I’ve been noticed that when the talk turns to fashion nowadays, a lot of my friends just roll their eyes and say “I’m so over it”.
Granted, we are just emerging from a very bruising period of lockdowns and isolation, and fashion seems quite irrelevant, but this is from people who have always loved it to bits. And yes, we are of a certain vintage. But do we all reach a point, even the most ardent fashionistas amongst us, where you just think “Eeeurgh, enough”?
I’m not going to be buying gimmicky and expensive ‘it’ bags and things emblazoned with logos, sure, but I don’t want to give up high fashion completely. I’m not entirely 24/7 Uniqlo yet.
What I no longer have the band width anymore for are all those LA celebrities and their awful getups which always seem to end up on my feed. Balenciaga released a promotional video last week with a clearly bored Kim Kardashian in a catsuit disinterestedly waving a hideous neon green handbag around, and my gut reaction was ‘Please, God, make it stop’.
I don’t particularly want to be a person who think it’s all stupid and vacuous. I never have been that person, but the fashion world can make it hard sometimes. Does one naturally age out of caring about fashion, much like photographers who start out with top models and end shooting black and white portraits of eggplants?
I think what I am recoiling from is the fact that fashion is so intrinsically linked with celebrities. I always want to see what the top designers are doing, but apparently it requires Kim K or someone in a gimp suit to get the clicks, and I’ve always tried to avoid knowing too much about either of those things. I like my fashion straight up, delivered on the runway, no Hollywood stars, no leopards on leashes, no meta NFT blah, blah, blah, just beautiful clothes on lovely models.
I marvel at inventiveness, such as the wonderful accessories designed by Tega Akinola, a 22-year-old London-based artist who majored in sports and exercise psychology and started making fabulous bags and shoes during lockdown from disused cables, USBs, and thrifted socks.
I admire the hands-down cleverness of designers such as Glenn Martens, the talent behind Y/Project, who is also the creative director of Diesel, and who designed a spectacular Jean Paul Gaultier Couture this season, riffing on recognisable slingerie themes of the house such as pink satin corsetry to produce something sumptuous and original.
I am very interested in labels that collaborate with indigenous communities, designers who upcycle, circular brands using completely recycled materials, accessory houses that are experimenting with vegan leather.
There are wonderful things going on in fashion. It is media and marketing laziness that is doing us a disservice and making us frustrated and bored. We shouldn’t have to age out. But they’ve decided nothing is going to be palatable (or profitable) unless it’s sold to us by Rihanna or Kendall Jenner.
I know, I know – the over-40s are not the target market, so I’ll just have to keep dodging the in-crowd in order to discover the truly beautiful.