I just returned home after a marvelous trip to Japan, mostly Tokyo. I’ve seen so much, I hardly know where to begin, but one thing hasn’t changed: my mixed feelings about fashion nowadays…..
Before I left I bought “The Ossie Clark Diaries” and took it with me on the trip. Maybe reading about the beginning of a new and exciting period in fashion (the Swinging 60ties in London) and experiencing what feels like ‘fashion is placed on a pedestal’-period made me even more confused?
For me fashion (high fashion at least) has reached a moment where change is required. For some brands fashion isn’t about clothes (and accessories) anymore, it’s all about making large amounts of money and other brands have lost the thought of fashion being about making beautiful clothes that can be worn and are presenting their collections as if it were pieces of art, not to be touched and only to be looked at behind glass windows like in a museum…
One day in Tokyo my friend and I where is the Aoyama area to look at collections of some of the fashion-designers and we noticed no customers were to be found in any of the stores. Empty buildings with ‘bored out of their mind’ employees and security guards watching over clothes and accessories so expensive you don’t even want to consider purchasing anything… Not only in Tokyo is this the case, I’ve seen the same in other large cities. These stores are for the image of the brands only, designed to stand out and be talked/written about, so the fragrances, beauty products and accessories get more desirable to people who would normally never buy anything from this brand.
I do understand this is marketing, it’s about making money and that’s a part of what fashion has become nowadays, but my true fashion heart cries over this development.
The same with brands that make clothes/collections as if they are painting Rembrandt’s or Picasso’s, only to be watched behind glass windows. Oh, surely I do admire craftmanship and high quality fabrics, but I would love to see clothes with these qualities to be worn on the streets and not hanging ‘behind bars’.
I am not at all into the Trading Museum-concept by Comme Des Garçons. It felt as if we were walking trough a church and had to whisper, when visiting the Trading Museum in Tokyo. When my friend wanted to try on a pair of pants by CDG and asked for them in his size, the employe looked disturbed, as if nobody before had ever asked this question…? I did read somewhere the Trading Museum is supposed to be ” a world created, where there is a reason and story behind all the goods we collect, show, display and or sell. It will be a place where shopping is not the only objective. It will be a shop where ‘just looking’ will be encouraged and merely being inspired can also be the aim.” Well, shopping in there did not seem an objective at all! To me the Guerilla Store and the Dover Street Market-concepts by Comme Des Garçons were new, smart and exciting, but the Trading Museum is placing fashion on a pedestal were they doesn’t belong.
Maybe it’s time high fashion is designed again to be worn and not as a subject of a marketing strategy or as a relic of some ‘High Fashion’-religion…..