As a trend forecaster, I always dig for innovation and exercise my mind to think outside the sewn edges. I assemble weak signals that would give hints on what will happen in the future and then interpret them in colors and textiles. I often seek for inspiration outside the world of fashion, ending up hunting in buildings and public spaces. I like to see how the garment reacts into a specific area. I am basically obsessed with this relation of clothing and space. Not Space as in the stars and planets, but space as the environment. Now, not environment like greenery and trees but surroundings. I have great interest in the relation between the body in its available space to move, evolve and dress.
For this reason, I attended Movin'On the baby brother or sister (not discriminating) of C2MTL last week. Movin'on is the world summit on sustainable mobility. A business-to-business event mixing two even three generations of decision makers, where suits and ties are flirting with biking gear. Engineers, dreamers and investors all gathered to expand their horizon and surroundings. And I attended to explore the way we will move; walk, get up and sit for a short & long period of time and how these new transport systems will impact on clothes. At the event, we were greeted by very cheerful staff all dressed by Frank&Oak in a very interesting greenish grey with a hint of blue tone of shirts. A curious choice to envision the color of the future of sustainable mobility.
I am a true believer that there is a close relation between space occupied by the body and how clothing behave, because biking to work every morning or taking a flying taxi is not the same clothing wise. The interior of a vehicle gives boundaries and limitations for the fabric, volume & textures to flow.
Historically transportation methods have impacted the way we dress. The pants arrived in women's wardrobe at the junction of a feminist revolt and the desire to bike. The bicycle pants (that's how they were called) were worn for a long period of time and symbol of emancipation. Decades after those bicycle pants appeared the Von Dutch hat trend pulled by truckers and the love of motors in the field in lined with automatization.
But, as we step out of this automobile revolution what should the future holds for textile gear? Since 68% of the population will live in urban cities by 2050 and automobile were not thought to be driven in cities, a revolution is to anticipate. It is not as trendy to drive with an extreme pollutant car to an event as it used to be even fashionistas started to show up at the last Paris fashion week in electric scooters. This binnacle of the transport service set the tone for my research on how new mobility will impact on the gear of tomorrow. Let’s drive into it and explore the themes seen at Movin'On 2019:
The never leaving concept of flying cars was mentioned at Movin'on, but with an idea that is more embodied. It will take the form of a flying taxi instead of a car. The principle is the same; skipping the traffic by air. What Uber revealed as a concept would be transportation for one sky scrapper to the next, helicopter lifting passengers to their destination. But to reach the helicopter, passengers will need to stand at the top of a very windy building. What that innovation can point us is the fact that passengers will dress wisely. Windproof clothing and tighter garments will be developed to embrace this need of protection while on the go.
The subject of blockchain mobility was half of the conversation at the event. The blockchain data and connectivity of our phone while moving making it easier to jump from one mode of transportation to the next. The garments have to follow this rule too, flexible, versatile, easily adaptable from one system to the next. A garment which evolves in the way we move into the city from walking to biking to car sharing to flight hopping and this in fluidity without nudity. And as the planet gets hotter and hotter the need of this clothing being sweat proof se fait sentir.
We have seen in the last years what I call urban survival aesthetic easily explained as being ready for anything. Craig Green's last collections are good examples to this approach. An aesthetic that is partly motivated by climate change and partly from flexible living. Shared economy and other flexible practices were recurrent subjects of the summit. Talking about shared mobility, multimodal ecosystems all innovations driven by a flexible and shared way of moving and that impacts greatly the way we dress. Garment are becoming like a shelter with anything you need in case of severe weather or upcoming opportunities.
To sew the hem of this article, the Movin'On event taught more than one thing on the future of clothing. The evolutions of transport and clothing are closely related. Like brothers wheels and wardrobe find their way to impact one another. Thanks to evolution of methods, Marie-Antoinette dress and hat will never have to fit into a flying taxi. The rise of non-restrictive volatile yet versatile wear is to be expected.
You know how much I love fashion and how I like to understand the why behind the rise of a certain aesthetic or color. The first Monday of May is a very good sample/ example of today's society taste in clothing. This year aesthetic at the MET really tapped into the Zeitgeist and I am going to unravel why... Why Camp aesthetic made perfect sense for this year theme at the MET. Brailling back to the precursor signals that led the way to yesterday's spectacle at the MET Gala.
Camp: Notes on fashion
First of all, what is Camp aesthetic? If you haven't watch last night pink carpet, you might have an image of green/ brown camouflage and camping popping in your head, but camp isn't mud and dust. Camp is actually a combination of bad taste and irony. Camp is the cousin of cheesy and is very close to Kitsch. It has all to do with over-exaggeration.
Camp comes from french "se camper" which means to stand straight with pride. The word pride is specifically relevant to the understanding of this trend. The inspiration for this year's theme and exhibition is extract from the 1964s essay of Susan Sontag; Notes on Camp. This essay exposes with 58 points what are the subtleties of the movement.
Now that we've got that cleared up, lets look at why Camp aesthetic made perfect sense for this year theme at the MET.
We've stated that Camp is very ironic, it mirrors very well the political situation we have lived in for couple of years now with unstable governments. The tension is palpable in different countries: America, North Korea, China, Uk. The establishment being on crooked floor, brings up the satire. Fake news, lost of control, the absurdity is so obvious that the aesthetics takes it in and turns it in a humorist way.
We are past the in between theme of 2017 MET Gala (Rei Kawakubo/ Comme des Garçons: Art of In-Between) referring to the battle of sexes. In today's society anyone can express and be what they want; A man, woman, a person, an object. Good example was Katy Perry humanizing a chandelier and later on a Hamburger at the gala. The exaggeration and pushing the boundaries started in guay communities. Now, other communities have embrace it leading the way to feathers, sparkles, extravagance seen in last night pink carpet. The extreme success of Rupaul’s Drag Race is an other element driving to the rise of Camp.
Showcase broadcastAn other important element is the influence of Instagram. The theatrical possibility of this social media platform is driving the way to excess. The online audience makes staging highly visual and over the top moments and gowns. We had good examples last night with Lady Gaga arriving 4 times in different dresses staging her entrance different ways every time. Without forgetting to mention Billy Porter who made the theatrical entrance with his personal porters.
When an aesthetic movement rise it always counter balance an other one. It is call the pendulum swing theory. And in this case, Camp aesthetic backlash the minimalist ground of the last couple of decades and the conservatism of generations before. Doubting the norm and second guessing what is ugly/pretty & good taste/bad taste.
Last Fashion shows of F/W 19/20 staged the ground for Camp aesthetics to go up the stairs at Met Gala. With Mary Kotrandzou, Molly Goddard and their ruffles & feathers without forgetting to mention the highly visual and Instagram references of Viktor & Rolf's Haute Couture. We have seen creation of Moschino, Thom Browne, Gucci that all have worked on irony in different ways for more than one season now. Enhancement of the Camp theme was also spotted at the red carpet of the Oscars with the repetitive pink and ruffles.
Notes on Camp by Susan Sontag