I’ve been thinking a lot about trends recently. Honestly, I’ve been thinking about them a lot—for a very long time. Quite some time ago, I read a plaque in a National Park about ecological succession that changed the way I looked at trends forever (more on this next Tuesday).
You see, ecological (or biological) succession is the process by which a community (or a business) slowly evolves over time. The opposite of trend.
And then, on the cover of the newest T Magazine’s Spring Women’s Fashion 2015—which was issued this past Sunday—there is a title that reads, “& the Post-Trend World of Fashion.”
On page 96, Deborah Needleman’s Editor’s Letter is titled, “The End of Trend.” She writes, “We live in what appears to be a post-trend fashion world — with no clear guidelines for our sartorial choices and an endless array of options. New shows and collections seem to be springing up constantly throughout the year, consumed hungrily and instantaneously around the world on a variety of platforms before the editors have even filed out the doors. So inundated are we with images that we’d be bored to tears with any single trend by the time it hit stores.”
She continues: “The solution is to rely on our own instincts, which is something that many of the women featured in this issue — musicians, writers, artists, Bjork! — have in common: an ability to filter myriad influences to create an unmistakable personal voice.”
“…an ability to filter myriad influences to create an unmistakable personal voice.”
The choice of style over trend.
The choice of your own voice over the voice of an authority.
The voice of the individual.
And so my thoughts on succession and how a collection—a style—should grow slowly over time emerge again.
Deborah Needham’s piece is followed on page 105 by (idol and fashion badass) Cathy Horyn’s story on titled, “The Post-Trend Universe.”
I love this last part of her piece:
“Although the term ‘trendy’ suggests speed and thoughtless consumption, the heyday of trends occurred, paradoxically, in eras when people had time to absorb change. A hemline remained in place for years, whereas today every length is on offer. In a funny way, I think we’re moving toward a more relaxed attitude about many things, if only out of necessity. We tune out the haters and the screechy TV dress pundits, and we tune out clothes that seem punishing or artificial to us. That said, we are more tolerant than ever before of the girl whose outfit and manner is intentionally gawky or who, in her wildest dreams, wants to look like an exploding Comme des Garçons flower or maybe a disciple of Gareth Pugh, with jacket sleeves falling in long streamers.
If anything, we probably need more individual expressions of style, even if they are a minimalist whisper. A couple of years ago, Simons created an eclectic Dior collection around the notion of freedom, with styles loosely inspired by a variety of global influences. You may ask: Aren’t we already free to pick and choose? But Simons was really addressing fashion insiders. Because, while we may live in a post-trend universe, there is still consensus among editors and buyers about what is cool or chic in a given season. In a way, insiders cling to the notion of clearly defined themes more than anyone else; that’s why you see the same styles repeated in stores. Simons was simply arguing for more open-mindedness, more oddball gems in the mix.
So I celebrate the trendlessness of fashion even as my head reels from all the choices and I sometimes feel a stranger among the competing style tribes, a latter-day Margaret Mead sizing up a flock of hippie suede or some Bardot-flirty gingham.”
The issue is a great read; and although it contains a few trends, I’ve decided to look at the individual pieces and concentrate on the post-trend fashion world.
P.S.: Will trends and pop culture continue to exist in a Long Tail world?