Monday, 31 December 2012

2013 - Are we trended out?

I have recently came across an article which discusses the fashion trends of 2013...well it appears that there is nothing which is going to be particularly trendy. Anything goes in 2013, whether you prefer to dress feminine or androgynous, minis or maxis, silky or tough, lady-like or urban, the list goes on!

“The problem with trends is that we are trended out. ... We are so exhausted by overload that we just don't have a way to process anything new,” says trend analyst Marian Salzman, CEO of ad agency Havas PR North America. This is one of the consequences of fast fashion and how it has sped up dramatically, particularly over the past few years. The production chains of some high-street stores can take as little as two weeks from designing garments to them being ready on the shop floor. This then chases established designers of RTW clothing to become more exclusive than the high-street, as the exclusivity of their trends is partly what contributes towards the higher pricing. Many RTW designers now have developed 'resort' collections inbetween the main seasons on the fashion calender for this very reason.

It may be that the advice of many fashion figures, including Gok Wan who promotes dressing for your body shape and inspires people to dress differently by customizing clothes from the high-street, is eventually starting to influence the way that people buy and dress themselves. Indeed many fashion magazines and blogs are taking an interest in street-style and people dressing in ways which reflect their tastes and personalities rather than the latest trends. People are aware that it is not in their best interest to force themselves into the latest trend if it doesn't suit their taste or is unflattering for their body shape. Likewise, 'It was a stretch for a designer long respected for career clothes to tout hot pants', and this change in attitude could actually give designers more freedom in their collections rather than restrict it.

The internet provides a much greater wealth of options than the highstreet, which along with convenience, may be partly the reason why online sales in fashion have increased 152% over the past five years (reported 2011 by Mintel). It is now easier than ever for shoppers to buy clothing which is unique, due to online retailers being able to showcase more stock than highstreet stores, and sites such as 'Ebay' selling second-hand and 'Etsy' selling vintage and hand-made pieces which are completely individual.

If fashion items have more longevity in the trend stakes and are tailored to the individual depending on taste, style and fit, the clothes which people buy in the near future will end up being more sustainable, as they will be kept and worn for longer, slowing down the production chain and by the time the wearer is eventually bored of the item, it will hopefully go back into circulation via Ebay or a swap shop rather than being dumped into landfill!

Monday, 24 December 2012

Outline of Dissertation

This blog will explore the current situation with fashion in society, how and why it has changed so drastically over recent times and the real consequences of the nature of fashion in its present state. There is a current, slowly evolving awareness, of the devastating impact of fast fashion and consumer attitudes towards apparel. Fast fashion means environmental damage across many different areas, unfair working conditions, and the loss of traditional mending techniques and craftsmanship. There are many designers, both high and low profile including Stella McCartney and Vivienne Westwood, who address these changing attitudes through their production and manufacturing processes and campaigning. Events such as ‘Estethica’, 'So Ethic' and 'Edun', as well as green awards for businesses across most creative sectors which address the changing attitudes of design and the need to re-evaluate the nature in which products are manufactured and consumed.
The dissertation will draw links between the clothing market in Britain now and during the Industrial Revolution, the similarities in rebellion towards mass-production with the ‘Luddites’ losing trade to machinery, and the differences between technology and media influence. This will look at how we are moving towards the past and the present of history, and with a return of the importance of skills through valuing craft and a growing cottage industry, we may be on the verge of an important change in fashion and design. Ideas explored will include the difference between fashion and style, and if sustainable fashion is solely exclusive to the elites of society.
I will discuss developments and designers, what has been done so far and what is yet to come. Future scenarios include the possibility of being forced to have products produced nearer home due to rising fuel costs, waste materials being considered valuable and most people being able to fix their own clothes rather than throwing them away. I will be posting about my interview with the founder of Trend Bible, Joanna Feeley, on her opinions on what the future may hold, the way consumers are influenced and if it is possible to steer peoples needs and wants of fast fashion. I will also discuss my work placement at 'Sew Over It', which is a sewing cafe based in London which teaches sewing skills and dress-making, with owner Lisa Comfort ensuring traditional techniques can be retained and relearnt. As a part of my product research, I will be setting up a stall at Newcastles 'Make and Mend Market', selling my work and gathering feedback on why people attending choose to buy vintage and up-cycled rather than products from department and chain stores.
Hopefully my live research alongside the many books I will be dipping into will provide a conclusion on whether or not fashion can ever be sustainable due to a constant need for new trends, and what the most likely outcome is for the future of fashion and how it will adapt to have less negative impact on the environment and society.