Fashion Backward

Fashion Backward

Abeer Jafri, Co-Editor

It has been long said that history repeats itself. It seems designers and artists have been following this notion in regards to what has been put on display on the catwalk as of late. September’s New York Fashion Week took place a few weeks ago, bestowing upon the fashion world impressive designs crafted by Versace, Givenchy, Prada, and any other high-end brand you could name. The concept of  “fashion” has for years been categorized as an art form, and rightfully so. Art is something that “comes from the mind and the heart, very often inspired by the power of emotion,” as defined by Oxford Dictionary itself.

Keeping this in mind, to a connoisseur of vogue, or perhaps any avid shopper, today’s trends have been somewhat disappointing. Step into any fast-fashion store from Forever 21 to H&M, and you may recognize a polyester version of the dress Alicia Silverstone sported in 90s cult-classic Clueless.

Fast-fashion is a term that describes the swift capturing by retail stores of high-end designs to produce their own clothing collections. The issue at hand is that it seems somewhere in this vicious trend-cycle, the creativity has started to dull.

It is possible there is correlation between this issue and the rise of social media. Nearly everyone has the photo-sharing app Instagram downloaded on their phones, and today, hundreds of Instagram accounts belong to “influencers,” who are essentially models paid by sponsors to showcase products in their posts.

However, from an artist’s standpoint, having fashion so highly accessible may not be ideal. The money and exposure that influencers get are powered by “likes” given by followers: posts are basically customer-based approaches to business, rather than creative outlets. The constant virtual exposure allows for designers to see what is in demand and cater to that immediately, rather than using fashion to make new statements and challenge norms. Take Vetements, for example. The streetwear brand is constituted of oversized hoodies, jackets, pants, and more, all usually plain sporting large logos and slogans. Easy styles like this are made popular by the aforementioned, available-at-your-fingertips, breathing commercials: social media models.

Haute couture seems to have lost its exclusivity, not price-wise, but artistically. Designers need to move forward from reusing past ideas, and revert to past ideals of wanting to make creations that shock and interest viewers. Social media is a great tool for business initiatives, but fashion should be considered an art far before it is considered a trade. Looking past the market, artists should draw inspiration from other sources, abandoning the digital social platforms as a resource. Doing so could slow down the pace of fashion, and revive the appreciation and awe that once existed in the world of haute couture.