Friday, March 03, 2006

The Dismal State of Fashion

I haven't updated this blog in a while. There's a lot of reasons for that, but part of it is just how abysmal fashion has been. Now granted, the industry has been sucking wind for for about four years now, starting more or less with the fall of the towers on 9/11. And while that might be a dramatic interpretation of events, I think there's a connection between not so much the actual attack, but the political environment that grew out of it.

Since that day, the world has become a more conservative place. Whether or not that reflects the natural swing of the pendulum between liberal and conservative or the iron-fisted way and means of the current administration is almost besides the point to me. The net result, however, is that the effect of conservatism is a stifling of creativity.

Every season, I look for some sign of newness for freshness and I amazed by how constantly I am disappointed. I've given up on hoping that designers will look within for inspiration rather than a vintage issue of Vogue, but I can't help but be dismayed by the the never-ending parade of schlumpy chic. It's best epitomized by Lucky magazine, which never tires of promoting fashion that
goes about as far out on a limb as the wardrobe for an executive in the publishing industry. I blame Lucky for leading the charge of creating comfort fashion, the perfect apparel for the scared and huddled masses. Vogue magazine, sadly, is no better. Sure the designs featured are slightly more cutting edge and the photography is more daring, but as far as Anna Wintour's designer choices are concerned, she's been stuck in a deep rut for a while now.

Part of the problem is that today's designers and editors refuse to update themselves. They don't seem to know what to make of the Internet and worse yet, they range from stubbornly ignoring street fashion outright or at best, occasionally deigning to give it a condescending pat on the head like it's a small precocious child.

Recently there was an interview in Footwear News magazine, in which a footwear buyer for Nordstrom got to talking about the trend of fashion athletic footwear and cowboy boots. She said that both trends came out left field because they came from the streets rather than the runway, where trends traditionally start. What she failed to comprehend is that there's a reason people are ignoring the runways and that is because they've become woefully irrelevent.

I have no idea what to do about how much fashion sucks right now. I just know that in restarting up this blog, my goal is to promote designers, magazines and retailers that have more in their creativity cookbooks than the latest recipe for macaroni and cheese. Enough with comfort fashion for god's sake. I'm dying for someone to jolt me out of this daze.

Note: the above image came from a recent New York Times article entitled "Seduction Revived." And folks in the industry wonder why commoners are disgusted by fashion.

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