BA illustration and visual media
No more individualism, youth wants to collaborate, to work together, helping each other for visibility. Many have and are suffering from working under the shadow of one name. There is only one individual who is being praised for his work and achievements, at least that’s how the fashion industry would like it to be but new designers find this to be old-fashioned as the industry still rules under criteria from the 20th century. They are seeking to reformed the industry that changed towards a more product selling and garments focus; fashion is now a financial institution. (Edelkoort, L. 2017)
In the 80’s, Paris’ fashion didn’t see it coming with the arrival of the now-famous Japanese designers Yohji Yamamoto and Rei Kawakubo. Women wear worn by their untidy silhouettes with messy hair, flat shoes and no-makeup; the garments were the ones wearing the human figures. The two were said to be the ones that started the anti-fashion movements that went on until the 90’s with the Antwerp six. However Antifashion was nothing new, in the 1920’s Coco Chanel wearing trousers was already a hint to the movement. We could even go earlier in time with Elizabeth Smith Miller, an American advocate in 1800’s who is credited to be the first woman wearing pants. In the 90’s, antifashion was about deconstructions, constructions and disproportions but fashion is stagnating, Yohji Yamamoto, in 2012, states: “…Fashion is like air, we breathe air so naturally we will be influenced or polluted…”. Are the minimal deconstructed garments now a cliché? For Jeremy Leslie, it’s inevitable; trends are like viruses. Where the structure of a garment was explored in the past, we are now seeing young designers exploring textile, making their own rules, creating a new generation of antifashion designers which consequently took off during the first lockdown of COVID-19. As minimalism was its pick prior COVID-19; with its various moods over the years; fifty shades of beige, black and white, pastel, etc… which aimed for softness and calm atmosphere, we all ending dressing similarly. That sucked, didn’t it? Our clothes are meant to be reflection of our personality, some may also be a social, cultural or political statement but it felt like this was unachievable with brands that were all making look like items. On top of that let’s not forgetting the mass production, the ethical and environment issues that comes along those brands. Fashion house becoming conglomerates lost their independence to lead change.
During the pandemic, people were isolated thus trying to find ways to keep busy, I could give you some examples, experimenting new hobbies, going through old stuff, cleaning their clothes,…and finally finding their grandma’s old dress. And then hits them, their grandma’s dress is now their new pants, they just created an unique piece that only them will own but moreover it’s sustainable which leads them to realizing the potential here. One thing that did not stop over the pandemic are social medias, on the contrary, they expanded, new accounts opened sharing their fun creation that were not following any conventions from the fashion industry nor any trends that were going on, the new wave of antifashion was created itself. Aside, from young designers recycling already exciting materials, some saw the potential in textile, a long forgotten craft in fashion. In the recent years, research on new materials that are environmentally and socially engage have been experimented with to design ne empowering garments that interact and embrace our bodies. An example of this would be the Rui Zhou working with knits and creating seductive pieces and states “love what makes you, you”, launched in 2019 Rui understand the cultural dispute about skin and nudity. Anti-fashion reflects on the current state of our world, on its current crisis whether they are political, social, environmental or cultural. The Vanilla issue, is another case that conveys contemporary antifashion. The online magazine promotes, with the use of Instagram, unconventional young designers making a fool of trends and fashion. Minimalism has not place at this instant, the audience wants ugly, provocative, cheap and nasty looks, a reflection of the population’s opinions on the current crisis the world was/is living. Colors are reintroduced, excessive and extravagant, goodbye to the “less is more” attitude and hello to “more is more”. Womenswear was discussed a lot but menswear is also looking at progression as well, with more playful silhouettes and colors that not only capture aesthetics but social engagements. The term “menswear” is actually wrong for me to use as we are now seeking for genderless designs, inclusivity is an inhouse rule rather than a requirement. Contemporary antifashion is not restricted to design; making fashion accessible to a wider audience; rethinking production methods; reinvent retailing; remove the classification of gender,…
The pandemic had the population rethink their dependence, consumerism, and routine. Minimalism might have been mirroring these, where new designers might felt compel to produce over the top end product. We were on the look for distraction, they gave it to us. Their work are insightful, considerable and mandatory to our culture. We can give end note to Gucci is constantly reinventing its customers’ interactions with the brand, marketing and advertisements appreciably considerate, and noticeably expanding since COVID-19.
Ong, J. (2020). “Gucci is constantly in transition so the brand is open to anything”: Ivar Wigan on his sci-fi fantasy interpretation. It’s nice that [online], Available from: itsnicethat.com [accessed 4 December 2021]
Porter, J. (2019). ICA opens major survey of maximalist art and design on June 26. Institute of contemporary art Boston [online], Available from: icaboston.org [accessed 2 December 2021]
Edelkoort, L. (2017). BofVOICES : Anti-fashion: A manifesto for the next decade. The Business of Fashion [video], Available from: youtube.com [accessed on 3 December 2021]
Nicklaus, O. (2012). Antifashion. ARTE France, Lalala Productions [video], Available from : distribution.arte.tv [accessed on 3 December 2021]
Jamieson, R. (2016). The new wave of anti-design magazines will question your sense of taste – and that’s a good thing. Aiga Eye on Design [online]. Available from: eyeondesign.aiga.org [accessed 2 December 2021]