One of my favorite things to do is visit stores where I can't really afford stuff and obsess over my favorite designers. I try to only buy investment pieces now, which means I spend more, but also, (ideally) less often. The idea of the investment piece to me used to be a super statement piece, usually runway -- because most of my investment pieces are runway Comme des Garcons, haha. Investment pieces don't have to be expensive, just high quality, something you know you would wear for years to come, something that hopefully means something to you, made with quality craftsmanship. This eliminates most fast fashion but also, if you think about it some high end products too. I mean, just because it's expensive doesn't mean it's good.
|JW. Anderson Min Skirt, $665. Proenza Schouler Leather Woven Skirt, $648.|
There is an inevitable markup for it being a label of repute, but putting that aside, it just might not be made well enough if you look at the stitching, it might not have lining (or be lined properly), it might not fit just so, the fabric might be totally average (why the hell would you spend hundreds on a 100% polyester dress, I truly do not know). I think there is a lot of value in actually going into a store and looking at clothes before you plonk money down. It's not always possible, but it's important. Physical interaction with clothes is the only reason I bother going to events anymore. I don't care about your DJ. I don't care about your catering (unless it's yummy and open bar, let's be real ok), if you're trying to get me out of my hermit cave you better present something worth the trip. Seeing friends is awesome and luckily part of the job since so many of them work in fashion for a living, but I want to be impressed and inspired by the clothes in the industry -- because people revolve in and out of their jobs in New York like musical chairs, but the clothes will stay for years.
|Ann D. is a fashion saint when it comes to her method to design which is why I'm including her. You should read the quote that goes with this image here.|
It gets muddled with diffusion, with knockoffs, etc -- though it's clear those are parts of the system as a whole now too of course -- and the quality is lost for easy profit margins the farther down the line it goes. But when you see the original, pure end result of a small label's work, it's something I can't help but appreciate and be in awe of. Because yeah, J.W Anderson and Proenza Schouler might be now international fashion names but they still have a very small workforce. Actually, Anderson and his small team (I think maybe 11 others work with/for him?) produce every piece. The name might be big but the workforce is small, and it took so much to get here. And it takes very little to reproduce the material idea and the profits are disgusting, and sometimes the knockoffs are weirdly good, but you know, I'm a romantic and I want the real thing, I want a connection and I want to pay my respect to all of the people. All of the people, not just the famous designer name but their workers, and the factory workers they get their source materials from that often have shitty working conditions. Paying it forward helps sustain so many relationships that are the backbone of practices that make every beautiful piece of clothing we see on the runway, and those practices are dying out or being bought up by LVMH etc in an effort to survive.
Sustainability is a difficult practice to get down even theoretically and as such we don't discuss it a lot in fashion, we're more focused on immediacy and we're suffering for it. I think Karl Lagerfeld is leading the pack in terms of keeping small, high quality fashion manufacturers alive actually, and that is because LVMH gives him free reign and essentially endless spending money. But the details of that deal are pretty vague to me, and I wonder if the places they save are working exclusively for LVMH now or are able to work with small independent designers., ones in the margin. I think if we're going to discuss sustainability we need to find responsibility within ourselves to contribute to that and not expect big corporations to buy up small ones to have them survive. Personal relationships as a consumer seem to be diminishing, and it's a little scary, you know? Because fashion as an industry based on hierarchies means that somebody somewhere is getting screwed over really badly and I want people to care. At the root of it all, my interest in fashion is a feminist one.
Jesus. I didn't expect to write that much. I mean, I think about this stuff all the time but I never really write about it, outfit posts are """""easier"""". But, I don't like being seen as purely a personal style blogger because what I'm really interested and what got me interested in blogging was actual FASHION. Blogging weekly about "look at the cool stuff I'm wearing" is not fashion so much as a personal statement of brand and identity. That's good and all but it's not as interesting to me. I pretty much stopped caring about what I wear anyway because everything I own is nice and goes together because I have a method and it leaves me room to think about stuff I care about. And I care deeply about fashion as a system, as a process to study, as something with theory behind it. So I'm gonna write a lot about actual FASHION because I think if people know more about it as a system that participates in capitalism they will maybe think more critically about what it means on a personal level. By that, I mean as in how its related to personal style blogging, and how that relates to their purchasing power, and the visibility of people in consumer culture, and how that is linked to systems of oppression, and maybe that will bring some change.
This is my version of activism, this is what I have knowledge of and what I know I can provide, and this is something I don't see talked about much in the fashion blogosphere by "popular" fashion bloggers which I guess I am considered a member of. But I want to talk about things that matter in any way that I can. And well, I guess this is how. I hope you actually ended up reading this whole thing and wanna talk about it with me too.