The Story of Whims and Vin­tage

Shoes & Accessories - - Contents -

Fash­ion critic and renowned fe­male en­tre­pre­neur Kanika Bha­tia writes, years on, we still clas­sify our wardrobes between clas­sics and modern based on just the time­less­ness of the art­work, sil­hou­ette and of­ten be­cause it’s been prop­a­gated so. What ac­tu­ally clas­si­fies as a clas­sic fash­ion, how­ever?

Mi­lan Kun­dera, in the be­gin­ning of his best seller, “The un­bear­able light­ness of be­ing” talks about the weight of some­thing which does not per­ish, of the na­ture of things that keeps re­turn­ing with no end in sight. To­day, we will talk about two as­pects to eter­nal re­turn and ex­is­tence in fash­ion, be­gin­ning from the need and def­i­ni­tion of clas­sics to why there is lim­ited shelf life for new age fash­ion.

Years on, we still clas­sify our wardrobes between clas­sics and modern based on just the time­less­ness of the art­work, sil­hou­ette and of­ten be­cause it’s been prop­a­gated so. What ac­tu­ally clas­si­fies as a clas­sic fash­ion, how­ever? A ba­sic def­i­ni­tion would talk about fea­tures like com­par­a­tively long last­ing or con­stant for many days, some­thing which isn’t a tem­po­rary fad and is present in wardrobes across. We, of course, do not ex­clu­sively men­tion the mod­i­fi­ca­tions that have been in­tro­duced over the years. Sa­rees, suits, shirts, trousers, den­ims etc haven’t left our wardrobes since decades and still seem to have a bright fu­ture.

They’ve be­come such sta­ples to our wardrobes that their ex­is­tence is hardly a mat­ter of ex­cite­ment, and their ab­sence a mat­ter of shock. But think this for a sec­ond, do you con­cur that the ex­is­tence of these sta­ples has left our fash­ion his­tory a lit­tle bor­ing? Why are there such less shock­ers ( and I do not mean those like Crocs, that’s an ab­hor­rent not a shocker) in our his­tory of fash­ion and more clas­sics and vari­a­tions of the same? Agreed, we have had shock­ers in fash­ion, but those can be at­trib­uted ma­jorly to cul­tural and so­cial stig­mas preva­lent in the decade in con­ver­sa­tion. Ev­ery new in­put to the fash­ion world is clas­si­fied as a fad or tem­po­rary trend that would be worn out soon, and pos­si­bly by whims of the me­dia, which by the way plays a ma­jor role in mak­ing and break­ing fash­ion. Our big­gest de­sign­ers, par­tic­u­larly in In­dia, do not even at­tempt to break from the yawn­wor­thy sil­hou­ettes to some­thing that can be called modern fash­ion or added to the list of clas­sics even­tu­ally. Mer­chan­dis­ers for on­line and off­line stores, re­spond­ing to mass ap­peal, pro­mote, stock and make space for (of­ten lit­er­ally) for pro­to­types of for­ever.

In the name of time­less­ness, are we killing the vac­uum for new tal­ent and new fash­ion? Lakme fash­ion weeks, in­clud­ing oth­ers pro­mote ‘Gen Next’ De­sign­ers, how­ever, the saleabil­ity and sus­tain­abil­ity of these de­sign­ers is al­ways in ques­tion of­ten lead­ing to death of such tal­ent cour­tesy lack of funds. Lack of funds, ma­jorly in­spired from us, as buy­ers, mer­chan­dis­ers and pro­mot­ers, lack­ing the vi­sion to look beyond. It is cour­tesy this trend that our mar­kets have been di­vided into un­healthy clus­ters of pop­u­lar de­sign­ers with an in­abil­ity to move beyond the ob­vi­ous choice, ex­per­i­men­tal de­sign­ers con­stantly try­ing to find their niche, fight­ing a dou­ble bat­tle with “clas­sics” and a heav­ily price sen­si­tive mar­ket and then a clus­ter that is here to play the small game of cheap cloth trad­ing that is even­tu­ally swip­ing off what we call ‘De­sign­ing.’

While it will be wrong to com­pletely negate the con­tri­bu­tion of de­sign­ers to­day, to what we ad­dress as modern takes on clas­sics, it’s some­how not let­ting us grow beyond a cer­tain point. This point, how­ever, by macro eco­nom­i­cal stan­dards re­mains more or less on the same Y axis. How is eter­nal re­turn and fa­mil­iar­ity good in this case, re­mains a point of con­tention.

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