Fluctuating fashion gives way to #StayAtHome comfort – Livemint

By on August 13, 2020

I didn’t have the heart to reveal the secrets of my sartorial baggage and trigger a skulk of disappointment on his expressive face. Or the fact that I’m not on Insta. So I shrugged airily and said, “Yep, that’s me, always the Lovato pretender. Now tell me, what’s for food?”

I’ve never understood why a particular item of apparel or accessory can be all the rage suddenly just because a celebrity was “spotted” in it while she (or he) was perambulating, why brands start spawning spin-offs of the same, and why self-appointed fashionistas hotfoot to stores—literally or virtually—to access them.

Equally mystifying: Why do these same articles of faith become “obsolete” and “oh-so-last-season” in three or four short months because, hey, didn’t you know, it’s now the summer of despair, no longer the spring of hope?

These days, I’m pleased as punch that even though the pandemic curve is yet to be flattened definitively, fashion has been beaten down to #StayAtHome lines of comfort wear with pops of personalized style cues. I’m not trying to say we shouldn’t be fashionable. Of course we should. But fashion isn’t a statement, one that has to be conformed to; it’s a choice. I mean, why can’t I wear the 70s’ Bobby print (remember Dimple Kapadia’s polka dots?) unless a post-millennial rock star shows me the way in 2020? Or why should I go with the flow that purple or red or orange is the colour to be seen in for random stretches of time just because a bunch of designers have mulled over (what they consider) calendar-bound chromatics? Or why can’t I be totally at ease in well-fitting wedges bought locally in the company of others whose branded soles blink out a thousand-dollar message?

A few years ago, we did a cover story on an emerging trend called “athleisure” in the magazine I was editing then. It sounded ridiculous to me, this almost oxymoronic marriage of sports and leisure wear that gave birth to collections of couture and high-street fashion all over the world. One could go for a formal meeting to finalize a million-dollar deal or a five-star brunch in a strange mismatch that had been factory-fitted, accessorized and validated to look “haute”.

“Seriously?” I asked the 23-year-old bright spark who wanted to do the story. “This is worth a cover shoot?”

“Yes, Sush,” she said excitedly. “Athleisure is the talk of town.” As it turned out, the shoot was one of the best we had done till that point, and was a thumping success. I had to eat humble pie, but there was a crumbly feel to it.

Little wonder I’m pleased the pandemic has reduced organized fashion’s DNA down to a basic I am all too familiar with. Comfort.

There are tomes being written on how the fashion industry will change… perhaps forever. The grimy sweatpant, for instance, has become a fast-moving item today. In the bottoming-out evolution—from capris to boyfriend jeans to rompers to lounge pants to god knows what else—this looks like it’s here to stay. In a brilliantly-empirical piece on what’s next on the cards for global fashion by Irina Aleksander for The New York Times, the standout line, for me, was, “The more important question is whether people will buy clothes that aren’t sweatpants in the near future.” The author goes on to quote designer Joseph Altuzarra as saying, “I think after spending months in sweatpants, people are going to want to feel comfortable.”

One interesting takeaway from the ongoing fashion debate is that of ethical, sustainable wear. Earlier, it defeated the purpose when one became an acolyte of the genre because diktats guided us, almost sheep-like, to “choose wisely”. There was safety in names and the numbers they would induce to take up cudgels for a cause. The best thing the virus has probably done is made us, as individuals, more empathetic to causes. If we choose sustainable fashion, it’s because we are more discreet, not because Gwyneth Paltrow is asking us to.

For me, the age of covid has become an endorsement of being able to wear what I want to wear. Not that it’s revoked my sense of aesthetics. The other day, I gave the twiceover to a woman wearing a casually asymmetrical blue kurta over white patiala pants, her face muffled with a damask indigo mask, while observing social distancing in a line to get into Wenger’s. I didn’t think once whether or not blue and white were the colours of the mean season. She just looked, well, comfortably fashionable.

Sushmita Bose is a journalist, editor and the author of ‘Single In The City’.

Source Article from https://www.livemint.com/opinion/columns/fluctuating-fashion-gives-way-to-stayathome-comfort-11597330178342.html
Fluctuating fashion gives way to #StayAtHome comfort – Livemint
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