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Parlez-vous Fashion?

"How did fashion arrive at the point it’s at now? Below we’ve elaborated on three ideas that reflect the state of fashion in 2018. “

NO SPEED LIMIT

Whether or not you’ve been taking notes, fashion in 2018 seemed to be a hyperextended version of trends from the preceding seasons. Take what you saw or experienced a year or two ago, and multiply it by a thousand. Trends that are singled out are being embraced, accelerated and replicated to their most extreme point; dragged and dropped into their furthest and strangest consequences.

Take the sneaker epidemic. While sneakers themselves are hardly a new trend, its co-option by luxury fashion houses gave them a sense of legitimacy that’s resulted in its explosion. Every pair of sneaker, from the Nike Air Vapormax and Balenciaga Triple S to the Louis Vuitton Archlight and Gucci SAGA seem appear like an image that’s gone viral. Much like Mala flavoured ice-cream or Martin Brudnizki’s OTT reboot of Annabel’s in London’s Mayfair — which is “sort of like Versailles meets Dubai, on acid”, as Sadie Stein’s Elle Decor article on maximalism notes, their popularity and extravagance breeds a feeling of desire, curiosity and frenzy. You love it, you’ve got to have it, but you’re unsure of why you do.



A reworked version of @greenboxshop’s anti-discrimination T-shirt, worn by Frank Ocean at Panorama Music Festival in New York City, 2017. Image credit: @diet_prada

AUTHENTICITY: THE REMAKE

If, in the last couple of years, fashion’s audience had an inkling that “newness” in fashion is a dying breed, almost all of their suspicions were confirmed this year with help from @diet_prada, whose Instagram profile is an ongoing exposé of “ppl knocking each other off lol”. Initiated in 2014, the page has built up a strong following of 1 million “dieters”, as followers of the account are referred to, as they visit and at times contribute to the page to satiate that nagging question that is: “Hey, haven’t I seen this before?”

In the past couple of years, the page has sparked controversy over issues of plagiarism, a lack of creativity and questions of authenticity. A whole host of designers are repeatedly subject to criticism for replicating the work of other designers, prominent cultural veterans, or any piece of material on the Internet that’s available for reference. Whilst most of their posts raise a valid concern, it continues to beg the question: In the age of the Internet, what is considered to be authentic to the children of Myspace, Tumblr and Instagram? Is it any less authentic for someone to recontextualise a garment or accessory the same way one would reblog an image?



SUSTAINABILITY

Yet, although aesthetic eccentricity and the avant-garde appear to be suffering, innovation continues to take place in other arenas of creation, and in 2018, sustainability took the reins. One of the few trends that is worthy of being accelerated, the alarming consequences of climate change and the need to create a positive impact has endowed an increasing amount of designers with a strong sense of responsibility and furthered their drive to push boundaries and challenge the status quo through sustainable practices.

Stella McCartney has been tackling the industry’s human rights, animal cruelty and waste problem ever since she set her mind on becoming a fashion designer, and in the past year, other designers and established players are following suit. Earlier in February, Vetements unveiled a window installation at Harrods featuring a mountain of unwanted clothing, willingly donated by employees and the public. The message? Producers must ensure that supply meets demand to avoid wastage, whilst consumers should work towards cultivating a more circular mindset: buying responsibly and eliminating the concept of waste.

Later in 2018, fashion went fur free. London Fashion Week spared its viewers from the material, whilst the city of Los Angeles banned the sale of fur altogether. In the same week, Helsinki Fashion Week went leather-free. Awareness of new materials and sustainable practices have also proven to rise on the consumers end. Lyst’s Year in Fashion report reveals “a 47% increase in searches including sustainable related keywords this year, from ‘vegan leather’, to ‘organic cotton’ and ‘econyl’.” Young designers such as Marine Serre, Richard Malone and Yah! upcycles vintage clothing and uses sustainably sourced fabrics to create a positive impact. And this is only the beginning of a hopeful start.