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27-05-2012
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Yes, good point, thejarc. I also agree that fashion-wise there have been many innovative and exciting new designers emerging in the past few years (Mary Katrantzou, Rick Owens, Meadham Kirchhoff, Damir Doma, Gareth Pugh - to name just a few) as well as many newer techniques (like digital prints, eco-friendly fashion, draped and laser cut leather) being note-worthy.

But regarding culture as a whole I definitely agree with everyone who said we were lacking major movements or new subcultures arising in that past decade and it probably does have an influence on the seeming monotony of fashion, too.
But In a way this current drought makes me excited because I know there has to be a major new trend or movement coming up soon. I refuse to be as pessimistic to think the world is full of boring and spoiled hipsters that have nothing new or creative to offer. I have a feeling with China, India and Brazil having such strong economic growth we might have any of these nations spawning the next major innovations and dictating the next big trends and that's certainly something that could be exciting for the fashion world also.

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27-05-2012
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there is too much money involved in fashion nowadays, which makes everyone a lot more hesitant to take risks.

also there is too much focus on the big brands, isn't it odd how a super corporate brand like prada is perceived to be the one brand that is pushing the bounderies the most, while it should be the new and fresh talents who do that.

but instead all those kids graduating just seem to want to work for prada, and those who do try to set up their own label feel like they have to compete with the big brands which results in semi-exciting collections which translates to digital printed overpriced tshirts in the stores.

i would very much like to see people from outside the fashion world getting involved, get some artists or architects on design teams and see where that leads.

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28-05-2012
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Could it be that we the younger generation simply isn't passionate enough and will readily accept anything that is thrown our way. The way I see it, we whine and complain about everything, yet we're hesitant to take the necessary steps to effect the changes we'd like to see. Taking US Vogue as an example, many people who buy the magazine complain about seeing the same thing over and over, they're tired of seeing celebs on the cover of every issue blah blah blah, but how many are prepared to cancel their subscriptions, sign a petition demanding to see something different etc... When Anna says she pays no attentions to market research, she's right because the magazine still sells.

Another problem is that as much as the industry likes change, they stick to what they know works and are afraid of taking chances on emerging talent. Every campaign is shot by the same photographers, styled by the same stylists etc in rotation. These guys while brilliant at what they do, aren't always going to have the "freshest" ideas. They will start reproducing things that have already been done... Going back to the grunge and punk era and when Galliano was starting, he was fresh out of St. Martins but Arnault took a chance on him and look at what he was able to do for the brand. Now it's all about celebrity and becoming a household name so if you're wearing it then everyone will want a piece of it. This is why so many Hollywood celebrities are suddenly designers and producing collections and it will continue because it sells. This is a great example of pissing in people's eyes and calling it rain...

We need new blood, something to inspire us and people who enjoy taking risks. We also need to learn to unite and stand for what we want. That's the only way change is going to happen not by complaining yet doing nothing.


Last edited by Modelo; 28-05-2012 at 06:35 PM.
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29-05-2012
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Maybe we lack distance. There is a possibility that a new and distinctive trend is already happening . Maybe the "nothing really new" is the new "new". Maybe this is fashions postmodernism...I kind of doubt it we, in 30 years from now, couldnt say that it was this period of time by just looking at clothes people are wearing.

The majority in this thread wrote there was no new subculture, just hipsters. Wouldnt you say hipsters were a subculture? I think they came to an end and something new will soon arise, but i would definitely say it was a subculture.

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29-05-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Modelo View Post
Could it be that we the younger generation simply isn't passionate enough and will readily accept anything that is thrown our way. The way I see it, we whine and complain about everything, yet we're hesitant to take the necessary steps to effect the changes we'd like to see. Taking US Vogue as an example, many people who buy the magazine complain about seeing the same thing over and over, they're tired of seeing celebs on the cover of every issue blah blah blah, but how many are prepared to cancel their subscriptions, sign a petition demanding to see something different etc... When Anna says she pays no attentions to market research, she's right because the magazine still sells.
Personally I don't think it has that much to do with us not wanting to change or enforce changes in the industry or system because we're not passionate enough. I think it's more due to the fact that we have so many choices. Why go through the troubles of rebelling against Anna Wintour's cover subjects when you can just buy one of the thousands of other magazines available that have models on the cover? You don't even have to compromise because financially there's no risk involved either with all the content being available online. So you might as well keep being subscribed to US Vogue while getting what you actually want from somewhere else (for free).

Though it most likely is true that many of the major fashion houses and publishers are keeping it too safe because economics are more important than creativity.

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03-06-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Modelo View Post
Could it be that we the younger generation simply isn't passionate enough and will readily accept anything that is thrown our way. The way I see it, we whine and complain about everything, yet we're hesitant to take the necessary steps to effect the changes we'd like to see. Taking US Vogue as an example, many people who buy the magazine complain about seeing the same thing over and over, they're tired of seeing celebs on the cover of every issue blah blah blah, but how many are prepared to cancel their subscriptions, sign a petition demanding to see something different etc... When Anna says she pays no attentions to market research, she's right because the magazine still sells.

Another problem is that as much as the industry likes change, they stick to what they know works and are afraid of taking chances on emerging talent. Every campaign is shot by the same photographers, styled by the same stylists etc in rotation. These guys while brilliant at what they do, aren't always going to have the "freshest" ideas. They will start reproducing things that have already been done... Going back to the grunge and punk era and when Galliano was starting, he was fresh out of St. Martins but Arnault took a chance on him and look at what he was able to do for the brand. Now it's all about celebrity and becoming a household name so if you're wearing it then everyone will want a piece of it. This is why so many Hollywood celebrities are suddenly designers and producing collections and it will continue because it sells. This is a great example of pissing in people's eyes and calling it rain...

We need new blood, something to inspire us and people who enjoy taking risks. We also need to learn to unite and stand for what we want. That's the only way change is going to happen not by complaining yet doing nothing.
I canceled my US Vogue subscription awhile back, and have bought no issues from the newsstand since ...

One thing I've noticed lately as I shop for something to wear to my brother's wedding ... Lanvin's draping seems to have ruined me for anyone else's. As I look at what's out there, I'm struck by all the bad draping. So basic, a fundamental skill, and yet so lacking. Wouldn't it be nice to see the pendulum swing back from celebrity and publicity (the designers' own & who's wearing whom) to actual skills ... draping, pattern making, fitting.

Stefano Pilati's YSL things have also been standing out to me as particularly well done.

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03-06-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fashionista-ta View Post
I canceled my US Vogue subscription awhile back, and have bought no issues from the newsstand since ...

One thing I've noticed lately as I shop for something to wear to my brother's wedding ... Lanvin's draping seems to have ruined me for anyone else's. As I look at what's out there, I'm struck by all the bad draping. So basic, a fundamental skill, and yet so lacking. Wouldn't it be nice to see the pendulum swing back from celebrity and publicity (the designers' own & who's wearing whom) to actual skills ... draping, pattern making, fitting.

Stefano Pilati's YSL things have also been standing out to me as particularly well done.

This would be nice to see, it's embarrassing to see these absolutely basic skills not being mastered in not just high fashion houses, but also registered haute couture houses at the highest end, Dior and Valentino to name a few.

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03-06-2012
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I think that maybe everythings already been done? Sure there have been modern twists and changes to trends, but if you actually get down to the base of everything, there isn't anything new!

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03-06-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crying Diamonds View Post
This would be nice to see, it's embarrassing to see these absolutely basic skills not being mastered in not just high fashion houses, but also registered haute couture houses at the highest end, Dior and Valentino to name a few.
Agreed ... and while my heart naturally bleeds for the couture customer , it's also a crying shame that things are so bad at the contemporary price point. It's still a fair amount of money, and some of these 'designers' have been in the business for decades. So ... shouldn't they be turning out better stuff?

There are relatively few top fashion schools, but I know people are being trained in these skills ... how has this kind of quality become so optional?

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03-06-2012
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Postmodern subculture, it is argued by some, can be defined as anything that stands counter to the patterns of consumption and behaviors of the hegemony. Many of you have argued that there has been no development in subcultural style at the dawn of the 21st century, but this simply isn't true. Two of the best examples I can use to illustrate this are the club Boombox in East London and Mishapes in New York.

The history of subculture can invariably be traced back to clubs and nightlife, and I think in this case both these two phenomenological events encouraged and spawned the 'hipster' trend, a look and lifestyle choice rooted in dressing up and going out. Both these clubs - perhaps more so in London - were intense, heady and encouraged outrageous, remarkable fashion. Very little visually interesting surfaced amongst the mainstream, but the important aspects - colours, silhouettes, themes and objects - resonated strongly as mainstream trends, be that briefly (slogan t-shirts) or more sustained (skinny trousers)

It is hard to see it sometimes but I believe that our age is as unique and exciting as ever it has been. The problem more so is our insatiable appetite for something new, as if there hasn't been progress enough in the last decade, threads such as this one appear as a slap in the face to any departure that has been cannily developed by artists, designers and musicians over the course of the 00s. Change happens but only when it needs to. Just be patient.

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25-07-2012
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Innovation on tap
I think its important to remember the conditions designers work in nowadays, its all harder, faster, newer. It takes a lot of willpower for a designer these days to opt out of that system (I'm thinking of the relentless fashion weeks/months and growing influence of the resort/pre-fall collections), and most are drowned by it and simply don't have the time or space to create or innovate. They're simply too busy trying to survive. The more stressed they are the more they will rely on designs they know will work, and keep it safe.

I reckon the new changes we'll see in the industry will relate more to the design process - as the fashion media undergoes this massive upheaval and democratisation, it will * hopefully * lose its ability to bully designers into producing their art at such regular intervals, and it will * hopefully * shift towards more power to the designers. High end, innovative fashion will become less seasonally focused, and hopefully less repetitive. (Why are they so seasonal now anyway? Luxury customers can buy their wellington boots and sun hats somewhere else. High Fashion isn't about practicality and we all know it.) Designers will only show a collection when they feel they have truly innovated (well obviously not all of them will, but I'm thinking of the more couture/inspirational ones).

If innovation shifts towards the process of design and the way people actually work, we might start seeing more genuinely innovative design . Designers might even have the time to develop innovative business models that work for them (like YSL's rive gauche). Its not just about aesthetics anymore, because its fair to say that if you try to innovate from a purely aesthetic viewpoint you're just going to end up repeating yourself. Like has been said earlier, it has to come from somewhere real and authentic. That level of creativity doesn't come on tap, and its not going to happen predictably every 3 months.

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28-07-2012
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This is a fascinating thread. Something that I have been thinking about quite a bit for the past few years. I am in my thirties, so I seem to have this hazy recollection of watching it all slide away towards the close of the nineties - and I can't even really articulate what I mean, it's a sort of instinctual notion, an awareness of something 'lost' (and not in the nostalgic sense).
Or maybe I simply grew up???

What would my 16 yr old self make of this, now?
I haven't even really altered very much in this respect. I do recall that we were agonizingly embarrassed to follow trends, to run with the system, so to speak (even if our collective styles were obviously inspired by each other, and those whose ideals we admired). We would have curled up in agony before blindly taking the media's word for anything, let alone cared a jot about what a member of the royal family was wearing.

And perhaps this is what I sense is absent now: following something for the sake of ideals, rather than surface appearance. I don't recall any girls of my generation fawning over female celebrities to this extent, even if they were sartorially inspired on occasion. Nobody gave a **** to be honest. The excessive idolization of women in the media (enhanced via tumblr and the likes) who offer nothing other than a prettily dressed visage feels like some sort of contemporary malaise to me. It's as if their minds are locked into this in a somewhat unhealthy way. This endless perusal (or worship?) of wealth, privilege and physical perfection, which of course they shall never even hope to attain (for it is an illusion).
And yeh, capitalism and all that. But why isn't anyone moving? Resisting? Creating their own space?

I wonder if the impressionable (younger) people today are simply overwhelmed by it all, paralyzed into inaction. Too much stimulus. Desensitization. I don't know.
This is merely my own, emotional reaction to the topic, rather than an informed forecast, for I do not possess any thorough knowledge of the industry itself. This is just what I see going on around me. How I feel it compares to a couple of decades past.

My guess is that people are confused. There's just too much going on. Too much to get angry about. Perhaps passion can't find it's feet in the throng...
I have confidence in change, though. Perhaps it is already in process, and only a retrospective glance backwards from a future date will be able to clarify that.

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Last edited by Lapin de Lune; 28-07-2012 at 03:39 PM.
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10-02-2014
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Is fashion too safe?

By Vanessa Friedman


‘Fashion is predicated on giving people what they did not know they wanted’
Is fashion too safe? Not fashion that you see in stores (though that is part of it), but Fashion the industry. Fashion writ large.
Sitting at the side of the catwalks as the New York shows get under way, kicking off the autumn/winter womenswear collections that will run until March 5, it’s the whisper I hear in the background; just audible under the stomp of the models’ perennial motorcycle boots. It’s what you might call a thought-trend.

Word is that retailers will no longer take gambles on new designers, or on old designers with new looks, or on any look that doesn’t look like the last look that sold well, because they make their buy according to the buy that worked the season before – because it is (say it with me) safer.
Black pea coats flew off the shelves this autumn? Whatever you do, do not order floral-patterned car coats – even if it’s spring. More minimal pea coats (albeit maybe not in wool); that’s what everyone should buy! X designer’s narrow trousers were popular, but not so his flouro knits? Stick to the trousers, even if the new skinny knits look kind of tempting.
Designers don’t push their ideas, because a complicated idea is actually too complicated to explain: the listener stops paying attention somewhere in the middle of “then I went from thinking of Napoleon to The Beatles and Sergeant Pepper, which made me think of Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, and then I started thinking about ice hockey players ... that’s how I got to lamé silk boxers”.
Er, OK. Easier just to seize on the most accessible form of inspiration: a film or a song, and express that in various permutations on the catwalk and in those endless “what inspired me” pieces in magazines: “I was thinking of The Great Gatsby.”
Open any glossy magazine and there, staring from advertisements and editorial alike are Christy Turlington, Kate Moss, Stephanie Seymour – old models and proven sales vehicles. The same goes for all those celebrities whose contracts get bigger and bigger even as the viewing public declares itself to be over the stars-sells-stuff idea. No matter: go with the known.
There is no room for risk or new ideas or new faces, because new is risky and we’re in a no-risk period. As with the banking system, so, too the fashion system.
There are of course outliers, designers for whom writing their own rules is the rule – Rei Kawakubo, Jun Takahashi, Hedi Slimane (it is possible the risk, both financial and critical, that Kering took when they installed the latter at Saint Laurent and gave him carte blanche to up-end all aesthetics and communication is the riskiest thing to have happened in fashion in years). But generally: safety first. Ask why, and everyone passes the blame.
. . .
It’s the darn retailers’ fault, goes one version, because they demand new stuff all the time. Which means designers have to do 10 collections a year, which means they don’t have time to work out new ideas, which means they might get stuck with bad ideas, so best avoid the danger entirely, and redo the old good idea. Or it’s the money guys’ fault because they need to show revenue growth, and that means they dare not try something unknown. What if it doesn’t work? Better to fill shelves with what already sells, because, well, it already sells!
Or it’s the mass marketers’ fault, because they are schooled to put all their faith in market research, and market research loves what it has already seen, and there is no market research on that new girl in the corner. After all, how do you assess the potential of a weird, left-of-field viral video, which would only work because no one has done it before, if no one has done it before?
But here’s the thing: all this safeness, and risk-avoidance, all the stuff we think we want when it comes to the City and Wall Street, is antithetical to the way fashion should work. Fashion – at least the fashion of the show system; the fashion that drives changes in clothing, or at least expresses them – is predicated on giving people what they did not know they wanted. In fashion, there is no such thing as too big to fail. You have to be willing to fail in order to really succeed.
It is what makes you want to buy something: the shock of seeing a dress or suit or sweater that exactly describes how you’ve been feeling, in a way you didn’t even articulate to yourself until you saw it. That’s why Dior’s New Look, and Armani’s suits, and Chanel’s little tweed jackets, and Thom Browne’s truncated men’s silhouette caused such a ruckus, and ended up in museums everywhere: they defined a moment in social and political identity.

And that requires risk, because until they gave it form, no one really knew what form that amorphous feeling they were feeling should take. To give up on that possibility – to avoid it in favour of the familiar – is to circumvent fashion’s reason for being (it is to turn it into clothes). And that leads, soon enough, to obsolescence. Yet here we are.
The fact is, for fashion, that playing it safe may be the greatest risk of all.
Here’s hoping this season will be different. I dare you.

ft.com

*i'm pretty sure there's another thread where i talked about exactly this- about originality and new ideas, etc...
and buyers playing it safe and afraid to take risks, etc...
but i don't know which one it is....
if a mod knows better- please feel free to move or merge...
thx

it's all related anyhow...
i think we have a few threads that could be merged on this basic topic of unoriginality and whether the wheel moves to fast, and such...
it's all part of the same discussion and cannot really be had in separate threads without some overlap

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Last edited by softgrey; 10-02-2014 at 01:18 PM.
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13-02-2014
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^ I totally agree with your final point softgrey, about the overlap, because I found myself thinking, as I was reading the piece you posted, that maybe if there were less shows, designers would have more time to experiment, to be creative in their showrooms, to source new fabrics, to do research. When they are churning out a minimum of 4 collections (spring pre fall fall and pre spring/resort) - and sometimes for more than 1 line - how the heck are they supposed to come up with something new!? Instead it's tweak this tweak that, etc. Sigh... it's too much. The wheel spinning fast takes away the room for play. That's how I see it. But there are many vectors; of course the economy would have an impact on buyers and so on .... safe. BLAH.

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28-05-2014
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I completely agree that the speed at which the industry moves now means that trends and movements are so much more fleeting.

I dont think that we will have big movements like we did in previous decades, not because the industry is treading water but more because the cycle of collections and trends flows so quickly that there isn't really time to develop and expand a movement.

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