December 2006, I had just presented my concept for my graduation project. My main question was: How big is the influence of globalization on fashion? Fashion is fast, really fast. Brands easily produce 4 collection a year. H&M is the queen of fast with 8 collections a year to always have the latest trends for the finest prices. It is easy for the consumer to be in fashion these days. The downside to all this is that our hip outfit is sold in every corner of the world and so, recognizable in every corner of the world.
The day after a presentation I am always a bit confused, because 'how to continue'? All those written theories are really nice, but are they true? Is fashion globalizing? And if so, is this visible in my closet? I decided to take this question literally by taking a critical look into my own closet. I was shocked by my conclusion....I could trow my entire wardrobe into the street without crying a tear! My wardrobe was disposable, easy to replace and without any value! Except for that beautiful skirt my mother used to wear and now fits me perfectly, a few vintage items an my small collection of white blouses (my fashion weakness). But beside these items I could trow out everything. I probably wouldn't even miss it...
Yes I, a fashion student, am also a victim of the mass-production. I also stopped thinking about my clothes and what I want to say with them as a unique individual.
What am I going to do about this?
" I thought while sitting on my couch staring at the mess I made. I then focused on the few items that mean something to me. Clothing must be something personal for me again.
Fashion and clothing may well be the most significant way in which social relations are constructed, experienced and understood. The things people wear give shape and colour to social distinctions and inequalities.* Without clothes no division but mass, it is fluent and always moving. Clothes sent messages, they tell stories, a lot of stories. Brands give their clothes stories and with that a certain value. But what is that made up value worth to us, the consumer? Do we really need these artificial stories? Dont we have enough stories to tell of our own? And arent these stories much more interesting and unique if they are real and significant for that, and only that, item?
Maybe we just need to be more conscious about our personal stories and values that arise by wearing clothes. This way we might see the beauty of clothes again instead of a disposable and easy to replace product. Wouldnt it be interesting if people carry out their own story more instead of a story in mass production?
"Fashion as Communication
" by Malcolm Barnard