â€œI 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.â€
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:Â 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 â€œit really isnâ€™t that importantâ€-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 â€œeliteâ€, 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 isnâ€™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. Â This aspect of fashion is not about wearing what is â€œinâ€ and trashing those who do not â€“ 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 â€“ a historical piece, telling a story way beyond Rosie Huntington-Whiteleyâ€™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 itâ€™s important.Â London Fashion Week has made a few suggestions which we are presenting below â€“ now it is up to you to decide what to do with it.