I was reading this article from a looong minute ago in the NYT the other day, about the concept of one’s lifestyle as a brand, and it got me thinking. There are endless quantities of these ‘lifestyle’ brands. Truthfully, all fashion brands are essentially lifestyle brands. Gucci laid that down in 2003, with a print ad where Louise Pedersen has her knickers pulled down to show off a shaved G logo (Testino called his image ‘Pubic Enemy’).
Which somehow got me pondering this quote from one of history’s true monsters, and how paraphrased it would apply to this lifestylification of fashion.
You make a mistake if you see what we do as merely sartorial.
The original statement was made in reference to an exhibition of so-called ‘degenerate’ art, which strikes me as a contradiction in terms. And yet, there are those that see streetwear as the wearable equivalent….degenerate fashion.
Certain men’s magazines love to bemoan the streetwear aesthetic, even while recommending the ‘perfect’ cashmere hoodie to pair with that ‘must-have’ Zegna blazer. As though Gregory Peck rocked hoodies.
Read the rest of the article after the jump.
Their mistake, of course, is the essential misunderstanding of the fact that the lines between genres of clothing no longer exist. There are no more counter cultures, only sub-cultures. Even the concept of sub-cultures, when examined in the dictionary, sounds more like advertising jargon than anything else. To wit: “Subculture: to cultivate a (bacterial) strain again on a new medium.” Or: “the cultural values and behavioral patterns distinctive of a particular group in a society.” Doesn’t that kind of sound like it was written by Wieden + Kennedy. Like they’re referring to fucking memes (remember when that word followed us around it was Michael Myers and we were Jaime Lee Curtis?).
Realistically, this ‘street’ aesthetic that they deride is every bit as present in their trad (preppie) revolution as, quite frankly, their trad revolution is in our streetwear aesthetic.
Kanye isn’t talking about The Hundreds, he’s talking about Margiela, and a bunch of other graduates of the Antwerp Royal Academy of Fine Arts. Hell, A$AP Rocky is even name-checking Rick Owens. I know fashion heads who forgot about Rick Owens. As the poet said, Things Done Changed.
There was a time, not too long ago, when the best applications for new technology were seen in military and artistic applications. The technologies themselves were frequently born this way. And yet, now, frequently, the technologies remain static, but the ways in which they are used change. There were no great technological leaps with foursquare, twitter, or instagram, but the ways that people chose to use them are inherently new.
A similar thing is happening with fashion. Old twists are made new, and vice versa. True tastemakers are sifting through things already available. It’s what used to be called curation. And that curation becomes reinterpretation. New uses for familiar products. People are refusing to be burdened by genres, and will remix with impunity. The next big thing will be a million small things. Ride or DIY*.
* shamelessly vicked from bit.ly/ttCdy1
Text by @quentincrispy