I want to make clothes that people will wear, not styles that will make a big splash on the runway. —Oscar de la Renta
New York Fashion Week is behind us. You can read all our reviews (28 of ’em) on Pattern. We’re off now to look at things on the London runway for the next five days (they have really short weeks there, apparently). With all the changes we saw in New York, it will be interesting to see if any of the trends jump across the pond and take hold. One thing for certain is that London fashion tends to be a couple of steps ahead of New York. So, it will be interesting to see what happens.
One of the big trends we saw in New York was the presence of exposed bras through a number of the labels. This struck me as interesting given the self-censoring nature of American designers. While such risky elements are not exactly new, they are rare because the nature of US cities is to discourage anything that might be deemed too sexual. Sure, a designer might send one or two looks down the runway, but they do so knowing that no one would actually wear them.
Until this season, that is. Almost from the beginning, designers we normally consider fairly mainstream decided that you need to be a little more adventurous in what you wear. Yes, we saw many more exposed bras. Victoria Beckham even designed her entire collection around the concept of the bra. By the end of the week, I wouldn’t have been surprised to see someone completely nude on the runway. Styles this season have been much more daring.
Blame Social Media
We know that photo sharing sights such as Instagram play a huge role in contemporary fashion. So dramatic is the impact, in fact, that many labels have had to change their marketing strategies around such apps in order to remain relevant with their target audience, which is typically the under-35 crowd we refer to ask Millennials. What has happened, though, is that photographs aren’t the only thing being shared on those sites. More and more, people are sharing intimate portraits of themselves. Things we once kept quiet and hidden are now out in the open.
When we can see into the bedrooms and closets of every 20-something with a cell phone, our sense of what is publicly acceptable begins to change. If we see thousands of pictures of women in their underwear, we begin to think of that state of dress as more normal. We’re not surprised. We’re not shocked. We generally don’t think it the least bit unusual—as long as it stays on the Internet.
Increasingly, though, we’re starting to see more runway fashion move directly to the street. Why? Street style blogging has become huge. Don’t believe me? Just Google street style. I’d offer to wait, but you’re likely to get lost in the millions of sites dedicated to nothing more than what people are wearing on the street. Street style has become such a major component of fashion, that one might consider the sidewalk the new runway. The challenge, as always, is being different enough to stand out. As a result, we’re seeing styles and fashions we would never have expected out in public.
Does It Play In The Midwest
Street style is not yet as big a deal in the Midwest as it is on the coasts and major European fashion centers. Not yet. Give it a moment and I’m sure what people are wearing in Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Chicago, and St. Louis will become increasingly popular. We like looking at ourselves. More importantly, we like knowing that other people are looking at us, even though we’re too polite to admit such vanity.
This has led me to question whether or not society in the Midwest is ready for the soul-baring and flesh-baring styles that we’ve seen on the runway this season. More than a few times I’ve questioned whether one might get arrested for actually wearing these looks out in public. After doing some checking, it turns out that, in most places, you can actually get away with wearing sheer and otherwise revealing styles. However, that doesn’t mean one won’t be detained by police for a while, or harassed inappropriately on the streets.
I’m totally in favor of people being able to wear whatever they want to wear. Clothing is a form of self-expression. We say a lot about who we are and how we feel when we choose a particular style of clothing. Even the colors we wear says something about us. So, we’re of the opinion that clothing choices, including sheer styles, are protected in the United States under the First Amendment. That doesn’t mean, however, that the clothes are safe to wear.
Would You Wear It On A Dare
We raised this issue a couple of days ago. I’m saddened, though not particularly surprised, that I’ve not gotten a response to that article. So, I’m taking it a step further today. We’ve assembled 30 looks from this most recent NYFW into the slide show below. We want your response and comments on the issue.
Here’s how it works. Each photo is labeled with the name of the designer and a number. If the look is something you would wear, in public, that means out on the street, not hiding in a nightclub somewhere, we want to know. If you wouldn’t wear any of the looks, we want to know that as well. This is one of the rare instances where I actually do care about your opinions so take advantage of it.
Leave your comments for us on Facebook. We tried enabling comments for just this post and that didn’t work too well, especially for those viewing us on a mobile device. You can do Facebook, though. All we ask is that your comments are polite and respectful. Anything we consider inappropriate will be deleted without warning.
Here are the pictures. Comment on Facebook. The more people who are willing to comment, the better. Thank you for participating nicely.