As a fashion stylist, being invited to view the collections of different brands is a part of my work. Every season we look at the new collections to see what is going to be trending the next season.
Recently I went to a press event that showcased mixed brands. As I looked through the collections from different designers, I caught myself quickly falling into a numbing mode.
Fashion trends tend to repeat themselves, with each brand having their own distinctive flair, where details are added in or taken away each season to mimic change.
Yet the truth is, fashion is never truly new because the energy that fashion is created in has never changed.
We have devoted so much time, effort, hard work, money and labour, we have abused a lot of lives and nature to endlessly produce fashion, which takes us nowhere but around and around in circles.
As human beings we have not really improved, become more intelligent, beautiful or successful with fashion. We have not evolved one single bit.
The quality that clothes are designed, manufactured and worn in determines the quality of how fashion is. Fashion can be created for individualisation and competition, which is how clothing is mainly created presently in the world, and yet fashion can also be made with the intention that it is for all of us.
We all wear clothes every day, even a newborn baby is swaddled moments after it is born. But what is really going on if we are not aware of the energy of clothing, nor how we may be led by it all our lives?
On this day, as I went through the many different racks of clothing, I decided not to use my eyes to register their value, but instead connected with my heart and felt the quality in which they had been made and were then sending out to the world.
Whether loudly or subtly, some clothes imparted the feeling of female sexualisation, some presented rebellion and anger, others a cushiony numbing of allure, as well as supremacy and competition.
There were a lot of emotions to be felt: these expressions have all been made to be normal in fashion, even heralded as fashionable and (falsely) beautiful, so why were they making me feel uncomfortable?
Even though I felt uncomfortable and wanted to speak out against it, my habit of wanting to fit into this industry stopped me and my head still nodded in casual habit to earn the approval I was seeking.
We are all trapped in what we have told ourselves is a truth, a truth our bodies cannot lie about – and this lie about fashion is that it is all good.
As I stepped out of the showroom, I had a choice: to repeat this again or to make a different choice.
The next day I went to another press event for a brand that I personally like because of its simplicity, and this season their standard of design had not dropped. Without a deeper awareness, I would have said the designs were beautiful. Yet, when I chose to feel into it more, this was not the truth.
Within the simplicity of design there lurked a subtle but undeniable desire to stand out in form and/or even fabric. The design, detail and production were all imbued with competition and comparison. In-truth, none of that is love, and neither is it beauty.
Visiting more events, I see how trends seem to be repeating themselves but in a more extreme form, as no one in fashion would ever want to be left behind.
There is more objectification of women where skirt lengths are now uber mini; checking out from life is rocketing beyond sky-high into space themes; glamorous gown designs are going high-tech and low-budget in material; power suits are now 3-D printed where cleaning can only be done by the atelier. Extreme hours and effort are being put into the intricacy of removing ourselves from real life; are we all lost and perhaps comfortable, hiding in beadwork embroidery?
But are we truly comfortable?
Fashion is an industry that claims authority to lead the way in trends, where we push our bodies to be one step ahead of even time itself. And yet when fashion is created in rush and disregard, and presented with emotions, what is fashion really trending?
When it comes to fashion, what you see is really not what you get.
The fact is everything is energy. Anything and everything in fashion that is designed, produced, marketed, sold and worn comes with an energy.
Without being aware of what this energy is we can be easily led and owned by it. If we are seeking acceptance or fitting in with this industry, we override what our bodies feel is disharmonious, for harmony would never dishonour the preciousness of our bodies. And yet rebelling against what we do not feel is true is not the answer either as, in energy, we are still being led, rather than leading the way.
With honesty, we need to ask ourselves how normal this all is, as inevitably truth will catch up with us and our bodies will reflect how we have chosen to live.
In choosing to fit into what is “fashionable,” as designers are we truly vital, joyful and with unending creative ideas that benefit everyone? And as customers, do we truly feel we are enough when we put on the latest piece of clothing? When our bodies do not reflect joy in our clothing, is fashion truly successful and does it really lead the way?
By Adele Leung, Hong Kong