Fashion trends have always been a projection of group thinking and indicative of a mood of a certain time - the hippie attitude pervasive throughout the Seventies, seen in the bright and colourful patterns, textures and colours; the strictness of the post-war years, evident through simple, functional clothing. For this reason, trends are a powerful tool, not only in projecting the mindset of the times, but also in their ability to initiate social and cultural changes that go far beyond the realms of just fashion.
Part of this relates to taboo topics, in the way that fashion and the latest trends are able to open them up for discussion while also finding ways to make them appeal to the masses. In exploring such topics, designers, editors and - more recently - bloggers too, have the power to address issues we have learnt not to discuss and, in turn, make them relevant.
One such example is genitalia. We all have the necessary and relevant body parts ‘down there’ and yet, it has long been held as a taboo topic. People tend not to talk about it and it is seen as indecent, almost rude to do so anyways. But with male genitalia peeking out everywhere on Rick Owen’s FW’15 collection (literally), pelvises and ovaries printed on Rachel Antonoff’s sweaters and Gareth Pugh sending a topless gown (look 38 from his AW’15 collection) down the runway, fashion is well on its way to getting the parts of the body that must-not-be-named out in the open and talked about.
Sometimes fashion wants to change our mind, sometimes it wants to inspire and sometimes fashion just wants to be fashion. Will we wear Givenchy’s FW’15 face jewellery out and about? Probably not. Will we want to? Probably so. Fashion is as much about fantasy as it is about reality. It is about bringing forth a mindset, a way of thinking, and breaking down taboos (I mean, would you employ someone with all those Givenchy piercings? Really?) and changing the way that we think, reshaping the mood of our time. Of course we’re not about to start cutting holes in the crotch of all our clothes, a la Rick Owens, but we may take on that carefree, exhibitionist, I’m-not-ashamed-of-who-I-am mindset, dismiss convention, and carry it forth in our lives.
Rodarte’s SS’15 mermaids with their pierced eyebrows were far from Ready-To-Wear fashion, but the collection gave us something to work with - a certain vibe, a certain mood that will inevitably translate not just into what we are wearing, but how we are acting and feeling this summer. So next time you’re reviewing a collection and dismissing a seemingly ridiculous trend as being just another passing fad, think not about whether you would wear the items but whether you would wear the idea behind them.
Words: Raphaela Ring
Image Source: Look 38 AW'15 Gareth Pugh collection