The frenzy of Fashion Month has now drifted far into our distant memories and one has had the chance to recover from the whirlwind of clothes, shoes and wispy models wearing oh-so-much fur, it’s time to decide what it all means. What was this season all about? What were the defining trends?
As I return to my notes and start flipping through the shows, I am inundated by trends–really, there are more trends than I could keep track of, even when they were fresh in my memory. If the industry-accepted “three’s a trend” rule goes, then almost everything is a trend (okay maybe not those Comme des Garcon knitted monstrosities, but everything else). From sneakers to platforms to pleated trouser to skinny jeans, from midriff tops to cat lady layers, from mini skirts to midi skirts, there was a little of everything in every show. And if everything is a trend doesn’t that mean that nothing is?
Famed Hungarian Countess Louise J. Esterhazy said, “The word trend has had it. There are no trends.” After viewing this season’s collections she said, “I have concluded that fashion today is a bouillabaisse of everything.”
Trends were once like star maps. They were guides to the unknown, fantastical worlds conceived by designers each season. They were articulated by Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. We relied on trends to tell us what to wear and how to wear it in order to be considered en vogue. In the 80’s to look fashionable you wore silhouettes with big shoulders and that was that.
Now it seems that there are no set definitive trends that have to be abided be in order to look cool. You can wear whatever you would like as long as you wear it with confidence and conviction (read: street style phenomenon). Sharon Graubard, a trend analyst with fashion consultancy Stylesight, says that predicting trends is “more challenging every year” and that “with fewer ‘must-have’ items, retailers and designers have to try harder.”
It is no longer mini-skirt or bust; people no longer fret about what’s in and what’s out. They are far more concerned with finding a shape that will flatter their figure and fit their lifestyle. And thanks to the Internet and fast fashion chains like H&M and Zara, it’s easier than ever to find whatever you are looking for whether it be a mini skirt or an embellished bell-shaped midi skirt as seen at Louis Vuitton. This shifts the pressure from the designer to the consumer. Many designers now focus solely on cultivating their own authentic voice and creating a certain signature aesthetic rather than working within the confines of trends. Phoebe Philo’s collections for Céline articulate the same genre of style each season despite the movement of trends.
Now, consumers are called to do the same thing. To cultivate their own style dabbling in whatever trends fit their authentic vision for themselves and leaving the rest by the wayside. It is in the hands of the consumer to sift through the racks and racks of “trends.” Consumers are called to now not only consume but to curate.
We no longer only have Vogue to cull inspiration from. Rather, we go to our favorite blogs, our Instagram feeds, and our Pinterest boards for inspiration. Vogue and all the other time-honored publications are now just small slices in the massive cake that is the fashion community. Each slice of the cake offers its own perception of style furnished with its own trends and must have items. And this just does further to supersaturate the industry with individually diluted trends.
Without a solitary guiding voice consumers are forced to choose for themselves what’s stylish and what’s not. Trends are dead and personal style is the successor. Democratic fashion is giving the consumer the power. And isn’t that how it should be?
We should be wearing what we want to wear. We should have the freedom to dress in whatever fashions we feel inclined to. There is a freedom in being able to feel trendy and fashionable in just about anything, with the only voice we have to answer to being our own. Does this make me feel great? we may think in the morning. Is this articulating the message that I want the world to receive when I step outside?
In this day and age, anything really does go. The inner five-year-old in me is jumping for joy knowing that I can wear a skirt over a dress accompanied by white tennis shoes without getting so much as a second glance. So, let us take the reigns and run with this new power wearing whatever the heck we want to.