THE FUTURE OF FASHION
The transformation of the industry in this digital age. By Alexander Fury.
It’s a cliché to say that fashion is shifting—fashion always shifts. It is, by its very nature, malleable and mutable, each season transforming itself into something new. It is an industry predicated on a perpetual dynamic of change, of constant renewal, of fresh blood. These changes can be invigorating. Really great fashion can shift not just the what but the why, altering not only the physical form of clothes but the psychological ramifications of wearing them. Fashion can shift perceptions of the self. But at the moment fashion seems to be preoccupied with its shifting perceptions of itself. The current landscape is in peril. Longheld “rules” are being questioned, rewritten, or scrapped entirely. The biannual fashion calendar has been tossed out, with designers showing their clothes between seasons, on men and women simultaneously, and in weeks traditionally reserved for one or the other. Designers are selling their wares straight off the runway—“see now, buy now,” in the industry parlance—or hoarding imagery altogether until their clothes hit the rack. Houses are staging shows in more intimate settings, like private garages (Ralph Lauren) or their own ateliers (Maison Margiela), while others thirstily live stream every stitch. Alexander Wang staged his show on the streets of New York last Autumn/Winter ’17, to the delight of passing tourists. The rules are, there are no rules, as Aristotle Onassis once said.
The signs have been there for years—the dominance of social platforms, the ever-growing number of collections, the ascendance of the consumer as arbiter of contemporary taste, and the general need for speed. But the repercussions of these gradual changes in the fashion climate are only being felt now, and with seismic force.
Rick Owens’s statuesque collection for Spring/Summer ’18
Punk and grunge made a comeback at Prada Spring/ Summer ’18 Alessandro Michele’s glamour on acid Rick Owens Spring/Summer ’18