October 5, 2006
when everyone is doing it, it goes out of fashion
Fashion is perverse.
Not too long ago, the Superstar Designer was the real deal. Supermodels were known by everyone whether they cared about fashion or not. Fashion was dominated by celebrities so massive, their names were known even by those who could care less about fashion. Suzy Menkes wrote about it recently in an article that generates some mixed feelings.
The glamour of the fashion designer which had grown over the past century reached its peak in the eighties and nineties. Glamourous features about designers with elaborate pictures of their homes and features about their work dominated the pages of W and Vogue. The names in fashion were big enough to be mentioned in the celebrity and mainstream media.
The result of this? People became sold on the idea of being a fashion designer – lots of people who dreamed about the fancy homes and the idealized media adoration of the designer. More and more schools offered fashion design. There are more and more designers, more and more labels. Fashion weeks seem to go on for longer. All of the big names are holdovers from 20 years ago – none of fashion’s rising stars seems to have been able to break out internationally in the sense that they become household names with massive empires. It just seems like there is so much noise out there that no one designer can capture anything more than a niche.
That’s the multi-channel multi-media overload thing. If everyone can be a designer, what is it that makes it so special? Am I the only fashion school graduate who has noticed how blithely unimpressed people are with my hard-earned Fashion Design degree? I’m beginning to be awfully vague about my schooling background unless people are very curious.
Then there’s the other 21st century occupation that dilutes the desirability of fame – the reality television star. Now CBC is offering you fifteen minutes of fame and a chance to win the Host position on Fashion File. Sure it would be a cool job… but…
What makes something desireable? It’s something that everyone wants but few can have.
What makes something unfashionable? Something that everyone already has.
Ubiquity is killing these trends:
- Skinny Jeans = everyone’s got’em, no longer desireable
- Reality Television Fame = everyone’s tainted, no longer desireable
- Actual Celebrity Fame = oversaturated, no longer desireable
- Fashion Design Degree = dime a dozen, no longer desireable
- Printed T-Shirt Lines = you do ’em, I do ’em, anyone can do ’em, no longer desireable.
These are things that I think have become rare enough to develop into new trends:
- Back to the Land = everyone’s been flooding into the cities for a long time now. We’re ripe for a revival of this idea.
- Non-Distressed Denim = it lasts longer and is more authentic, and seeing an honestly worn-out pair of jeans is a rare event.
- Craftspeople and Technicians = when everyone is designer and white collar, suddenly people who can actually execute ideas are far rarer and much more impressive.
What else have you not seen around for a while? What can you think of that few people are doing?