Fashion Observed

Trend observations with a sociological eye from afar...

by Darryl S. Warren  

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I f you have ever watched 20th century film or television programming, it's fascinating to see what is valued and appreciated versus what is upheld as normal. This is not just with behaviour, but also with what is accepted as a standard of life, such as the material aspects and their interaction with our world back then. Be it then or now, we embrace the things that act as props for our sensibilities, such as the way plot-lines are created that hinges on our innovations. Stories in the ages before the advent of the cell phone would be reduced to a blip, or would cease to be; our whole lifestyle has changed dramatically with a swipe or two due to a block of technology we carry with us in our pockets or our bags. We marvel privately at this; think of how many times have you had a conversation where you talk about how you'd be lost if you lost your phone, how your world would crash...until you got a new device and retrieved whatever you did back-up on, of course, but still, look at that. What a contrast from how people lived not more than a generation ago..or even a decade ago. Never before have we depended upon something so small that did so much.

For those who lived longer, i.e. those who had the formative years before Y2K, this chasm is more astute. It's like those who lived before and after the age of the automobile, the telephone and electricity. They remember how things were so different and how technological advancements had overhauled their world and, along with it, their worldview. Ours is the condensing of technology, the access to the wealth of information nobody before thought possible, and the accessibility of both. It's more cerebral, too. And knowledge is sexy. Whenever we have a technological milestone evolve, we almost fetish it and then commercialize this appreciation. The impact it makes becomes rather apparent when it impacts things we consume, so when fashion includes it in its dialogue, it's worth having a second look.

Our appreciation of all things technical has broadened. It is connected to our technology, but not in the more obvious manner. Yes, we are surrounded with the things that were once the domain of science fiction, but rather it's the ability to be informed that has changed our capacity to be more sophisticated in our understanding of things beyond our conventional grasp. With a click of a button, we can learn more about anything around us. We have apps to take a picture and define what we have before us. We have links to explain and expand our knowledge, if need be. We can become experts of any topic without having a four-year degree thanks to the collective compilation of the world's knowledge in the palm of our hands. And how can we not appreciate more complex things when our awareness and knowledge become more enhanced. So, whereas a blueprint or a schematic would once only appeal to someone who was immersed in the technical field it was connected to, now we have a broader appreciation where the art of the execution is given more consideration. Again, knowledge is sexy; it certainly is in our century.

Hence, we see some creatives from a range within the fashion world toying with the fascination of complex information and data imagery, such as those from Balmain (here), Mary Katrantzou (here), Nike (here) and Shenova (here) . Sparse as these may be in the scheme of things, these displays of information appreciation are found along a broad spectrum. Yes, they "look cool" but they also enlighten the passive curious mind that we now support, and the items chosen are interesting for their subject matter as much as for the pattern and design. It says a lot for a society when we find art in anything informative we choose, validating the benefits of appreciation in the process, and more encouraging to find these shared on social media, inspiring others as they get passed along.


More to come, fashion fans. Lots more to say.

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