The other side of fashion

“I think what I often see it that people are frightened about fashion. Because it scares them or make them feel insecure they just put it down … I think that’s usually because they feel, in some ways, excluded or, you know, not a part of ‘the cool group’ so as a result they just mock it.”

Anna Wintour

As the days neared the much awaited London Fashion Week, having previously been occupied with ideas on how to best cover and present the multitude of shows and exhibitions, I suddenly found myself facing a different question:  Why is this important? Having already dedicated a fair amount of time to the coverage, this query caught me by surprise and the potential of an “it really isn’t that important”-epiphany was distressing.

For me, the fashion world has two faces: one side is the one that is imposed on us through glossy magazines and celebrities. This side is based on commerciality, exclusivity and image; it is the reason a Burberry trench coat costs more than the average person can afford to spend and the creation of a much coveted product, available only to a handful of people. This way luxury brands stay in control of who wears their products and who becomes a brand representative and in that way they uphold an elitist image. The response is three-fold: there are those who will strive to achieve this image regardless of whether they are a part of that “elite”, those who will mock it and those who simply will not care. If this was the only thing that fashion was about then indeed it isn’t important, at least not to me.

The other side is about aesthetics, personality, climate, art and culture. The fashion landscape reflects current circumstances, likes and tendencies; for the first time in a long time the Spring/Summer catwalks for 2013 were dominated by dark colours and heavy fabrics, a comment perhaps, on the current economic climate. This is why trends are interesting and why there is so much analytic interest in it: as much as they may be created from imagination they are inspired by life. Fashion as a reflection of circumstances is also something relevant to us as individuals. A certain outfit will have a certain effect; for example wearing something you are comfortable in will reflect in your mood and attitude.  This aspect of fashion is not about wearing what is “in” and trashing those who do not – it is about appreciating the art of dressmaking as any other art-form. The Burberry trench coat mentioned above dates back to World War I – a historical piece, telling a story way beyond Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s squirming around on the floor in one in the latest Burberry Nude perfume ads.

Fashion is therefore not necessarily an obsession with underweight models, six inch heels and celebrities; it is a form of expression, a way to convey a feeling or a message, a piece of history, art and culture, but most of all a source of inspiration and this is why it’s important.  London Fashion Week has made a few suggestions which we are presenting below – now it is up to you to decide what to do with it.

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