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May 27, 2021

Here’s how to Strut Down Life’s Catwalk.

The traditional fashion world has been built around the seasons.

Each fashion capital declares its Fashion Week firmly in the calendar in a sequence that has barely changed for decades.

Paris Women’s Week before Milan? “Never dahling!” It would be like eating your dessert before the appetisers.

The fashion flock follows the calendar—models, press, influencers, street style stars, A-list celebrities, make-up artists, and stage designers. This glittering diary of globe-trotting catwalk events, each premiering the coming season’s collections breeds excitement.

These past 12 months, there has been a stark difference in the industry. The shows have almost all been digital with no physical audience in attendance with no jostling for that prestigious front row seat of the catwalk action. Brands such as Gucci have also reduced the number of collections they produced, now aiming for more season-less clothes in its recognition of the need for fashion to slow down its frenetic pace and its associated baggage of overconsumption.

It’s going to take more than a few brands to adopt this ethos to bring the change fashion requires but a noble stance against a machine that thrives on change and the constant quest for new.

Fashion by its definition doesn’t stand still. Where some of us may not desire to wear the fanciful designs displayed, the theatre and spectacle of it all are still admired. Just as music is an art and an expression, so too is fashion—and the world would be a duller place without it.

I’ve been digging into some old areas of my work recently, partly due to a bit of an office tidy and also whilst researching a talk I’m putting together—add that to my BBC radio fashion chats—the circles being played out in my mind kept bringing me back to the magic of the feelings clothes can evoke within us.

Whether brand new clothes lure us toward a purchase, our own wardrobes brimming with possibilities—or not, depending on how we feel, or that dreamy part of us that imagines scenarios where we might wear a special jacket, it is ultimately all about the interaction the clothes have with us, the wearer.

Clothes come alive with the spirit of the person wearing them. Two people can wear the exact same items of clothing, yet they can look (and feel) completely different. We can repeat the same outfit, sometimes only days apart, but not feel the same about it—such is the complex nature of our emotions and energy.

With each outfit choice, we express different facets of our personality. They offer us the opportunity to convey an element of ourselves—a mirror to our values. They provide the opportunity to display; serenity, joy, playfulness, comfort, carefree, relaxed, or sustainable messages.

Some clothes are seductive. Their lure and magnetism impossible to resist. Where we have to catch ourselves and inquire more is, where do these emotions arise from? From brand marketing that has co-coerced us into these emotions? Or, from a genuine appreciation and desire to wear what an item of clothing says to us, our inner dialogue? Clothes are part of the theatre of life—each day our own stage or catwalk—even if just to dance, plod, float, or stroll around our homes.

They also offer the opportunity to discover ourselves. The choices we make have consequences on people and the planet far beyond where you are sat reading this article.

These words were tucked inside my portfolio of art school fashion sketches.

A garment on a hanger seeks its soul.

Clearly kept for a reason, but unseen for decades. I read them and felt that tingle of excitement and possibility, which as a designer, is all part of creating new.

At the time in my life when I kept the paper cutting, the context was about designing something irresistible to the imaginary wearer. New, new, new.

I’ve learned through the years that the magic truly is the connection between the two. The garment and the person wearing it; it is about how it makes you feel, and much less so, about something having a dopamine hit of new.

When we are aligned with what we are wearing our personal energy levels change, our style halo glows, and life becomes our own calendar of personal catwalk events. May we strut our own style story to the rhythm of our own tune, mindfully of course, in season-less clothing.

 

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