is then little change up until the 1960’s, which is where fashion in its air of respectability takes a fall and has yet to recover. The 60’s ushers in the element of dressing people for success but is quickly manipulated into a series of heavy price wars by elements of influence; by the likes of Warhol and Edie Sedgwick and other famous faces. Onwards follows a series of rising prices and constant strive towards being obscene and creating new and vibrant forms of style, even if it means recycling something and renaming it.
Bringing us to the current situation of the post 2000 where the residing theme is branding and marketing, the bigger the brand and the better the marketed equals the more Generic the clothing. Taking brands such as Supreme and Gucci that have ruined themselves with their clothes having been once renowned, but have in recent years plastered everything they can with either a brand name or a familiar face off the Television or someone in politics or frankly anyone with some sort of mass following. There is no talent or very little left in this once eloquent and elegant world, its as though the industry has entered a tunnel but there is no light at the end of the tunnel and so it travels on further into the darkness.
Where do the solutions lie? The problem lies within the western world of capitalist entrepreneurs; I myself am a complete advocate for capitalist and Conservative (both big C and little c) principles, but the problem lies with a thirst for profit because mass production leads to better revenue that at the end of the day is a business’s pursuit. Hence looking to the east at the waking communist nations, and emerging Capitalist economies there is evidence for a return of the Fashion industries once great name. There focus is taken away from the minds obsession with names and faces and focuses more on principles and aspects of life modern and old. In addition the Designers in the region of high fashion from the east are maintaining the original levels of sophistication with, in some cases, appropriate forms of exploration through provocation, which is something that I feel should be at the centre of designing a piece of attire that is wearable on both an everyday scene and as a piece of Art.
Highlighting the likes of Names like Gosha Rubchinskiy and Comme des Garçons, these two emerging labels are hitting almost exactly the spot. Like playing golf and aiming for the green but landing just on the edge. Gosha the designer of the brand “Gosha Rubchinskiy”, centrals in on the currently developing new capitalist Russia, calling his work as an interpretation of the new “Post Soviet” era. Which in a way he’s right as under the censorship of the soviet union the Russians weren’t exposed to all the capitalist’s never ending demands that eventually transpired into over branding! Having this new found freedom and being freed from the strains of western fixation on trends Gosha has developed and is developing a form of dress that both complements the high sales of western branding and yet is still plausible different. Even some of Gosha’s more “name” excessive pieces are distinctive because branding is done subtly through the distortion of pattern and bold geometric prints that detract from the “Gosha Rubchinskiy”.
Comme Des Garçons, founded and headed by Rei Kawakubo, another beautiful brand, but only on its runway piece productions. Its play collections and collaborations with hyped street wear and self obsessed” brands aren’t as successful but, the masterpieces produced in anticipation of runway shows and their own brand are quintessentially fashion. In the sense that they are not to plain and neither are they over the top, as well, The brands name that leads to a common misconception of the company having French ties, further adds to the attraction of the brand as there is no French origin as the brand is of Japanese heritage. The key element of Comme des Garçons success however lies in its ability to create what can be seen as pretentious experimental garments but have an appeal as everyday attire, (provided you can afford the large price tag).
In retrospect to look at the industry of today’s fashion it is flooded with pretension in numerous mannerisms, which is essentially the future in which it is headed. However in order to preserve the sanctity of fashion peoples attitude towards mass appeal and trends must be broken down and turned towards an appeal in the finding of something new, changing what is seen as socially acceptable and retaining the human nature of the perception of Fashion. Fundamentally returning fashion to its artistic status and removing the over commercialised stigma attached.