some overarching thoughts on the fashion industry

I think it’s cliche how people say that fashion is a form of self-expression. It is, but it’s so much more than that. What we choose to wear is a choice we make everyday, whether we want to or not. And I think clothing reveals, and can dictate, a lot of our psyche and the impressions we make on other people. Clothing matters – it can help us look and be more confident, more sophisticated, more individualized – really whatever it is we’re trying accomplish.

In short, I think fashion can empower who and what we want to be. And in light of that, I’d think of the fashion industry and the trends that make it to FW. Despite the fact that the ~$3 trillion industry’s been constantly changing, the imprints and marks that designers try to leave are  inspiring and worthwhile watching. I think the most worthwhile are the ones that actively invest in its storyline and brand authenticity. You could think of this as a type of slower, ethical fashion – from brands that make clothing from recycled fabrics (e.g., Reformation and Girlfriend Collective), to ones that source from boutique manufacturing (e.g., 3.1 Phillip Lim) – but I don’t think that has to be the case. In a landscape of optimizing supply chains and growing customer insights (especially since the emergence of ultra-fast fashion), it’s a bit ignorant to think slow fashion is the sustainable solution of this ever polluting, disruptive industry.  Fashion will not slow down any time soon, and at one point or another, everyone will buy from “unethical” retailers.

So then, how do you find your niche in fashion? As a consumer, you can look at clothing brand-agnostic, and choose pieces that you personally find appealing for a particular price; or you can look at clothing with the brand focus. For me, the core story of the brand is what resonates with me, and when looking at the former, I focus on how the occasion of shopping or the brand itself resonates with my own life story.

I was in New York a couple of weeks ago, and stumbled across M.Crow. I first thought it was a pseudo-furniture store, which in a sense it was. Tyler Hays bought up his hometown’s 100 yr old general store when it was about to close down, and reimagined his own dreams and childhood:

M. Crow is an awkward collision of all my hobbies and interests and an outlet for fulfilling that childhood fantasy… M. Crow is also interesting to me on more pragmatic levels; rural economic development is a passion of mine as is the heritage of my hometown.

Not every outlet of fashion has the capacity or the need to do this; but when you find the corners of the industry that is able to combine the designer’s own story, own dreams, and a targeting sub-segment of a customer base: maybe those who also recognize their own kind of hometown, childhood nostalgia.

I’ll stop here for now, but a lot of these ideas come from Simon Sinek’s TED talk, highlighting the power of why and the core of a brand. A quick reference to the psyche: if we’re going to choose what to wear and influence others’ impressions of ourselves, then why wouldn’t you try to align the brand’s with your own? It’s much more interesting and impressionable when someone asks you where you bought your outfit to know the story around it than the brand name itself.

 

 

 

 

 

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NOLA

An interesting city.

You can see my personal city guide here.

Dancing

I still watch Dance Moms whenever I have a spare moment. I always have to pause it though to take a deep breath because of all the cat fights – but when the screen switches to the actual rehearsing and dancing, the quasi-anxiety attack I got (from the Moms) is worth it.

I stopped dancing six years ago now, but I remember stupid things like how to do a port de bras and a developpe. A few weeks ago, I decided to stop by a ballet studio to take a class, and it was exactly as how I remembered it. The effort of my brain in trying to remember the French terms, the effort of my muscles in recalling the order by which to move, the effort of my face in trying to remain peaceful and serene. “Light like a feather!” the instructor cried. I was just happy that my worldly mind was melting away as I swooped down (gracefully) with my back and my hand as if to catch some big lump of air.

When I dance, I waver along the lines of self-consciousness and body-consciousness. The first, is utterly distracting. I think not only about how strange I must look with my hair slicked back, but also about the math and science problems I could never get right. Body-consciousness, on the other hand, is always informed by the instructor who is always judging your posture, your face, your gracefulness. I think it’s almost impossible to constantly retain your balance once you’ve sucked in your stomach and derrière, held your neck taller, and fitted your ribcage onto the greater weight of your body. Most people fall over, but most instructors don’t care.

The two, the self- and body-, start to sway into the infinite melody of the never-ending room. A fight for control that never ends.

Spring/Summer 2018 RTW (Part 1)

Spring/Summer 2018 RTW collections were definitely prét à porter. Sometimes, fashion has a sense of being elusive and exclusive, but I think this season was a lot about embracing mundaneness and timelessness.

No. 21

Show notes: Alessandro Dell’Acqua made the collection a mix of carnal and sporty – reminiscent of the Spring ’97 show. Themed dresses with lingerie details.

Gucci

Show notes: Alessandro Michele – strobe lights, misty, replica antiquities, “hypnotism”, carnivorous. Elton John vibes – glam rock stage clothes.

Burberry

Show notes: Christopher Bailey – “there we are” – a retrospective show, embracing the centuries’ socio-economic troubles, from Brexit to nationalism and obscurity. More honest, less polished, cool, and streetwise.

Christopher Kane

Show notes: “Perfect house wife with a cleaning habit” – suburban eroticism (not vulgar though). Sexual and ingeniously silly undergarments.

Off-White

Show notes: Virgil Abloh – Princess Diana, “the people’s princess”, literal not figurative, Diana with a modern chic twist and in everyday wear, Diana in all aspects; tulle.

Christian Dior

Show notes: Maria Grazia Chiuri: feminist; no high heals – modern young woman: “low, block-heeled Mary Janes or black mesh knee-boots”. Elevated social awareness (in my opinion – incoherent trendy pieces).

Chanel

Show notes: Karl Lagerfeld – “The molecules from the water, when you breathe them in, it’s very healthy for you!”; endorphin effect of outdoor scenes and high-end fashion; 60s and 80s Paris momentum.

It’s been a solid 6ish weeks or so, and I’ve never had so much to think about and digest in my life as I have in the last few weeks.

I think I’ve grown to understand the importance of family, friends, and individuality in life a lot more. All things I had never really given a second thought have been really impacting how I think about my future life after college. I only have one more year left – and I really intend to make the most out of the year, with all of the three things above.

I also need to give my future a bit more thinking around what I’ve learned this summer – which is good of course, but there have been things that I’m beginning to uncover about myself as I live in Boston.

I think at the end of the day though, I’m really happy and blessed to be where I’m at and with the new friends I’ve made. Despite the few lows, there have been a lot of highs, and I’m blessed to have found more than one community of people. I also really miss Europe (of course) – and hope to make it back sometime before I go again next June or so.

So here’s to then and here’s to now – looking ahead to the next 4 weeks of this life 🙂 IMG_2189.JPG

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as days grow longer and time goes faster, i start to realize how fast adulthood has dawned upon me. i’ve always been the person to yearn for the next step in life – in elementary school eager to move onto high school, then to college, then to a career. and now at 21, i have mixed feelings about growing up. in one hand, i’m so incredibly excited for what’s to come – to have new beginnings again, the thrill of butterflies and adventures. but i’m also incredibly nostalgic of the past – of the people i’ve met and grown close to, of whom i’ll say goodbye to soon enough, of all the memories i’ve made with them and my own self.

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as providence grows into summer, i am constantly reminded of my days here last summer. all the interesting, different days i had. it’s not necessarily sad but i partially miss it.

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what i hope to achieve some day is to be content with the ever present. to not think so ahead and not be so over-prepared at times. sometimes i just wish i could appreciate the moment more.