I come from the north of the Netherlands where the weather is often rainy and many people move by bicycle through the city. The clothes people wear are most of the time practical and an outfit consists of at least a jeans. The Dutch in general are often condemned for their lack of style. You have (in the Calvinist tradition) to care that you don’t stand out from the crowd too much and by the way fashion is something superficial in the eye of many intellectuals. I must say that my clothing style was maybe overdressed and something out of the place in Groningen.
Now I live in Milan where almost everyone is moving by car or Vespa, despite the weather is more stable and sunny than in Groningen. Milan is not only the city of The Last Supper, by Leonardo da Vinci but also one of the most important centres of fashion. I like fashion or it is better to say, timeless style, design and creativity. I think style is to choose right (what is fitting your personality best) and with the environment in mind.
What I see in fashion industry is that the hypes and trends are fast and that the consumption follows in the same manner. Season after season there is something “new (or less new?)” and expensive for the upper class on the market (and also less expensive copied of course). Why not be creative and buy what you need and like with a quality for years to come? I personally like to combine vintage with good quality and timeless new clothes. What designers now often do is copy for example elements of the clothes of the 1970’s, but expensive and only affordable for an elite. The principles and content of the 1970’s are disappeared and only the aesthetics of the 1970’s remain, but in a very expensive form. The clothes signify in this way money and status. This is the opposite signification than the intentions the Hippies in the 1970’s had with their way of dressing.
Observation and Reflection
Initially I thought it would be nice to walk around elegant in a city as Milan, but in the end I prefer to write and read and walk around in the jeans I never wore in Groningen. Milan wakes up my inner anarchy, for example because the gap between the refugees at the central station and the fashion week in the city centre is enormous. The way, in which fashion is developing now, seems to deny the (environmental) problems of this time. After another Milan fashion week, we end up with an aesthetically beautiful but very elite dress-up carnival at Gucci and the happy Italian life of the 1950’s at Dolce & Gabbana. And what is next?
Do not get me wrong. I like fashion design as a form of art and above all I like creativity, but I don’t like fashion as an object to signify status. Fashion should slow down a bit and should be sustainable to protect the environment for generations to come.