For many, fashion offers a means of escape. However, individuals are simultaneously attempting to grasp and understand what it is that they actually want from fashion, and where exactly they want to escape. Very few can, with total confidence, state what that escape is – they need a medium that is dynamic, constantly changing, and unexpected in order to fulfil that need of escape that is yet unknown. The fashion industry offers that ambiguity so necessary to understanding oneself. People are using the industry's characteristic frenzy of improving and progressing, so often seen in brands, as a way to continuously re-examine themselves and their view on what is of value and what can bring happiness.
Some brands, however, have decided to go against this frenzy and seemingly stand still, from the point of view of creativity and innovation. These brands are sticking to their original logos, their staple pieces, their designs, and the motto that comes along with it, in order to address a certain gap in the market. Brands such as these have a determined and resolute vision and ideology, and amidst the need for change and innovation, they rather remarkably manage to stay afloat in an otherwise shifting fashion world. Their established forms and structures have the advantage of standing the test of time. Being constantly engrossed in perpetual chaos, society needs a contrasting form of firmness and reliability to even out the balance.
And yet, that is not to say that these brands are completely static when it comes to innovation; inside them lie entire traditions of emerging and changing features, discretely hidden by the qualities that they have developing since their debut. They are not revolting against change or trend-setting, they are simply fighting a different battle in the industry. Such brands are altering their collections in direct union with their ideologies – the established core mechanisms and stylistic features always contribute to the shape of the collection's aesthetic.
An example of a brand championing permanence is A.P.C. (Atelier de Production et de Création). A.P.C.'s ideology is that clothing should never surpass the wearer, and that, essentially, less is more. The company produces clothes that are soft-pedalled and key to essential dress. A constancy such as this is necessary and refreshing. Jean Touitou, the label's founder, has stated that "I think A.P.C. is some sort of unique case, the utopia of a brand being able to be in business while not giving up its principles." Thirty years after being founded, A.P.C. has multiple stores online and makes millions in profit, increasing substantially every year. Touitou has faith in quality and the irreplaceable excellence of wardrobe staples and minimalist clothing. A.P.C. has vastly different goals to other brands: simple and basic designs at a luxury price point. Nonetheless, its success is undeniable, even when resisting change in fashion.
Another brand that shows such dedication to its fundamentals is the mega department store, UNIQLO, designing "LifeWear: building blocks for personal style." Japan's biggest fashion retailer has filled the gap in the market for the dependable basics for great value. With around 2,000 stores worldwide, the company creates “life-enhancing apparel” that has been “embraced and loved by all.” Their strategy is to keep to the essentials necessary to each season, and at times introducing or revamping materials used to create the item, some being “HEATTECH” and “AIRism.”
UNIQLO's Lifewear campaign, shot by Jonas Lindstroem
Brands like A.P.C. and UNIQLO show that, sometimes, non-complicated attire can succeed in a market as fast-paced and dynamic as fashion. They make garments for the everyday; they do not humour indeterminate trends or make low-cost alternatives for styles that are unconventional. Although such brands may not shy away from collaborating with other in order to strengthen their position in the market, they never lose sight of their tradition and background.
Words: Marianna Mukhametzyanova
Copy edited by Elena Stanciu