“What’s out of fashion now is the schedule of the entire system: the shows, the showrooms, the orders.”
–Anthony Vaccarello, creative director at Saint Laurent
It’s probably frivolous to even be thinking about fashion right now, but for me, it’s been a welcome distraction from the depressing-as-fuck state of the world: friends losing their jobs, (more) racially motivated murders by police (and others), America’s worst president (enabled by a chickenshit social media platform), and an overwhelming feeling of powerlessness.
It’s a privilege and a luxury to be able to step back from all that for a second and look at pretty pictures. Color cheers me up, if only for a moment. And it’s a tiny consolation that COVID-19 just might be changing the fashion industry for the better.
For one thing, gender lines are continuing to blur. It’s slowly becoming more acceptable to be nonbinary, and fashion designers are starting to make more unisex clothes. So people are realizing that maaaybe it’s unnecessary to have different men’s and women’s lines, shown in different months. According to the NYT:
On Monday [May 25], Alessandro Michele, the creative director of Gucci, held a video news conference to announce that the brand will reduce the number of shows it holds each year from five to two…He also wants to do away with the distinction between men’s wear and women’s wear, and the traditional appellations of fall/winter and spring/summer.
Woot!! Gucci is also launching a genderless section of its website, the NYT says in the same article. Hopefully others will follow.
Another way the fashion industry should change, IMO? Lose the snooty exclusivity and promotion of rapid consumption. (Remember “Don’t stomp your little last-season Prada shoes at me, honey!” from Legally Blonde?) It’s such an elitist, rich-person world, even without shaming people for wearing something that–gasp!–came out last month. Thankfully, the lines between seasons might blur, in addition to gender divides. InStyle predicts, “Fashion trends will slow down…Designers including Donatella Versace, Rick Owens, and Guram Gvasalia of Vetements have indicated they are looking forward to slowing down and creating seasonless clothes.” (Besides, with climate change, every season is summer! 😬)
Speaking of climate change, that’s another reason the fashion industry should reinvent itself right now. Excess is never a good look, but particularly when resources are becoming more scarce AND SO MANY PEOPLE ARE JOBLESS. Rather than using child labor and oil-based materials like acrylic and polyester, we need quality clothes that are designed to last, made ethically, and priced somewhat reasonably (like Everlane, only cuter and more colorful). CGTN thinks consumers are ready: “During the crisis, many customers have been shopping more consciously and thinking about ethical aspects of their shopping experience–a shift in consumer mindset expected to accelerated by the pandemic.”
Teen Vogue says that there’s also been an uptick in online secondhand shopping (GOOD!). Thrift stores and vintage shops are where it’s at (or, uh, they will be once they reopen, if they aren’t closed forever?! #shoplocal). Maybe fast fashion is finally losing its luster.
Who knows? Call me Pollyanna, but maybe something good will come out of our current disasters: changed consumers and fashion designers alike.