I was at a launch at a gallery in Primrose Hill in north London recently that was infested with young trendy types in their 20s and early 30s when the conversation turned to fashion.
Surprisingly, the thrust of their chat turned to jealousy of the older generation, who they said were lucky enough to live through style movements driven by music and fashion, be they punks, mods, hippies, with the last identifiable movement being the rave generation.
These days, they said, there is just a maelstrom of trends rather than defining looks that develop into something more meaningful.
They have a point. Blame it on fast fashion, but there is too much pressure for newness all the time. It simply isn’t appropriate to demand a completely new look every season at some levels of the market.
If you look at the contemporary and classic menswear sector, then you can see how important it is to let looks mature. It is better to allow a look to develop over several seasons, particularly in suiting where people want value from a purchase. Take the slim silhouette – it’s been around for several seasons and is still relevant. Newness comes from tweaks in fabrication, colours and details, not wholesale overhauls.
I’m not saying we don’t need fresh looks, but it should be evolution not revolution. The media is sometimes disappointed if there is no new look to report, but commercially the last thing we need is designers feeling under pressure to create completely new looks just for the sake of it. And now we are getting on to the question of just what fashion is. Let’s leave that for another time.