With the shows fast approaching for many of us outsiders and insiders of fashion there is a sense of excitement, or expectation. We can expect to see a continuation of familiar trends and some attempted directional statements. With the luxury market enduring so many losses last year, buyers are waiting for something messianic. Behind the scenes further the stylists and designers will be scrambling to put last minute touches on looks. Hemming garments, waiting for other garments to arrive, waiting for models. Waiting. A year ago the designer was just beginning to think concretely about the collection.
Now the collection arrives before you at the tent, or in your inbox on your laptop, or on your television screen and you pore over it. Say that there is a genuinely unique idea presented by the designer, like translucent oxfords. There appears to be a limited number of responses to the idea as detailed in this essay by Otto Von Busch*.
* If the fashion expression is too unique, it is not fashion. (it is too
* If the fashion expression is too popular, it is out of fashion. (it is too
* If an accessible status group wears the fashion, it is in fashion. (it
functions; imitating the once we like, differing from the ones we dislike)
* Fashion expressions are somehow “contagious”. But at the same time
it cannot be too original or too popular. (as in rule 1 and 2)
A successful new fashion expression has a life of its own. It must be able to withstand a certain saturation level to last more than a few cycles. It has to do its part in the imaginations of fashionistas/istos. Some expressions like the casual use of blue jeans outside of the workplace become essential statements, they will last for a remarkably long period, cycle after cycle. They will do so despite the boredom of some eccentrics (including myself). Other trends like neon are too extreme for most tastes and remain an occasional public curiosity, not a mainstay.
The early adopter is the not necessarily self-concious, at times they may merely act as feels natural to them, by wearing a familiar item in an unconventional way, or altering an item out of curiosity. Other times they look at what is common and normal and they feel a spiritual revulsion. They forge a path by choice away from the pedestrians. The early adopter must carry self-confidence and also curiosity. Too much concern for the thoughts of others represents a limit that will not allow experimentation. That fashionable man is a follower, not a pioneer. A bold move into either bad taste or an area too extreme for mass consumption will find some life in the underground trendsetter crowd, those who spit on traditionalism.
When do you, as a consumer or creator, tap into new style expression? What are your boundaries? What makes you uncomfortable?