The Story of Whims and Vintage
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.