Fashion, and fast fashion in particular, is necessarily built upon the idea of transience and limited availability. It is ever-changing, season after season - where we previously had only two (Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter), there are now pre-collections, cruise/resort collections and all manner of collaborations to make sure you never have an excuse not to buy something new. This increasingly fast pace leaves the consumer running to keep up, and that is good for business - caught in the frenzy of the new, we buy first and ask later. It creates a scenario where, as Andrew Hill rather scathingly described, people are "concerned about looking good and we are afraid about how to do this. But when you look at what people actually wear you wonder why they are concerned at all. The gap between our ideas about how we look and what this says about us, and what most people wear and what clothing can now signify is vast, and this gap is at once tragic and pathetic".
Fast fashion, fast food, fast gadgets - a society of pleasure junkies who need a new fix before they have even finished unpacking the one just purchased. You have a gadget, it is expensive, it is cutting edge, but six months after you buy it, it is presumed obsolete, with an ever-so-slightly newer gadget supplanting it. We are encouraged to form a habit wherein if something takes your eye, you have to buy it now, lest it sell out or, even worse, it becomes unfashionable by the time you do manage to buy it. Fast fashion has frequent stock turnover for precisely this reason - if you do not buy it now, it will be gone by the time you come back. Never mind that when you come back there will no doubt be something new to take your eye - a fear of missing out creates sales. Being left behind, of not keeping up with the current fashion, is deemed as tragic, a club nobody would want to belong to. And yet, I think if we were to slow down, we would be much happier and healthier.
The pattern of behaviour we are encouraged to adopt can often create a lack of contentedness in the consumer. The thrill of buying is deemed more important than the actual product, and so we are inevitably doomed to disappointment. I think it is something we can probably all recognise - you see something seemingly beautiful on the rail, you feel you need it right away, and so you buy it in a panic and you take it home. But when you get home you realise … it does not really go with any of your other clothes, it does not fit quite right, and it is suddenly not as great as it seemed in the moment. As such I think the need for a more intuitive approach where dress and fashion are concerned is very important. Fashion moves ever faster, but as far as I am concerned the best pace to go at is your own pace. Take your time, feel things out, and make decisions according to what constitutes a realistic schedule for you.
Fashion may move faster than ever, but take a step back and that movement can actually work to your advantage. A constant stream of inspiration and excitement to be found amongst all the noise. That constant stream also means that where one door closes, there are almost always many more waiting to be opened. I see a garment I like, I try it on, I fall in love, but for whatever reason I can not get it. Time passes, the season finishes, the sales finish, and that piece slips away. But rather than feeling like you missed out, it just opens you up to the chance of something even better in the future. Something new, something interesting, something better will always be waiting around the corner. There are always beautiful clothes I want, but for now, it may not be the right time. However there will be a new collection to come that more than makes up for missing out on a certain piece.
Of course there are those few pieces that remain with you, that pervade your dreams, and this is where things get interesting. The thrill of the hunt, of finding that piece somewhere, somehow and for the right price. Whether it is from last year, or last decade, the good news is that most pieces that are worth remembering can usually be found again. And that knowledge provides a comfort, because you never really miss out, you are simply in the process of building that dream wardrobe. But in stepping forward and planning your goals, it will never remain simply a dream, but something tangible, something wearable, something that makes you smile. Your wardrobe is always changing and developing, just as we are always changing and developing, and therein I think is a realisation that in paying attention to how we choose to develop our wardrobe, the more rewarding the experience can be.
This season was something of an example of this process for me. After a few relatively disappointing seasons, where I found myself less and less interested in what was out there, suddenly things fell back into place. Junya finally made a menswear collection as exciting as his womenswear collections, Rick went back to classic form and created a really solid collection, Boris Bidjan Saberi matured his vision to create something I look forward to seeing in person, Aitor...Aitor just smashed it. And Ann, after a few seasons of people questioning how much she was actually involved in designing her menswear, returned to form with a collection that was by far one of my favourites this season. Whether or not I end up buying pieces from this collection, it is nice to know that there are collections out there that make me really look forward to what is to come. And that can only ever be a good thing where my wardrobe is concerned.