Lately I've found myself wondering if the concept of 'trends' in fashion is one that has become archaic. With the sheer volume of designers throughout the world it's beginning to seem like if you look long enough, anything you can dream up can be spotted in at least three collections.
This idea has gathered more steam in my mind since Style Wylde started covering the Japanese shows three seasons ago. Wildly creative, and arguably helmed by the some of world's greatest talent, the Japanese labels almost always seem to be operating on an entirely different plane than their American counterparts. If furs and mini-skirts are "in" among the US labels, then undoubtedly maxi skirts and sleek fabrics will be all the rage in Tokyo. This often leads to repetition of the Tokyo aesthetic in New York, and throughout the world the following season. Which is no surprise as so many designers choose to "take a vacation" in Japan after they've presented their collections each season. (Karl Lagerfeld himself was in Tokyo last March, when I was covering the Fall 2012 collections.)
In addition to the growing global influence on the idea of fashion trends, I firmly believe the rise of the fashion blogger has impacted the ability of the industry to dictate style. Let's face it, other than Manrepeller and a few other ultra- wealthy players, the vast majority of "What I Wore" bloggers simply don't have the funds to discard pieces every season and snap up what ever the labels and glossies declare is "in". This has lead to a lot fluidity in fashion. No longer is it valid to say something is definitely "out", because in reality despite what the magazines declare, somewhere some creative girl is making last season's look "work", and getting her photo snapped by websites and bloggers because of it.
Of course there are some who still cling to the idea of trends. I had a serious laugh earlier this month when the March issue of Harper's Bazaar landed in my mailbox. On one page about half way through the massive "Spring Fashion" tome, the magazine deftly declared "Flatforms are OUT!" (pictured above.) But then roughly 30 pages later, on a "trend spotting" page showing the "Spring Must Haves" a silvery flatform from Caesar Paciotti was featured. (Also pictured above.) Of course they referred to it only as "a sandal", not a flatform, but the silhouette of the sole was pretty damning. Which led me to believe that either fashion moves so quickly now that something can be "OUT!" on page 186 of a magazine and will already be back "IN!" by the time the reader reaches page 212. Or maybe (and more likely) going forward nothing can truly be considered "out" again.
So where does that leave the fashion writer? Trend-spotting and forecasting has traditionally been the mainstay of our profession. If we aren't declaring "This season's must have looks" what in the world do we write about? Do we go the way of the stuffier publications and spend huge amounts of time waxing poetic about historical reference and fabrication? Or do we give up, and give in to the juggernaut that is blogging and simply post pictures of what we ourselves are wearing to work? (Or in my case to write in my home office which honestly is often a hideous mash up of Old Navy yoga pants and old pilly Vince sweaters - not a good look, and not fit for internet photoing)
But then again, the death of trends is the birth of freedom. If everything is in, then everyone can just wear whatever they like, feel comfortable and be considered totally stylish. Which I think, whether or not people want to admit is, to some extent a relief. I for one never want to return to those dark days of style slavery when as women, we were forced to wear just one length of skirt or one height of heel. (and don't get me started on the low-rise-skinny jean tyranny of the early aughts!)
Finally, to bring this long-winded, meandering post to a close, here at SW we will most likely continue publishing the occasional piece on "trends", for no other reason than it's fun to go through the collections and spot similarities in the designs. It's like a really glamorous game of Memory, and we hope that you guys will enjoy it in the spirit it is intended, not as a mandate of what you MUST wear, but as a commentary on what people are thinking about as far as fashion goes on the global scene.
Thanks for the listen Wyldies, and I hope you've been enjoying our coverage of the collections!