Death of Fashion

Fashion is dying out. But is it necessarily a bad thing?

Opinion | Ana Tajder | May 2009

There is a new listing on the protocol of endangered species: Fashion. Don’t laugh. This is a serious crisis. Not only financial, but also a crisis of creativity and general mood.

Seriously, fashion is dying out. While holding a new issue of Vogue used to be an (expensive), "I want this and I need that!" experience, now it has turned into a (cheap), "I already have this and I can’t be bothered with that" one.

Fashion was last seen alive in the nineties. In the early nineties, Dolce & Gabbana and Jean Paul Gaultier created the über-sexy geometrical corsets and sharp dresses – they were something new. And then came the all black and simple minimalism by Helmut Lang and Jil Sander. This was also something new.

But since then, there has been nothing new. With a shocking lack of creativity, the fashion industry started repeating existing trends. One season, it was seventies bell-bottoms, the next, it was the lady-like sixties with pencil skirts and sharp jackets. Then there were the forties, with wide trousers and tailored coat-dresses. And then we are back to the seventies’ bohemian look, the whole cycle starting anew.

It became obvious that something was really wrong when eighties first came back. This was a few years ago, and since then they seem to be returning regularly. The remarkable thing is that this was the first time that clothes we used to wear not so long ago were already back in fashion. This season is worse – now, we have a nineties revival. Magazines are full of pictures of Kate Moss spotting double-breasted jackets she was wearing back when she first became famous. How can you have a fashion revival of something that we wore, well, yesterday?

This game of repeating trends has created a fashion-industry paradox: In order to sell more new "stuff," the industry forced itself to change styles rapidly, three times a year sometimes. But then they ran out of ideas and ended up just throwing together hasty variations of existing trends. So now anything goes. And anyway – you already have it all in your closet.

The death of fashion only proves that creativity is on the wane. Contemporary art, for example, is nothing but trickery: Artists are cutting animals in halves and selling the embalmed carcasses as art. On the music scene, not much has changed since hip-hop and techno were invented twenty years ago. Unfortunately, the same goes for movies, and theater. Perhaps even literature. Even advertising, once the epicenter of new ideas, is now just plain boring. Today, the only creative people are engineers – but if the iPhone and Twitter are the high points of our creativity, this truly is a sad world.

But like everything else, the extinction of fashion also has two sides. The positive side is that freed from trends, we might have more guts to develop our own style. On the other hand, there is a danger that we might just stop caring and turn the world into a uniform jeans and shirt society.

So perhaps we grow from the death of fashion. By not being pushed to new, different things, we might leave behind the vicious circle of consumption. By daring to find our own style, we might bring more creativity into this grey world.

Imagine the death of fashion turning the world into a better place.

Isn’t that a fantastic concept?

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