In the contemporary context, the diversity of the fashion industry could be cited as a challenge and worth a think-through. When talking about this topic, instead of a brand-new design style, the first thing that comes to my mind is a sustainable tendency of fashionable concepts.
Recently, more and more designers start to reconsider the value of the fashion industry. The fashion industry is no longer a product line of ‘hot cake’. It becomes a reflection of social issues to some extent. In this sense, the diversity of the fashion industry tends to focus on fashion sustainability.
What is ‘Next in Fashion'?
In January 2020, Next In Fashion, a fashion design competition debuted on Netflix. Two talented designers Tan France and Alexa Chung hosted this series which included 10 different and challenging topics in each episode.
At the beginning of this competition, Tan indicates that the aim of this show is looking for the next big thing in the fashion industry. The one who can unfold the future of fashion is able to get the title.
During the entire competition, one thing that impresses me is the collection by British designer Daniel Fletcher in the semi-final. Obviously, that collection is what the programmers are looking for in Next in Fashion.
The topic of the semi-final challenge revolved around a super versatile fabric in the fashion industry – denim. As one of the most worn fabrics in the world, you could easily find all kinds of clothing, such as jeans, dresses, T-shirts, skirts, etc., or even ornaments in shopping stores. However, it seems that only a few people know this particular fabric is not biodegradable and it is quite bad for the environment.
Daniel said, “For me, fashion is a platform to talk about things I care about”. And he also mentioned that the fashion industry, as a whole, is a huge polluter. Therefore, he decided to try something ‘new’. In this competition, inspired by the tone of denim, Daniel used everyone’s denim scraps to create Arctic scenes in a female dress. The waste use of this product successfully attracts the judge, Tommy Hilfiger. He said excitedly that the collection of Daniel is exactly what they are looking for to represent ‘the next big thing in fashion’.
Virgil Abloh: Streetwear? It’s definitely gonna die
Virgil Abloh has worked for street fashion for more than 10 years. However, at the end of last year, he said something ‘against’ his career in the interview ran by Dazed. When being asked the idea of streetwear in the 2020s, Virgil said without hesitation, “I would definitely say it’s gonna die, you know? Like, its time will be up.”
Why would Virgil say that?
Indeed, fashion is a periodical industry.
This is, the new fashionable tendency will replace the “old” style. And the “old” style may become popular again one day. The fashion industry runs in a cycle.
In my opinion, Virgil didn’t attempt to attack any kind of fashion style, what did he say in the interview is more about the direction of the fashion industry in the upcoming future. In this sense, he predicted that more and more people will go away from buying box fresh things and go for the vintage. Virgil uses his action to practice his concept.
How do used trousers shift into famous products worth more than $800
Since being spotted on Virgil Abloh, GALLERY DEPT.’s LA FLARE Carpenter Pants have become a popular piece amongst fashion fans. Different from the overnight success of other fashion brands, GALLERY DEPT. this time attracts consumers in a ‘new’ way.
As a brand of a modern artist from LA, GALLERY DEPT. has its unique position within today’s fashion marketplace. The main item of this brand – LA FLARE Carpenter Pants, as I mentioned above, seems to deviate from the mainstream fashion products. GALLERY DEPT. uses the fabrics from the worn trousers to collage into unique brand-new products worth more than $800. It is unbelievable but also reasonable to some extent.
Expressing its ethos of re-purposing and re-imagining to create a new unique experience without sacrificing quality or artistic integrity, each pair of LA FLARE Carpenter Pants uses hand-selected process for a specific wash and level of distressing. This is the value of this brand I think.
This concept seems coincidentally to tally with Virgil’s statements in Dazed’s interview. GALLERY DEPT. takes full advantage of ‘old’ garments, and shifts them into the brilliant artistic piece. Virgil said, “I believe being a fashion designer is selling it short if it’s just limited to making clothes”. For Virgil, he thinks a piece of clothing is no matter of its fabric, it is more about its representative. Each of the products should mean something.
In this case, the LA FLARE Carpenter Pants represent the diversity and the future of the fashion industry.
Vintage will dominate the marketplace in the future
What is vintage? People who are not familiar with this specific “style” of clothing might ask. Stereotypically, vintage clothing regard as “second-hand”, “uselessness”, even “waste” sometimes. Apparently, this kind of idea is totally wrong.
Vintage clothing, also known as retro clothing, is a generic term of garments originating from a previous era. Generally, vintage items are at least 20 years old. Retro, short for retrospective, or “vintage style”. This particular style usually refers to the imitations of the previous style. The reproductions of previous garments enrich the diversity of the fashion industry.
Before the rise of industrial manufacture, the clothing of laborers and farmers was a matter of practicality rather than fashion. To save money and maximise value, people always repaired their worn or damaged clothing over and over again. Sometimes you could even see many people wear clothing with layers of patching. Used clothing, in reasonable condition, could be tailored for a new owner. To some extent, the consequence of poverty became the origin of vintage.
However, with the development of the global economy, the tides of popular fashion create demand for the ongoing replacement of products with something that is new and fresh. In particular, the rise of FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) within the fashion industry promotes this industry into a huge polluter. People start to focus on environmental sustainability in terms of reusing, recycling, and repairing rather than throwing things away.
Vintage items are upcycled via changing the hemline or other features for a more modern look. Or, sometimes, vintage items in poor condition are also salvaged for reuse as components in new garments. Some well-preserved fancy vintage clothing is collected by vintage lovers in their store and is returned to the sale of fashion merchandise. By doing so, vintage stands out from many future-oriented fashion ideas.
The diversity of the fashion industry in the future
What does diversity look like within the fashion industry today? Now I am going to provide an idea. Diversity within the fashion industry implies a variety of fashion concepts. That is, sustainability will play a dominant role in the fashion industry. In this sense, repurposing of deadstock and vintage is one effective way to improve fashion sustainability.