click click – 30-04-12

click click — Danielle on April 30, 2012 at 1:23 pm

Welcome to click click, the sporadic review of what I find worth clicking on the internet.

Photos via Rivet Head, a comprehensive information source for vintage workwear fetishism.

Karma alarm!

  • It’s OK for intellectual feminists to like fashion – Lucie asks me some searching questions about the blogging process – and I gladly spill my guts.
  • Style Bubble – being listed as a “fave” by the sharpest eye in fashion blogging is truly an honour. Thanks Susie!
  • Mamma’s Chest“Vintage Goods”
  • VVires.com“Good art is a prism that draws a specific mood, world view, etc. out of you and refracts them into a million colors, your interpretation is the message”

how to draw a fashion figure

drawing,illustration — Danielle on April 26, 2012 at 11:37 am

Have you ever wondered how I draw a fashion figure? You’re not the only one. This post was a reader request – thanks Eliza! My technique is not original – it is based on studying texts and the instruction I received in university. I like to recommend books by Bina Abling and Steven Stipelman for aspiring fashion illustrators – be aware, not all fashion illustration texts are of equal quality.

Now, I have done this so many times it is second nature, so I rarely create a draft this formal anymore, and my sketches are now much looser and more enigmatic. However, for clarity I’ve broken it down into 10 steps. If you can follow instructions, you too can draw a fashion figure. Grab three (or more) sheets of translucent layout paper or tracing paper, a pencil and whatever other art materials you’ve got on hand, and you’re ready to go.

1. Center Line. Start by drawing a straight line from the top of your sheet of paper to the bottom. You can use a ruler or go freehand if you like. Mark roughly where you want the top and bottom of your figure. Divide this segment into eight equal sections with small marks. I’ll refer to these marks in this post – for clarity, mark 1 is at the top.

2. Head and Attitude. Most fashion figures are 8-10 heads high. Mine tend to be around 8.5 heads high. Each section, therefore, stands for the height of a head. Draw an oval for the head in the top section. Then I like to take a few abstract, loose swipes to represent the movement of the figure. Because intentions count a lot in drawing, these lines help to give a fashion illustration mood and attitude – be confident, not hesitant. These lines can not be right or wrong. This is just the draft, and no one will see it, so don’t waste time erasing. If you don’t like a line, just draw another one – your eye will sort out which lines work best.

3. Spine, Shoulders and Hips. The next line represents the spine, and connects the head to the center mark on the vertical line. Are you familiar with contrapposto? This refers to the stance where the weight of the body is shifted to one leg which throws the shoulders and the hips into different angles. Almost all fashion figures are contrapposto. Draw a line halfway between the second segment, perpendicular to the angle of the neck for the shoulder. Draw another line at the center mark, perpendicular to the lower spine for the hips.

4. Torso. The body has two major solid sections with a soft spot in between, which you can see in action if you’ve ever watched a model walk in a runway video. The shoulders and the rib cage are one section, and the hip bones form the other. Draw simple trapezoidal shapes to represent each section, centered on the spine. Mark the navel on the spine around the fourth mark.  The line of the breasts is around the third mark. Make sure the breasts are parallel with the shoulders or they’ll look crazy. The other thing to remember is that each breast is equidistant from the spine.

5. Hands and Elbows. Decide what you want to do with the hands. I have one resting on the hip and one hanging down in a classic fashion pose. Starting with the hand first is the best trick I know for drawing a hand that looks like it is plausibly resting on a hip. Draw little shapes to stand in for the hands. Remember that the hands hang at about crotch level, at the center mark. Elbows hang at the fourth mark, aligned with the navel. For both arms, you can figure out where the elbow is by marking the radius of the elbow from the shoulder.

6. Arms, Legs and Feet. Since you know where the elbows fall, all you have to remember when you draw lines for the arms is that the forearm and the upper arm are the same length. For the legs, draw a line for each. Each leg has to be the same length so you’ll know where to put the feet. Remember to put a foot on either side of the center line – or if you’re brave, right on the center line like I did. If you put both feet on one side of the center line, she’ll look like she’s falling over. The knees are halfway between the ankles and the hips and just about parallel with the hips. At this point you should have a stick figure with even proportions – always double check. The major one is to make sure of is that the legs are as long or longer than the length of the torso and the head together. Forearms should equal upper arms, calf length is equal to thigh length, and so on.

7. Flesh and Face. Grab a second sheet of paper – you’re ready to flesh out your stick figure. This is easier with practice – you can draw oval shapes to represent the thighs and calves to help you out. Feel free to use photo or a mirror for reference when working out tricky bits like hands and feet. If something looks wrong, just keep drawing lines until one looks right. This is just the second draft – no one is going to see this one either, so don’t bother with erasing. Feel free to make changes and adjustments as you go – you can see I’ve changed one of the feet to a side view. To draft the face, draw a cross through the middle of your egg shape. The eyes are equidistant from the center, halfway between the top of the head and the bottom of the chin. The tip of the nose is halfway between the eyes and the chin, and the mouth is halfway between the nose and the chin.

8. Clothes and Hair. Now you’re ready to start dressing your figure and giving her hair. Use the center front line to help you with things like buttons and fly fronts. I’ve given her a very simple outfit that I would wear (though I don’t wear heels). If you’re putting a skirt on her, remember that the hem is parallel with the waist, or if the skirt sits on the hips, the hem will be parallel with the hips. Curve edges like cuffs, necklines and waistbands so they appear to be wrapping around the figure rather than resting on top of the figure.

9. Rendering. Grab one more sheet of paper, you’re finally ready to create the actual illustration! Out of the tangle of lines on your draft, just trace over the ones that you feel look right. In this case, I’ve just taken another sheet of layout paper and inked it in with various widths of Micron art pens – 0.1 for small details, 0.3 to define some of the edges, and an outline around the figure of 0.5. Less is more when it comes to inking, especially for details – a few quick, brief marks work better than lots of fussy, careful ones. If you’re using a thicker paper you’ll need a light box to help you trace your draft. You can use any materials you want to render the final – watercolours, pastels, markers – whatever you enjoy using. Because you’ve got a solid draft with good proportions, the final illustration should turn out fairly well no matter how you do it.

10. Colouring on Photoshop. (Top of the post!) If you inked it like I did, you can scan it into your computer at 300 dpi or higher. Open it in Photoshop and fiddle around with the levels or the contrast or whatever tools you prefer to create pure black lines on a white background. Clean the lines up up if you like – this is another chance to fix minor mistakes in inking. Then I add another layer on the multiply setting to colour it in. You can drop in textures if you have them, like I did for the denim. The dodge and burn tools are an easy way to create shading and highlights. There’s a million different ways to use Photoshop and you can always hit Ctrl+Z so just play around until you’re happy with the results.

There you go! You have illustrated a fashion figure. If you used this tutorial, I’d love to see what you came up with. Send me a note!

waking from the style blog dream

blogging,thinking — Danielle on April 24, 2012 at 6:25 pm

We’re four years into fashion blogging’s California Dream. In 2006, fashion blogging was obscure and virtually ignored. In 2008, the mainstream fashion media turned a handful of street style and personal style bloggers into stars. Brands jumped in on the hype and blog campaign budgets burgeoned. For a while now it’s seemed like even minor bloggers can score major partnerships and c/o has become common. Going pro began to seem like an easy route to fame and fortune and self-help sources set the standard. And standard was what we got.

Gold rush mentality is for imitators, not innovators. Thus, the current state of fashion blogging: a future archive of indistinguishable individuals wielding SLRs, and a rotation of affectations in lieu of the new. The division of attention is yielding diminishing returns for middle-of-the-packers – brands are bailing in favour of celebrities, the industry is losing enthusiasm for blog coverage, readers are disgruntled and comment culture has devolved.

Starting a fashion blog in 2006 was delusional because no one was doing it… launching a fashion blog in 2012 is even more delusional because everyone is doing it. If you’re in fashion, you should know which edge of the curve is worth entering. Which means that every fashion blogger with any sense is wondering what’s next for our medium.

Style blogging is not dead. Street style photography is as old as photography itself – it won’t die, and there will be successors to the current crop. The well-dressed girl with the mysterious power to sell us whatever is on her back is as old as time and as today’s it girls turn into women, tomorrow’s it girl personal style bloggers will replace them.

Extraordinary talents like Rumi Neely and Tommy Ton will always find an audience. In the past decade, what happened was that technology created a gap, briefly allowing more ordinary talents a taste of notoriety while the media establishment struggled with transition. Now, the tide is reversing; instead of blogger-turned-professional, we have entered the era of professional-turned-blogger. As established venues for their work disappear, experienced creatives are out of necessity, getting over their technophobia. They are in the perfect position to benefit from the rise of individualized media at the expense of a masthead. They bring their skills and reputations with them, significantly raising the top standard of work we see online.

The result is that the barriers to enter fashion, which were artificially low for the past five years are returning to their usual place – high. Amateurs aspirants who managed to slip in through the internet’s side door now have to rely on some combination of hard work, talent, connections, money, beauty, good timing and luck to stay inside fashion’s good graces. Just like everyone else.

 

click click – 20-04-12

click click — Danielle on April 20, 2012 at 1:57 pm

Welcome to click click, the sporadic review of what I find worth clicking on the internet.

Photographs of tailors at Henry Poole, 1944, courtesy of For Reference Only. Hat tip to Grumpy’s tumblr.

  • BRITTICISMS – a favourite tumblr feed, full of thoughtful personal vignettes and pop culture reflection. I’ve been listening and loving my way through her generous MIXICISMS music collection.
  • Crustypunks – portraits, personalities and philosophy from the marginal inhabitants of New York City’s Tompkins Square Park.
  • 142 Minutes with Cat Marnell – a rehab-bound beauty editor talks about the bond between product and addiction. Via this sensitive post on The Beheld.
  • Babes At The Museum – a blog full of pretty, culturally-minded girls at museums. Lovely and slightly squicky, though I can’t decide whether the squick factor is due to stalker-ish overtones or my own latent desire to be a museum babe. Also, why no boys on exhibit? Via Who Is Bobb Parris.
  • Chinese craze for English tattoos – I do adore all the lost-in-translation trends emerging out of the chaos of globalization.
  • Is Facebook Making Us Lonely – this is one of those must-read articles for every internet citizen. Considering how much of the web is a tangle of human neuroses is becoming an important part of understanding how to use this million-edged tool. Related, and even more unsettling: Malwebolence.

Karma for clickers -

  • Winkball – a little video of me talking about my scrubby Saturday outfit in Broadway Market. Watching myself on video is as excruciating as ever, maybe because this is way too accurately depicting the way I am.
  • Safra On Style - “I’m on the computer 10 hours a day, and I read fashion magazines for 6. I also write for magazines, and, oh, yeah, I’m a fashion editor of some sort.”
  • 22/8“love the way the flash of colour works against tailored wardrobe pieces in dark colours”
  • my style canvas“As long as I can remember I’ve loved to draw girls in great outfits–guys sometimes too.”

sponsored – ALDO Shoes – Stay Cool SS12

sponsorship — Danielle on April 18, 2012 at 10:32 am

Heartfelt thanks to ALDO for sponsoring this post on Final Fashion. If you like splashing, smashing, super-saturated summer shoes, the SS12 ALDO collection is for you. Enjoy!

drawing – an invocation of San Precario

drawing — Danielle on April 16, 2012 at 4:11 pm

One day in the office, we were chatting about the issues we face as the young and self-employed. I was just back from my trip to Rome and I joked that there should be a patron saint of freelancers… and a single google search later, we had one. San Precario‘s history is appropriately, a short-term one:

Since February 2004 San Precario, patron saint of precarious, casualised, sessional, intermittent, temporary, flexible, project, freelance and fractional workers, has appeared in various Italian cities. The saint appears in public spaces on occasions of rallies, marches, interventions, demonstrations, film festivals, fashion parades, and, being a saint, processions.

San Precario is also transgender, and it has appeared also as a female saint. A “cult” has spread rapidly and has led to the development of a distinct and colorful iconography, hagiography and rituals.

My version of San Precario goes out to all the freelance fashion females out there. May you always be invoicing, may your barista get your name right, may your WIFI be forever free, may your follower count ever increase, may your stilettos support your weight.

Now, I am not a religious person. Because my work is by its very nature, uncertain, I do try to get philosophically comfortable with uncertainty rather than turn to mythology to explain the unknowable. Still, I have found the rhetorical idea of San Precario to be a useful one. Part of pursuing a creative career requires a type of irrational faith that your efforts will be worthwhile, when almost always, there is no actual evidence to indicate that is so. An invocation of San Precario, even in jest, reminds me that I am not alone in a capricious world.

four more fashion queens

history,thinking — Danielle on April 13, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Since I posted about some of my favourite fashion queens, I’ve been alerted to a couple of outstanding omissions and discovered a couple new favourites. While not all of them are necessarily fashion-y, all of them have a keen sense of majesty and thrilling stories about how they used their power. Here they are.

Queen Nefertiti played a symbolic role in a religious revolution. Otherwise, very little is known of her life or death. Her bust, discovered in 1912, has become an indelible modern image of feminine majesty, just as her alleged torso evokes idealized fertility.

Eleanor of Aquitaine is remembered as an icon of courtly love, but her real life story (as I learned thanks to BBC’s She-Wolves) was much more interesting than fairy tales. As one of just a handful of fierce Medieval Queens who lived in an era where power had to be physically fought for, Eleanor’s role as a monarch was dependent on being the mother of an heir, and very precarious despite her considerable intelligence and ambition.

Queen Nzinga of the Ndongo, like Hatshupset, avoided the question of gender by crowning herself King. With a wily way of playing her opponents off of one another, she secured her kingdom in the turbulent era of early colonialism, playing an ambiguous, notorious role in history. The most famous Nzinga anecdote has her imperiously perching on a servant’s back when no chair was offered to her.

Empress Elisabeth of Austria is perhaps the most fashion-y queen of them all. Thanks to Lorna for properly introducing me to her! Brilliant, eccentric, and vain, “Sisi” remains forever beloved for her cult of beauty. Her hair took four hours a day to maintain, during which she would study, she had a very unusual diet and perhaps even an eating disorder, was dressed in exquisite House of Worth gowns, and when she aged she ceased allowing her image to be reproduced.

Are there any more amazing fashion queens out there? I love discovering more!

click click – 08-04-12

click click — Danielle on April 8, 2012 at 1:24 pm

Welcome to click click, the sporadic review of what I find worth clicking on the internet.

If you’re looking for vintage magazine clips, as I was for this post, the best place to go, as ever, is The Fashion Spot. Above is a 1994 Miu Miu ad by Ellen von Unwerth, below is a 1988 Christian Dior ad.

Karma for participants and players -

  • Factory 311 – one of the best Q&As I’ve ever filled out, touching on blogging trends, how I construct a click click post, and the unique concerns of fashion illustration.
  • angela demontigny“Edginess and elegance intertwine with cultural Chippewa-Cree-Metis elements.”

cinema karma – Beijing Punk

interviews,watching — Danielle on April 5, 2012 at 1:04 pm

A recent fascination of mine has been the spread of Western youth culture across the world. Subcultures that are considered totally past their best-by date, mundane and commodified to us are incredibly fresh and vivid in different contexts. It brings up a lot of ideas about how trends spread, evolve and adapt across geography and generations.

This line of inquiry brought me to Beijing Punk, a documentary by Shaun Jefford. When he noticed I posted the trailer to tumblr, he got in touch, hooked me up with a legit copy of the film and shared some of his own interesting insights on the punk scene in Beijing.

Beijing Punk is currently festival-hopping across the globe and will be released in North America soon. If you’re in Paris, you can see it at:

May 26 2012 at NOUVEAU LATINA 20, rue du Temple, 75004 Paris
Cocktail at 8pm, screening at 10pm, after party from midnight to the sunrise at Black Dog.
Organized by Hejorama and Panic! Cinema

It’s a candid, intimate portrait of a burgeoning scene. Jefford has a light touch – he allows the charismatic subjects tell their own story with affection and without judgement. Punk documentaries can often seem impenetrable for non-punks – not so with this one, I found it to be refreshing and engaging.

While I watched I scribbled down a few ideas and questions, and sent them over to Shaun. His reactions follow.

Most of the bands and the audience in D-22 are dressed in a very ordinary way. It doesn’t strike me as such a heavily fashion-driven scene the same way as it was in London in the 70s and 80s. Is this because “punk style” has already been co-opted and de-fanged by international pop culture? Or is it because signalling visual allegiance to punk has social and legal consequences, as it does in Indonesia?

It looks like bands like Demerit and Mi San Dao and are using style signalling successfully, however it seems like all of the imagery is imported wholesale from Western culture. I was hoping to at least see at least one Mao version of the classic God-Save-The-Queen t-shirt. While some of the lyrics are China-specific, did you ever notice any punkifications of Chinese or Communist iconography? If not, is it because it’s a shade too subversive?

It may seem like they are just normally dressed teens to our eye but compared to their peers, these Chinese kids are having a serious cock out rock out. Tame to our eye but in terms of local visual cues these guys are positively raging against the machine. In China the average “12 hour a day working stiff” does not look like the NYU – inner-city-anywhere-irony-is-alive- hipster-set and dressing like them is marking a clear line in the sand. In China dressing in any way differently is a huge statement in itself. They have little popular culture to rebel against ( as compared to the west ) but a vast political one.

I think it is fitting that their rebellion takes shape in western forms as they discover and appropriate the whole history of western musical rebellion ALL AT ONCE instead of sequentially, over time as we did. But it is also fitting that they will rebel in a CHINESE WAY – that is to say, low key, modest, staid and restrained. But believe me, to Chinese eyes these kids are just as offensive and iconoclastic as Johnny Rotten was.

It’s not to say that there is a dire danger for them doing this – its not like that. Not like the police will throw them in jail for wearing hipster clothes. Its more a social death – as Leijun, skin head center of Beijing Punk, from the band Misandao once put it to me: “Look at me! I’m a fucking monster! No one will hire me, no one will look at me. They want me to be invisible!” I think that is the handle right there. Dressing differently equals a social death, a little silence associated with your name. More attention from authorities, a mark as trouble to watch.

Many of the characters in my movie seem to love the iconography and style of punk, rebellion as fashion, but they seem fixated on the latter days, where drink and drugs and excess took over and the ideals were lost. We touched on the controversy of the music in China, I think more of this would have been interesting but I felt I was treading a fine line between letting the world know about this movement and alerting the authorities and getting everyone into trouble. Because of this I chose to present the movie as a comedy, so as to swing in under the radar a bit more – I could see the Chinese censors looking at my movie and wondering if I was making fun of them or not. In some cased the Chinese punks have fallen into the Topshop punk aesthetic and don’t really want to make a difference with their music. But more often than not, the people I chose to be in the film were intelligent street smart kids who had something to say and had found this crack in the wall to say it.

Also, beer is cheaper than water in Beijing. When I realized that I wondered if that’s to keep people drunk and oppressed and happy without giving them the ability to change what’s around them. Some of the characters from my movie have all fallen into that trap certainly.

A lot of the lyrics and philosophies of the subjects have this really sincere, enthusiastic quality that couldn’t contrast more with Western punk’s sarcasm and nihilism. At one of the concerts in the film, the band (Demerit I think?) is singing a chorus of “fight your apathy” and I was wondering, is this where the knock-off culture ends and China’s own unique spin on punk begins? Do you think that punk philosophy stands for something different in Beijing than it does in London?

People still don’t know China is capable of any kind or dissent or resistance within. My questions come from being a music geek and a deep believer in the power of punk as it originally was, from Stooges and Ramones through Clash and Black Flag.

What I found so startling in this journey though was that there is a point where the weight of all of this accrued punk history ends and the Chinese take on things begins. There is hope and a wish for change in the younger generation that has been ignited by the internet and is fueled by the revelation of years of careful planning by the Chinese government, to now step into the center stage and take up its position as a world power. There is hope there now where before there maybe was a feeling of isolation and a locked in fate. Now there is a hope for change. The balance of just how far the kids are allowed to stray out into the light until the hammer falls is yet to be seen.

But it is exciting to watch and I know its going to be a surprise, what ever happens in the scene.

The scene is such a sausage-fest! I only noticed a few female supporting characters and they were exceptional – and not very talkative. As someone in a gender-imbalanced scene myself, I’m cool with the idea that some stuff just appeals more to one sex than another. But I’ve always wondered with male-dominated scenes, do the guys ever remark that there’s hardly any girls around, or even wonder why?

Regarding sausage to foofy ratio in the scene the female members of the Chinese punk scene are exceptional in that it takes a certain kind of person to gravitate to toward this scene to begin with – it’s not exactly the safest career move in China to become a punk. Now if you also happen to be a woman then you have the weight of gender inequality against you as well. You are certainly stepping out of the established comfort zone for women in your culture. Then the fact that they are actually loud, proud and GOOD is remarkable.

The women in the scene that interested me were

  • Atom – the drummer from Hedgehog. (Above – Out of all the bands in the movie, I found Hedgehog’s music to be the most accessible, they have a fresh, universal pop sensibility. -D)  She has a few scenes in the movie. I really wanted to do more with Atom but the opportunities never presented themselves.
  • Bianbian – the fun / fiery vocalist from Candy Monster.
  • The girls from “Ourselves Beside Me”.

I never heard anyone comment on it but I did ask a lot about the women in the scene and they were regarded as just as hard core as the men and serious about the experience. Atom by far is the most well known and quite loved. Always at screenings of Beijing Punk I get asked what the news is with Atom and Hedgehog, I tell them all I know, which is that they are still out there, still making music.

Thanks so much Shaun for sharing your film and a fascinating conversation!

If you see Beijing Punk on a marquee near you, I wholeheartedly recommend checking it out.

the indefinable decades

thinking — Danielle on April 3, 2012 at 8:00 pm

The origins of my interest in fashion were survey texts I found in the library of the small town I grew up in. Most fashion history books tend to be organized one decade per chapter, simplifying the chaos of costume history into clearly demarcated digits. Often they include cute little charts on silhouettes and hemlines like the one above. I loved the neat little rows of figures, and without a doubt that deep, early impression formed the format I would adopt as an illustrator.

As I discovered fashion at the end of the 1980s as an eight year old, the tidy division of decades was beginning to break down. The sharp-shouldered silhouette dissolved in the 1990s. I remember looking forward to the end of the century so I could see the 20th century laid out in a row of 10 clearly defined figures, but of course by the time that happened, I was old enough to realize that the 1990s didn’t fit the formula. There was no single silhouette that somehow contained the essence of the decade.

Having exhausted the survey-texts of my hometown library, in 2001 I started fashion school and began systematically working my way through the fashion, textile, sewing, art, design, illustration and photography sections of the library, as well as the periodical archives. I got my tuition’s worth out of those stacks. As I did this, fashion’s patterns began to get more and more complex.

Still, there’s something satisfying, if superficial, about summing up a decade’s definition. Silhouettes have stopped standing in for decades and now signify more abstract concepts. This post is about how I think of the last four decades, and the character of the designers that emerged in each one.

The louche 1970s silhouette of bell bottoms and blowouts does seem to suit a decade of deconstruction. There was a great relaxation of sexual signifiers – men and women both grew their hair long, abandoned structured clothing and embraced colour and pattern. Casual came of age. The last modern western youth culture drummed the postmodern death knell with punk. Exhausting modern street style, designers and rock star trendsetters alike turned to importing inspiration from the past and abroad. The frenzy of appropriation increased the momentum of the homogenization of international fashion culture.

In contrast, the designers who wove their labels in this decade are autobiographical auteurs. Giorgio Armani, Diane von Furstenberg, Betsey Johnson, Calvin Klein, Jean Paul Gaultier… and at the end of the decade, Gianni Versace.

The 1980s was the last decade that did have a stereotypical silhouette – sharp-shouldered supermen and women. It was the last time media was still monolithic enough to brand a decade with a catchphrase. There is an essential straight-forwardness  to the 1980s that we will never recapture. Rich people looked like rich people, and that’s what fashion was for. Fashion was still a small scene and mysterious at the beginning of the decade. It parlayed that glamour into the big business fashion has become.

By the end, it was celebrified, corporate, and at the peak of its power. Supermodels. Branding, a pretty straight-forward way to commoditize. Money was cheap. The many designers that established their businesses in this decade became rich and powerful and continue to dominate decades later, with huge companies. Heavy hitters from the class include Marc Jacobs, Donna Karan, Miuccia Prada, Yohji Yamamoto, Dolce & Gabbana, Vivienne Westwood, John Galliano, and Michael Kors.

The 1990s, the decade that defies easy visualization, was fashion’s intellectual phase. It evolved from a straightforward business into something much more complex and self-aware. For the first time it was the subject of rigorous critical and academic attention, and schools became very important and influential. Thus, the dialogue between designers and media became much more sophisticated. Braindead branding was abandoned and designers began to challenge the boundaries of fashion using narrative and spectacle.

Just as the television monolith exploded into a multi-channel universe, so did fashion. The demand for increasing theatre and provocation sped up. Youth cultures were practically stillborn before they were absorbed, and the world was plundered for every available aesthetic. That’s why there’s no unifying symbol for the decade.

In retrospect, the brainy 1990s was an amazing decade for fashion and produced many diverse, compelling creators. They have not yet been able to build the massive empires of their predecessors, though. Alumni include Alexander McQueen, Hussein Chalayan, Anna Sui, Isabel Marant, Jeremy Scott, Viktor & Rolf, Roland Mouret, Rick Owens, and Junya Watanabe.

The 2000s was a difficult decade to enter fashion. The success and storytelling of the last two decade’s designers inspired a lot of us to apply to fashion school. At the same time, like every industry, fashion was facing the challenges of a media transition and the consequences of an increasingly complicated world. Again, there is no way to nail down a single silhouette to tie the aughties into a neat knot.

Money has become much more expensive, just as media has become cheaper. Fashion has become more about media than the other way around. The scarcity of resources, and the division of attention has produced a very harsh environment for new names on labels. Perhaps it’s no surprise that designers of this decade now often turn to uncontroversial, technique-based design or celebrity dressing. Fashion seems like it has become more muted, or maybe we’ve all just become jaded from too much visual stimulation.

It’s hard to tell which designers from this decade will be able to establish long-term careers. My bets are on Alexander Wang, Proenza Schouler, Christopher Kane, J.W. Anderson, Gareth Pugh, and Zac Posen.

Who knows what’s in store for the 2010s? We live in interesting times. The only thing that’s certain is that I can’t draw an outline around fashion anymore.

wordpress | barecity | final fashion | © Danielle Meder