Fashion Shows Amid the Pandemic: Creative Escapism
Fashion shows and seasonal collections exist at the heart of the traditional fashion model. They initially showcased designs that consumers would then order. This model has changed in response to the force that I have mentioned quite a few times throughout this short blog series: excessive consumerism. A new category of big fashion brands has grown in the past few decades. They exist as vessels on which trends are delivered to the public in the form of relatively inexpensive clothes of questionable quality. Zara, H&M, Forever 21 and the like exist in this realm. With the arrival of fast fashion brands came the availability of knock off runway looks at a fraction of the price, months before the real versions were available. This has impacted the way some luxury brands operate. Now, instead of ordering a garment that caught your eye on the runway, catalogue, or lookbook, copies of the looks are readily available for purchase when they are first displayed. This model is referred to as the “see now, buy now” model. Though many fast fashion brands have been pledging oaths to move their production in sustainable directions (like Zara and H&M), their existence has changed the way fashion operates, so it is important to bring them up. Zara has been managing about 20 clothing collections per year and H&M puts out about sixteen. This may seem appropriate considering the massive consumer base, but it is in stark contrast to other brands like Reese Cooper Inc who release a select few carefully designed collections in a year. This excessive production creates waste and causes toxic consumer-product relationships!
Now, I know this constant talk about sustainability can become disheartening, so while we’re on the subject of fashion shows and seasonal collections, I thought I should lighten the mood and write about some of my favorites from the past few months! I specifically want to talk about a few shows that had awesome responses to the difficult circumstances induced by the COVID-19 pandemic. In a time where the world is collectively experiencing so much pain, these designers created shows that provide us with some welcomed distraction, and a reminder that there is still beauty out there.
Reese Cooper, an emerging 22- year old streetwear designer, has quickly become one of my favorites! I would like to devote a whole post to his brand and story, so for now let’s just look at his Spring/Summer 2021 Collection: A River Runs Through. I’m drawn to the incorporation of nature into Reese Cooper’s designs and the very literal translation of that onto the runway. While RCI is a responsible brand, the dynamic of nature mixing with an industry that poses such a threat to it is striking.
I’m drawn to the incorporation of nature into Reese Cooper’s designs and the very literal translation of that onto the runway. The dynamic between nature and a sustainable version of an industry that typically poses such a threat to it is striking. Also, how is he showing with Paris Fashion Week at the age of 22?!
Next we have Moschino, who showed their Spring/Summer Collection via a marionette show at Milan Fashion Week. Creative director, Jeremy Scott, put so much detail into this show, creating a whole other, smaller, world that is free from the constraints of COVID-19. I love this show!
Lastly, I would like to discuss Caroline Herrera’s Summer 2021 Collection, designed by creative director Wes Gordon. Similarly to Reese Cooper and Moschino, this virtual show offers a bit of an escape, and was designed to bring some joy and hope to people in trying circumstances. I think that the dramatic architecture of the building and its reflection in Gordon’s designs, alongside the lighting, music, and camera angles successfully transports the viewer to a calmer place. I am especially drawn to this collection because of the interesting structural components of the designs that work with very feminine tailoring. The volume, textures, and characteristic silhouettes of Caroline Herrera designs were displayed so well here.
The creative distractions that these designers provide for us are a reminder of the vital role that fashion, and art in general, play in society. A reality without the expression, creativity, inspiration, and beauty that fashion instills in our lives is bleak and depressing. With this in mind, we need to find ways to preserve fashion and its traditions while moving in a responsible direction.