Fashion Is Boring ... Have they Run Out of Ideas?

Discussion in 'Fashion... In Depth' started by smashinfashion, Nov 14, 2003.

  1. gius

    gius écrivain

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    ^:eek: Oh, no, that's not true. I'm not so familiar with the aspects of clothing throughout the times, but I can say the fabrics used for fashion (which is just as important) have all been influenced somehow by things of the past or other ideas, cultures.
    Prints for fashion in the 60s was a revival of designs from Victorian times and Art Nouveau, and they were 'modernised' by intensifying the colours and curves to go with the contemporary culture.
    And as well, prints for fashion in the times of Art Nouveau were inspired, for one thing, by Eastern cultures--that is why there is all this focus on keeping things flat and linear and with sweeping curves, a characteristic in for example Japanese woodblock prints. And also there was a focus on flora, which is seen in Middle Eastern cultures. One of the famous designers in this era, William Morris, had this whole ideal vision of 'bringing back the past' and also often used motifs inspired from art in the Middle Ages. He also had a bunch of other 'revolutionary' ideas, like blockprinting by hand on fabric, etc. By mixing all these ideas together, they just happened to create something fresh.

    So, you can see it was all a revival then and it was just made to suit the people of their times. Tthis is exactly what a lot of designers are doing in present times. Last year, there was a trend in lace and you can't really pinpoint what period that was really from. Often when people think of lace, they might think of very intricate designs of maybe flowers, but in the Chloé collection, you can see lace designs of flowers so simplified in order to make them 'new' /contemporary. Even for fall '07, I noticed they had dresses of cutwork embroidery, but it was not really cutwork embroidery because they had got rid of all the 'heavy' things--(I'm not really going to go into detail about that) :ninja:

    Trends are much deeper than like 'a trend of sixties mod'--You can find some info here on how they develop. I don't have specific links but it's easy to search. Anyway, trend development is much like a science and there is a lot of research on attitudes of consumers and the economy. For one thing, for a few of the recent years, they say people were longing for happier times... and this you might say is what caused the rise in vintage styles. There was also a lot of use in nature-inspired motifs. Plus there is a rise in handcraft...and definitely I can't really link 'handcraft' to another time period.
    So, the last thing I am going to say is, No one can say that everything has been done before unless they know exactly everything that has been done before. :lucky:
     
  2. iluvjeisa

    iluvjeisa clever ain't wise

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    ^And that brings out the question - is a new combination of two old things a new thing? And also - if newness is a criterion for good fashion and some designs are more recognizable than others, would that mean that an old design that is less recognizable (perhaps unremarkable) that is reproduced (or part of a new combination) is seen as superior to a new design that draws inspiration from a previous recognizable design? If you draw that to its conclusion, you will end up with designs that are nondescript in order to appear novel....something that I think happened in the mid 90s. That is when the retro trend started, well, right after the millennium in fact.
     
    #222 iluvjeisa, Apr 8, 2007
    Last edited by moderator julyandluvy: Apr 8, 2007
  3. Whitelinen

    Whitelinen New Member

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    I think you are right. But still... for example, the miniskirt did not exist until the 60's, did it? There might have been miniskirts as undergarments, but they weren't used as actual skirts until 60's and Mary Quant? I am not sure if that's right, but I have always thought so.

    Gius, you have a lot of insight on this subject, and you have gotten me to think differently about this subject :flower: Maybe I just need a different approach on looking at fashion... because nothing is completely new.
     
  4. gius

    gius écrivain

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    I don't know much about the garment side, only the fashion fabrics. I guess as the whole aesthetic in the 60s changed to something super simple and geometric, it's only natural that the silhouette and length/etc of the garments would change too.

    I have been wondering now that maybe people are unable to see something new because they're not really familiar with the subject they're talking about. They haven't experienced the craft themselves, like creating things themselves or studying the craft. Otherwise I'm sure they would be able to understand the kind of work that goes into designing and then producing the clothes.
    So, I suppose the common consumer is not even aware of these aspects too...and they won't be able to appreciate something because they find it appears ordinary or because it's past their comfort zone, but perhaps if they knew more about clothes, they could actually see things. So this answers a bunch of ideas in this thread... There seem to be three ideas going on in this thread: there is the idea of fashion as design...and then fashion as the trends that change yearly, either high street or otherwise...and then I suppose there is the fashion that most people wear. And it's all affected by 'education' or ignorance...and also the fear of being laughed at and not being accepted (haha)

    iluvjeisa I wish I could understand your point, especially the part about the 'nondescript and novel'. It sounds maybe good. I only get the first question. I think it is in how ideas have been used that makes something new.
     
  5. ilaughead

    ilaughead Active Member

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    Maybe retro is, in fact, the defining style for this decade? People looking back at the last century and reinterpreting it for this millenium? It sounds right, with all of the hype and events and things surrounding the year 2000 and the years immediately after it. Quite a poetic idea, too. :heart:
     
  6. Pastry

    Pastry Active Member

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    But perhaps your view of loose-fitting, "potato-sack clothes" as being of-the-moment gives away something about the way you think of fashion. Loose clothes are a very specific trend, it's really a very "in-a-nutshell" description of the current state of fashion.

    I'm trying to get at a very elusive idea here, but I think this happens to be a good example of how a potentially incredible trend starts, then it's made into a mockery, mass-appeal follows, and now a term called "volume" is carelessly applied to anything and everything loose. In other words, something that starts as an avant-garde movement can so easily be popularized. It's a shame when a vast majority proclaims to love something that can only truly be understood by a vast minority.

    To look at this in the context of history is to note that mass media makes it impossible to keep anything exclusive, and arguably, that is the "problem" with fashion today-total lack of exclusivity. Every average Joe Blow updates his style daily.

    To look into this issue deeper, is to note that lack of personality is the root of this problem. So many articles now, praise "that old-world notion of personal style" But I think that there is a tribe of designers who can take this generic look and totally subvert it into something intensely personal. raf Simons comes to mind, for example. As one of the active participants on cathy Horyn's blog noted, every theme has been done, what's new is a closely personal vision. And that's why the designers who really shape the forefront of fashion today are those, who just go with the flow. They think something is great, and they put it out. And it also happens to paint a picture of a uniqe and stylish person.
     
    #226 Pastry, Apr 8, 2007
    Last edited by moderator : Apr 8, 2007
  7. iluvjeisa

    iluvjeisa clever ain't wise

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    ilaughead, yes, I think that's true - it was a quick tribute to the previous century and perhaps we will soon be off on a more recognizable tangent than the current one.

    gius, I'm trying to examine what someone might mean when they say "Fashion A is bad because it has been done before"? It is because they can identify the inspiration for fashion A and they deem it inappropriate, untimely, unoriginal or simply unattractive.

    What are the reasons someone would not be able to identify an item as non-novel?

    1) It's a novel design.

    2) It's a rehash of a design that is rather nondescript, ie no strong patterns or daring cuts.

    3) It uses a unusual references.

    4) It combines known designs/styles in a surprising manner.

    5) It is a rehash of a design that appeals greatly to the person viewing it. The use of a known design as an inspiration is embraced to the extent that they don't see it, or they see it and ignore it because it's their favourite type of design.

    6) The person viewing it is simply unfamiliar with the references (just like I think you were just referring to).
     
  8. gius

    gius écrivain

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    ^Yes, those are good points
    I wonder, for people who say fashion is not moving forward, I wonder if they would agree with you. Then maybe we could pick a fashion design and ask them how it's not new :p It would be an interesting game, don't you think?

    I like what Pastry says there... though it's definitely important for a designer to have time to grow 'internally.' It's like what I was saying before about people who 're-invent' themselves each season--it's like they don't know themselves at all. But anyway, even if a designer had the time to nurture his/her talent, will the designs turn out something different? Because some people love designs that are quite traditional--it is just something part of their own style/personality. I have often seen people like this... people who are quite old already and know themselves very well.
     
  9. misssakura

    misssakura New Member

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    I'm tired of people being dressed like scruffy hobos and calling it 'fashion' (not that I dislike more disjointed looks but just being unkempt is not in itself an indication of innovation) so I completely applaud the latest trend to copy vintage styles. But I must admit sometimes I find myself wondering "isn't it sad that we have to look to the past instead of finding our own niche?"
     
    #229 misssakura, Apr 9, 2007
    Last edited by moderator Los Angeles Girlie: Apr 9, 2007
  10. Nyx

    Nyx New Member

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    WhiteLinen and Gius, I've enjoyed your conversation so much. I’d like to put in some thoughts your discussion has given me.

    WhiteLinen, I understand what you mean by looking for something genuinely new. However, it seems to me that you are losing sight on one important aspect of aesthetical evolution, namely that it doesn't happen in a cultural vacuum.

    The fashion revolutions you have alluded to, Dior, Balenciaga, Mary Quant, all happened in a certain point in time. On the background there were political, cultural, demographical, economical factors that all contributed to the trends. All these things are different in the present situation, but they still influence fashion as much as they once did. I’m going to talk about two aspects of these background influences in particular: cultural aspects and the aspects of technology and modes of production.

    A new fashion phenomenon is not just a question of materials, silhouette, aesthetics etc. You can produce a really unique garment, but if no one "gets" it, it's 'newness' remains meaningless. By this I don't mean that design shouldn't be "too outlandish" or anything like that, but that it has to be outlandish in a certain way that speaks to people in that moment of time and place. And the time and place, the material circumstances, are also important. For example, the minidress wouldn't have become a phenomenon, had it not emerged on the backdrop of the rising youth culture of the big post-war baby-boom generations and a long period of economical growth. The design was new, but masses embraced them quickly and they sold insane amounts.

    So the newness of design, the real originality and never-seen-beforeness that you want, essentially needs to be in sync with what is original and never-seen-before in the society, the culture, the world of meanings that exists in peoples' heads, the conceptual structures through which they see and make sense of the world. Otherwise, it is just not recognised as being new in a meaningful way.

    By culture I don't only mean something like "films or pop music influence designers", whatever, blah blah, but economics, technology, globalization of markets, modes of production, world politics, ideologies, hard, boring stuff like that. They all have their impact on how people live, how they want to live, what they expect of their future, who they love, who they hate, what they fear, what they want. They effect the ways clothes can be produced, how they can be distributed, who can afford them, who is going to buy them, what effects their production has for the environment...

    You also need to keep in mind that the production of clothes in the era of Dior, Balenciaga and even Quant was very different from what it is now. In the mid-1900s the volume of industrial production was very different from what it is today. Mass production and -consumption were just beginning. Simply put, it was easier to have new ideas when the whole mass consumption culture was still in its infancy. Before that, newness of design wasn't yet the defining factor in how clothes were judged: rather, it was the quality of the craftsmanship and the materials. The constant search for something mindblowingly new is thus not as quintessential a feature in fashion as we often think. It is in fact only a couple of decades old, and only made possible by the technologies that enable very quick production processes.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that mid-1900s, clothing was also dictated by a set of quite conservative rules of aesthetics and customs: there were etiquette rules for every possible situation and status position. Breaking them was new: today, there just aren't really such rules to break so ‘newness’ can’t be created that way.

    The culture of mass consumption and production has another kind of effect on the possibility of real originality. Think about the way of a piece of clothing from the designer to the factories, and from the factories to the stores. In the mid-1900s this process took ages, without the internet, computers, fast and cheap logistics and free international trade. Today, a piece of clothing can at best take only two weeks from the sketch board to the store racks. The flow of fashion is more liquid, and thus individual designs suffer an inflation. The effect on mass production is that it is not easy to stand out in a situation where there just is so much different stuff in the market.

    I know I'm really not answering anything here. I just kind of wanted to make you lift your perspectives from cuts and materials to the broader context in which fashion revolutions happen. Being aware of those in the past is important in that it helps us perceive opportunities for such revolutions in our own time as well.
     
  11. 5AvenueMarceau

    5AvenueMarceau New Member

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    This is a fantastic thread and thoughts I've had for a while now have been vocalised, particularly by WhiteLinen, so I shan't repeat what anyone else has said (hopefully! I havent read the first few pages, I apologise if I do repeat something).

    I think yes fashion has in the past been very innovative. There are easy examples to pick out, and Le Smoking is a very interesting one.
    Everyone knows the stories of women being sent away from restaurants for wearing the suit, but did you know that there was an incident that was almost exactly the same that happened around 1900 (not sure of the date)?
    The rise of the bicycle presented a new way in which the long skirts of the time were highly impractical, and the odd few adopted trousers, or bloomers, and sometimes half-skirts on top, and named themselves something like the Rationals. The leader of these women, whose name I can't remember, was middle-aged, rich and respectable, and, like many of the other women, was not a feminist, she wore the bloomers out of practicality. Once on a bike ride, she became thristy and stopped off at a hotel for a drink, the staff turned her away from the ladies tea-room as she was wearing the bloomers, and when she protested, joked that the gentleman's parlor would suit her better.

    This story might seem like an argument against fashion as innovative, but actually it proves a hugely different point. Two very similar garments, two very similar reactions, two very different times, but Le Smoking and the cycling bloomers solved two very different problems and thus were each innovative in their own way. This leads me on to your post, Nyx.

    I agree with a lot that you say, in fact it is possible to use this story to prove the point you made that the mass-market/the public needs to adopt an innovation to make it meaningful. When you say:
    ,
    this is true and reflected again in the story. Although most women didn't follow the women who wore trousers, they did adopt it in some small way, and the skirt suit was invented, still with the long skirt but with the fitted jacket the women had worn with their bloomers.

    I also agree that
    .
    To me though, I think it is more to do with something you touched upon, fashion as a reaction to social/political problems, especially that of the emancipation of women, seeing as women, still to this day, are who fashion (as aesthetically focused garments) is mainly aimed at. I also agree with what you say about the rules and conventions of the past, the boundaries of shock have been pushed so far it is hard to fit in the small space outside of them.
    I think that the social issues of today have changed so much, that fashion will take time to adjust. Although there is still a fight for female equality in some arenas, the problem is not big enough to creative a big enough appeal for fashion as the solution.

    I sincerely hope that the pure aesthetic side of fashion still has room for innovation, but I think it will take a long time if ever for it to realise where they can go. It's as if the last two centuries or so were a huge pie, and each time an innovation has happened, there is less and less pie left and now we are left with none. I think we'll have to wait for an entirely new pie, which will come in the form of reaction to the social issues of world poverty and the environment, which is hard to translate into aesthetic, and the production process, technical aspects and fabrics will be looked at more closely in terms of what innovation can be found, than silloheute, cut and construction.
    Fabric seems the most exciting for us aesthetic junkies, smart-technological fabrics offer more possibilities than ever before. I can already feel it starting, and think that the invention of Lycra in the early 60s (I think it was?) and fashion's embrace of it in the 80s, is the best and first example I can think of. Production processes too though, I suppose, with Issey Miyake's a-poc.
     
  12. JsQuared2

    JsQuared2 New Member

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    Umm I wouldn't call it boring but after seeing fall collections of my favorite designers I feel dissapointed in a way.I guess fall clothes are supposed to give you a depressing mood but they should still be fashionable.I'm really sad the S/S 07 is going to end soon cos I think the best clothes of all time were made in that season
     
  13. HiHeels

    HiHeels illustrator

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    i'm at a loss. i don't know if it's boredom, but i'm pretty sure i've got better items in my closet than i will find in most stores (in my price range). so i'm certainly not particularly stimulated.
     
  14. stilettogirl84

    stilettogirl84 New Member

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    Wonderfully said- Karma for you!

    I was trying to think of a way to say this, but could not express it so well as NYx did. That a change in fashion- a real, drastic change that filters down from the runways to the real world always has a basis in a societical change of some kind
     
  15. Nyx

    Nyx New Member

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    Thanks, Stilettogirl84!
     
  16. Bidwell

    Bidwell New Member

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    Nyx, you made a fantastic argument. We are probably in a period leading up to a revolutionary approach. Periods of disent, dissapointment and distrust often breed such innovations. Punk, hippies, crusties or any number of sub-cultures act as a response to social disorder. The japanese designers in the 80's producing high concept fashion was a good example of innovation that still permeates our aesthetics to this day.
    That doesn't occur every 6 months, simple as that. Any new development must have a context for it to be suitably correct otherwise it is simply an experiment and NOT a solution.
     
  17. kus

    kus Member

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    also
    why the "boredom" dislike.

    boredom can be sexy like unchilled wine during heatwave.
    white, i mean.
     
  18. Multitudes

    Multitudes Of a bastard line.

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    ^Yes ... those long hot summerdays slowly sipping the warm Champs Gains 2004, you opened yesterday, but forgot to finish before you collapsed on your bed ... still in the same clothes as last night, sitting falling into boredom with a cigarette in one hand and the bottle in the other, looking out of the open window at the stream of people passing by ... très sexy, très amoureux ...
     
    #238 Multitudes, Apr 18, 2007
    Last edited by moderator green_milk: Apr 18, 2007
  19. alonsoJonathan

    alonsoJonathan New Member

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    i totally feel this. i mean am i the only one who is tired of this awful mens collections. i mean it really is diff. i havent seen a collection that i would said i like. SMH"

    every collection seem to be in a competition on who get the most crazy/extravagant outfit,the shoes are horrible n weird looking,the accesories :sick:. it just too much! i want simple stuff,nothing to crazy.
     
  20. MulletProof

    MulletProof Well-Known Member

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    What's funny, Alonso, is that if you look at the first page of this thread, from almost 10 years ago, you'll see that when things start to get bold or just a decade starts to take shape, or just a season in the midst of a major trend happens, there's always the complaint of fashion being at its most insipid point. There seems to be a fine line between repetitiveness and innovation, and even though they're opposite poles they're almost hard to tell apart from a present standpoint, it's hard to know who's really innovating and who's only recycling ideas (or both) but I think that what's great about fashion is that it is never in absolute stillness. I just looked at the Paris menswear shows for instance and it doesn't look extravagant or repetitive to me.. weird yes, but maybe it's more rawness than weirdness, cause they're still ideas that have not been commercialised but are getting explored by a lot of designers (high-waisted boxy trousers for instance, short sleeves that are big enough to reach the elbow, photography patterns, etc). It may not look genuine because it seems straight out of a trend-forecasting report and obviously has not been combined with more 'assimilated'/simpler items but I think creativity is still existent and 'blooming' in phases like this.

    I actually kind of love it when ideas are just being thrown out on to the catwalk without being established because not only you see a more experimental side of the designer but get to explore these silhouettes on your own too and make something out of them before they get entangled with all those rules of "getting it wrong" or "getting it right".

    Finally, fashion does go out of fashion very easily, which is why it's healthier (?) to pursue style.. you appreciate more, feel less offended I think (I still take offense in stuff like Blumarine anyway, but I still think that's a style more than just fashion :glare:).

    Thanks for reviving this thread, by the way, it's such a great read!
     

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