Who Still Keeps Up With Fashion Week?

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 Jean Paul Gaultier S/S ’94. Jean is one of the few designers whose work I still keep up with to this day.

Seriously, who really does still keep up with fashion week? I’ve stopped a long time ago ever since the industry slowly started degrading into a big commercial marketing ploy instead of a showcase of art and craftsmanship. There doesn’t seem to be much creativity and innovation these days; not that many designers now seem to create fashion for art’s sake anymore. Everyone just creates the same kinds of clothing over and over again; and I mean the boring wearable kind of clothing that we could easily buy in fast fashion stores (well, at least the designer labels have better quality).

Fashion shows used to be a place of dreams. It used to be a venue where designers can go crazy and express their creativity through the medium of clothing. Nowadays designers just create generic, wearable clothes to be sold commercially (Michael Kors). Either that or they just host fashion shows to invite more celebrities, Insta-models (BARF) and “social media influencers” to promote their brands no matter how bad their designs are (Olivier Rousteing) (although these tactics do keep the brands alive since it increases sales). 

Does anyone else miss the past when the fashion industry used to be creative?

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In the past, creativity and artistry used to be appreciated and fostered, but now designers don’t have the freedom to be innovative any longer since the industry is already very business-centric. It’s not very practical from a business standpoint to use money and resources to create clothes that won’t be sold commercially, but it’s sad that they end up forgetting about keeping the integrity of the artists.

Although there are some designers who create wearable clothes that are still very beautiful and innovative, like Phoebe Philo and Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski, they’re still a minority out of the hundreds of other designers presenting in fashion week showing nothing but disappointing, boring clothes. 

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 Hermès F/W ’16-17 by Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski. Wearable yet beautifully designed nonetheless.

That’s probably why Jean Paul Gaultier, Azzedine Alaïa, and Viktor & Rolf don’t present ready-to-wear collections anymore. They probably can’t stand how commercial the industry has become. They’re just lucky that they have other business ventures that could support their haute couture, otherwise they could end up bankrupt like poor Christian Lacroix. 

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Christian Lacroix Haute Couture S/S ‘96

Same goes to Rei Kawakubo, Vivienne Westwood, Miuccia Prada, and more designers who aren’t sell-outs that still continue to present amazing collections season after season. I’m just glad that they’re not like those other new, younger designers who design for the sake of fame and money; or those older designers who became sell-outs in order to keep their brands alive (I feel bad for them honestly, sorry Donatella). 

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 Comme des Garçons F/W 2016-17

That’s what I’ve noticed about a lot of young designers. It seems like nobody really innovates, anymore, they just get influences from past designers like Martin Margiela and turn their clothes into a something similar (ahem, Jacquemus). Although I guess the legal term would be “creatively inspired”. I don’t really mind inspiration, but I find it problematic when the inspiration becomes way too blatant that it becomes obvious who the designer is being inspired by.

One of the fairly new designers I really like though is Iris Van Herpen. “Fairly new” because she started in Amsterdam during 2007 and moved her shows to Paris during 2011. I’m not only drawn to her clothing due to her innovative designs, but to the process and the unconventional materials that she uses as well. Another designer who has been on my radar lately is Yiqing Yin, who is a Chinese-born designer but is now based in Paris. I find her designs very modern yet quite wearable as well; I really loved the final dress showcased during her S/S 2016 couture show.

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Yiqing Yin S/S 2016 Haute Couture

Even though I still continue looking at the works of certain designers I like, I don’t exactly keep up with fashion week as much as I used to before. Fashion week now just isn’t as exciting as it used to be since most designers prefer to present commercial clothing as opposed to just being free with their creativity. I find it quite boring now, in fact I’ve been starting to branch out to other fashion cities like Copenhagen, Amsterdam, and Tokyo since most of the designers there are actually really artistic. Expect another article about it some other time.

Photos courtesy of vogue.com

 

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