This morning I wanted to clench my fist and scream YES, YES, YES! While reading an article by Nick Axelrod and Venessa Lau, in WWD, called Who Wears the Clothes?
At last! An article about how fashion needs to “give up the fantasy and grow up into reality.” At last! I never thought, growing up in Syracuse, NY, that I would know who Oscar de la Renta was or Roberto Cavalli or Donna Karen or Michael Kors, Marc Jacobs, and many others who are in the magazines and newspapers each day. Growing up I only knew DEB, JC Penny. H&M didn’t even come into my hometown until I was in college.
And yet you don’t have to be born with it, for “it” to creep up on you. As I have reached my adulthood “fashion” has seeped into my veins and as Advertising boosts to all media formats, I realized the amount of knowledge I have gained on fashion, the names, people, the history, and I didn't go to fashion school. I especially notice it when I pack my bag for Thanksgiving in Syracuse, NY and purposely try to bring items that are NOT as fashionable. I don't even own a black turtle neck anymore!
Going home always reminds me of how I was fine and dandy not even knowing these labels growing up. I appreciate fashion as an art, a craft, but because I didn't have it when I was younger, and found passions (running, art, writing) beyond it, I don’t obsess or cry if I don’t have this seasons shit. Also my mother wasn't a fashion freak, so perhaps that is why I do enjoy fashion, fashion magazines, clothing, shoes, but I know these items are items, not something that should define a person.
Yet I will admit, when my fiancée presented me with my first pair of Prada sandals this past summer, I couldn’t believe it. OMG! OMG! OMG! And jumping into his arms.
Despite the excitement, the obsession of fashion in our nation has made women emotional upset and mad. The fantasy has become too much of a so-called reality in the minds of designers. They have this unrealistic mindset of what is real and sellable.
But this is not new news to me, I have always felt this, fashion should be what the word suggests, something wearable. Something to cover our naked bodies. Something that makes us feel attractive, something that WE like, and that it should be designed for PEOPLE, for the customer, NOT just an ego or fantasy. It doesn’t take a Brain Surgeon, to figure this out. Why does designing for American women have this “boring sound” to it, like the words average, normal, and “for all sizes” sting the sewing machines. The reason is because the image of the clothing, the ad, the appeal is bitchy, rude, FU! And with it comes this thing we as people have created called Prestige. The "I am better than you because I am wearing this shit persona."
And also, since I mainly advocate on modeling currently let's go there too: the model in the ad today, is not related to the customer. (Grab all those fashion magazines and take a look, it might be pretty, well crafted, pretty makeup, styling, but does it make you want to buy the clothing, or just frame the image?)
I don’t think the customer would mind if the girl modeling the clothing, shoes, jewelry, were someone she could better relate to?
Models were not always 6 feet tall. Look at the 60’s, 50’s. The models were more realistic to the customer. Why this changed is a mistake in my mind.
I liked the chart in the article that showed an illustration of the heights of the customers of designers these days. Yet it isn’t like women’s bodies have changed THAT much, I mean why were designers always designing for the “actual bodies” of the customers always? Let’s talk about Queens and Princesses, they first led fashion and not all of them were itty bitty small…or tall.
I am not tall, I am petite, and although I am fit and have a trim body it is HELL sometimes shopping. Pants too long, and going to the tailor time and time again is a true pain in the ass, most of the time. I am always hunting for “SHORT” sized pants. Usually they are gone.
Basically I think the article was important in not just Fashion Terms but for how the change and realistic mindset of designers will begin to affect the rest of the retail industry and the psychology of it’s customers. Let’s just simply start with Height.
The Average American Women is:
5’3” or 5’4”
That alone should inspire some changes.
Let’s just face the facts. The customer can handle seeing how the garment would look on someone her size.
So not only will designers sell more, but also the customer will feel welcome no matter her height or size.
Thank you for this article, it is long past due! :)