Having worked in fashion and been something of a fashion devotee for most of my life, I’ve seen the cyclical nature of trends repeating themselves over and over again. At this stage I’m bored mindless by the endless re-runs some designers spit out.
I believe we have really out lived trends and fashion is now more about value and wearability.
Five years ago fashion pundits and designers around the globe declared skinny jeans passé. Yet they have remained and are more popular than ever due to improvements in the introduction of new fabrics with added stretch and comfort. Not just for skinny malinks, women decided there were many different ways to wear them e.g under layered t-shirts, tunics or dresses.
It’s proof that the Fashion industry now has less power to influence women. We have access to the internet and can order what we like long after designers have decreed an item outmoded. A recession can spur people towards creative pursuits and there’s a growing number of women taking dressmaking classes in the hope of learning to make and alter clothes.
At a symposium I attended, spiritual guru Deepak Chopra predicted a return to an emphasis on CRAFT where not only the designer would be acknowledged on the clothing label. Everyone in the chain of manufacturing right back to source…from the cotton grower to the weaver is of equal importance in the chain of manufacturing. Designer Donna Karan, a regular visitor to Haiti, has begun enlisting the co-operation of artisans and craft workers. In viewing the work of Haitian painters, sculptors and craft persons. Karan reiterated her passion for Haiti as a nation where “each person is creative” and promised to assist Haitian artisans in promoting their works. “Creativity can be manifested into jobs,” said Donna Karan, an ardent supporter of Haiti through her company Urban Zen.
Donna Karan I admire, along with Helmut Lang. Quite simply they stay faithful to their own concept of a unique aesthetic, producing very wearable clothes that women can make their own. They don’t impose a particular fashion or shape on women.
Perhaps the reason I love them is because the drape of their clothes is not unlike the simple asymmetric lines of a Greek toga worn by the Goddesses in the myths. The clothes are directional yet remain timeless classics.
These two designers have remained committed to their ‘look’ over the past decade, barely changing either their colour palette ( of monochrome and muted taupes and grey) or shapes from one season to the next. Karan often includes a red dress to add a bit of colour. The clothes are easy and elegant and regularly imitated by other manufacturers.
Designer clothing is beyond the price range of most of us but we can take inspiration from innovating designers. Once you recognise a look you like and are comfortable with, you can do one of the following: