I must admit to being a fashion nut.
Well I was. I religiously made the pilgrimage to the Soho magazine shop every month, quarter and year, to stock up on style bibles: 10, V, I-D, Dazed and Love. I’d rip out the pages of the looks I loved and plaster them across my walls, like a nutty teenager. When I’d tire of my monthly or weekly mags I’d start on the internationals and the alternative style tomes: Vogue Paris, Vogue Italia, Jalouse, Wonderland, Hunger, Oyster, Interview and W; you name it I bought it. And I was proud. It was a badge of honour and evidence of my deep love for the industry that allowed me to escape my shoestring student lifestyle.
Aghast, my friends would test me: pointing out random pieces in shoots that I’d instantly be able to recall the collection and season of each piece. Those multi coloured crocodile mid thighs, obviously Prada, that pleated silk lace slip no brainer, Givenchy. I got a kick out of it and I was proud that I knew so much about my industry. I knew the name of every designer at the height of every house, I knew where they’d been and their signature style. Did I own any designer clothing? No. But that wasn’t the point. I just really cared. I wouldn’t put this down to me being a fashion student, but more the mood of the time.
Even though I fell hard for fashion at 16, there came a time when everyone was paying attention. Around the time of Balminia 1.0 and the Pob, people, whether they were into fashion or not, suddenly followed it. When the catwalks decreed padded shoulders were in, we all wore padded dresses and jackets like an army of 80s throwbacks. Heeled trainers, beanies and blanket scarves. We’d all been there and were all drinking the cool aid. But at some point this suddenly stopped. When Cara Delevingne first came on the scene and started wearing beanies and pulling funny faces, we all had beanies on and started filling in our brows; but I can not think of a movement that’s been as big for years. Now we watch YouTube, are cultivating our own Instas, pin all that we are pining for and say Slay. It’s a strange time and I can’t quite put my finger on why this is the current state of things.
Perhaps it is the incessant designer musical chairs (you only need to look at Balenciaga or Dior over the last 5 years, to know that no-one wants to stay anywhere for too long), or the fact that influencers have exhausted the pieces we covet by the time we get our hands on them; or the fact that the industry as a whole, can’t seem to make its mind up about what season they’re showing and when we as consumers can actually buy them.
Designers can’t stay still, pleading exhaustion in the face of our insatiable desire for all that is shiny and new; and the high concentration of influencers means that even whilst inspiring, we as observers and consumers are left feeling like sheep- I mean that Gucci t-shirt is my favourite piece this year, but I can’t buy it, in fear of looking like a wannabe (oh and it’s £300; bit steep for a t-shirt I think).
Perhaps it’s the fact that until last season, we were in a constant cycle of either throwing back to the 90s or 70s, or trying to look like we weren’t trying. Perhaps the fact that we spent so long trying to look like we weren’t trying, that we just gave up. If you wear trainers long, enough, the idea of wearing plexi glass boots is all too much. So what’s the solution? Well, I’ve managed to get my magazine fix down to two essentials: British Vogue and Porter Magazine. And to be honest until February’s Vogue arrived, I was ready to cancel that subscription; slightly sick of seeing ladies in waiting and learning about what the old guard wanted for Christmas – I mean if I wanted to read Tatler I would.
These days I spend my time on Pinterest, Insta and the US Vogue app and have spent more time honing my own personal style, putting less focus on what the mood of the season is and what the mood of my mind is. In case you were wondering, it’s kind of a mix between old rocker, french girl, with a touch of boarding school and Brixton. It’s pretty unique and I think that might be the reason that ‘Fashion’ has been relegated to the back burner. As we’ve eschewed physical retail spaces in favour of the digital shop, we’ve become increasingly accustomed to a personalised experience. Our social media homepages are tailored to our interests, inspirations and beliefs.
We have renounced tradition in favour of the tailor made. Theses days the only throwbacks we want to see, are the ones we hashtag on Insta.
We no longer want to be, see or think like everyone else, and our reference points have all changed; and with it so must fashion.
2017 seems like a year that we as a people have become truly galvanised; whether you’re a righty who felt marginalised and now feel you are being heard; or a non-exiting anti-trumpeter desperate to tell the world your view isn’t his and you care about inclusion.
Whatever your stance (and I truly pass no judgement on either), the future for us as a planet is as uncertain as it is for fashion.
For if fashion really does define the mood of the moment, then perhaps it is spot on. And maybe, for fashion and us as a global people, there will be a little calm, after last year’s chaos.