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Saturday, January 14th 2017

4:45 PM

Sizing Up Our State

N  ow that the holidays are past and a new year is upon us, the Pre-Fall 2017 season collections come back to emphasize current retro-obsessed themes while others give in to experimentation of elements in the unsurpressable urge to grow forward. 

Scale and proportion are one of the aspects of the fundamentals of art. The manipulation of this quality is an intimate communication between the artist and the viewer. Here, the artist can convey a sense of grandiosity or humility, or the point of view of the gods or the child merely​ by playing with the proportion in relation to surrounding elements. In fashion the effect becomes more personal as the viewer doesn't just look at the items but wears them, bringing these emotions into ones personal sphere. The success of this execution relies on tapping into matching sentiments. In the 20s the enormity of the world and its progress saw the wearer swaddled in comfort with coats to protect the wearer while helping to identify with the emotional modesty one inevitably faced in such a quickly evolving cultural climate. The 50s saw this repeated under similar circumstances where technological advancements and global political awareness almost overwhelmed the public. The scale of clothes almost responded as a way of offering retreat, again tapping into proportion in a deeply psychological manner where one forgets the comfort one feels when, as a child, one is huddling in a parent's protective sweater or coat. Similar sentiments fed the 80s while a rejection of the physical design aesthetic as a generational declarative shift found another expression in a more voyeuristic fashion in the 90s when large-scale detail took hold past the mid-decade. In that aspect, a more detached approach found us almost thinking in an existential way to cope versus delving too deep into our personal feelings as we had done before. The clinical, intellectual way of examining our relation to ourselves was held in check under retro foundations to connect us with the antidote of feeling too much; while the obvious retro sources helped remind us of better times to fall on, the details let us safely look at what w knew as looming large.

Now, as we find our intellects tightened with years of access to technology, we are no longer locked in a simplistic model where fashion can sum it up with a few choice influences, although our fears certainly do show its power in trying. The play of scale continues as a sizeable (ha!) component of our personal translation of the times, and it incorporates both intimate and observed components as we are both more aware and self-aware. Be it in proportion or in detail, collections from Christopher Kane, Delpozo, MM6 Maison Margiela, Monse, MSGM, Norma Kamali, Ports 1961, Public School, Stella McCartney and Tome all contain these expressions within to connect to the wearer at large (ha again!).

Soon the Fall Winter 2017 collections will come...as will the haute couture collections...as we enter the next leg of the fashion calendar season and it will be interesting to see how designers take these sentiments forward. Then we can see how much designers feel these influences connect beyond what we have seen so far. Given the scale of world events to come soon and our willingness to express ourselves, we'll see whether confession or emotional antidote wins out, and for who if we are inclined to look beyond the names to who they speak to.       

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Saturday, January 7th 2017

3:51 PM

Where It Stops Nobody Knows

T  he Pre-Fall 2017 season collections seem to be winding down, although it could just be that the holidays took wind out of momentums' sails. Volume and freeform styling were one of the predominant takeaways that mingled with the femininity abounding, bringing to mind a devil-may-care romantic inspiration to the wearer.

In stressful times the artistic direction aims for control but inevitably becomes one of release as control is relinquished, greatly emphasized in periods where creativity is given greater allowance around times of profound change from more liberal environs to more demure conservative tones as inevitable economic restraint is called forward. The hyper-geometric order of the Deco period saw later Erte fluidity and freeform organic design before purses tightened and silhouettes drew in while wardrobes became more conventional by the following decade. The bound and padded formal intricacy of a Dior 50s give way to sculptural modernity and asymmetry that found favour in silhouette exploration on to later simplify towards the 60s as the economic postwar boom ran out of steam. The clean-cut uniform preppy early 80s gathered momentum in a progressive execution of avant grade embrace until we reached the kind of creative innovation we find repeating today only to be met with a rather tempered streetwise normalcy in athleisure, grunge and pragmatic normcore.

In all these eras, expression grew like wild plants until the good times "petered out" and we regressed to a new norm which eventually set the tone for the next wave of creativity to exit from. At this time we have added pressure of our search for the voice of a new century and millennium, not just a new generation. Our self-awareness, coupled with decades of marketing training of the public, has commodified our creative process; trends aren't made out of sheer desire for change, but are now part of a calculated brand strategy to remain competitive in an increasingly strained market that has seen a growing erosion of an economic class normally relied upon to keep our system flowing (i.e. the middle class).

This new dimension of motivation has, in some ways, tempered the creative process by forcing it to fall within marketable lines despite seeing the current creative play with volume and freeform architecture. And yet the tenuousness of the market might be the new factor necessary to allow creativity to burst forth. Technological advancements now further integrated into daily living is feeding innovation under completely new parameters that fashion has never had to work with before. Taken as a tool to aide in competitiveness, this added element may be the new X factor to shake fashion into bold new directions that our existing system alone is unable to fully do at this time (something this blog has written about in detail previously). It's not the materials and techniques alone that will bring this new voice forward, but the desired effect behind technology's incorporation into fashion that will inadvertently get new directions underway.

There is a lot of talk about technology for 2017 and fashion is bound to have some continued thoughts on what it means in relation to itself and the wearer as technology changes its very landscape. Perhaps the progressive embrace of tradition executed in technical ways made more harmonious with our modern sensibilities while blended with textile innovation as seen at Issey Miyake might be a hint when the creative wave crashes as an alternate to satisfying desire for the familiar while embracing our techno future. 

Already, Fall Winter 2017 will be soon here and we know the future cannot be stopped. Has retro fatigue set in? Will fashion go for the technical jugular in response? How long can it sustain unique expression boundary-testing? And is the public truly ready or are world events going to force our hand to pull back? And to where? Only the future knows...and it's here.

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Sunday, January 1st 2017

12:21 PM

Future Form And Function

H  appy New Year, dear readers. There is so much to look forward to for 2017: VR, AR, AI, the technical explosion in textiles as smart tech moves forward....solar textiles coupled with improvements in battery storage length meet designer challenges to take the tech and find its place in aesthetics and practicality. Texture and tactility come to the fore, for real and in illusion via sophisticated weaves and print techniques. We are settled in all we see, now we want to touch.We now ask what it does with expectation as we cut out the labels and focus on the intelligence behind the design. The V & A will support this through inspiration via Balenciaga archival presentation (Balenciaga even influencing Dior while centering on perfection of cut and exploration of modern form, something we are finding now). Colour will be vivid and rich, energetic and bold: La la Land rich. Clean and clear colours, even earth tones with a freshness to match our optimism as emotional survival instinct (or denial).

So ponder what will come and enjoy the start of your year. It will be something to behold.

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Saturday, December 24th 2016

6:11 PM

All We Want For Christmas Is The Genuine Article

N  ormally this blog goes “offline” for the holidays, so we hope you enjoy this special treat as a token of genuine appreciation for your loyalty and readership. In an age where the image rules social media, it seems almost defiant and anarchistic to do an imageless blog about fashion and yet here it is, satisfying what those in the know do in their spare time: read. And that is the gift just for you today.

This year finds a huge shift in behaviour. Trending companies noticed that the public was more interested in the narrative several years back, and “storytelling” as it was branded became a cornerstone in advertising. from this, an understanding of emotional connection came about and what truly mattered was sincerity. Here, the buzzword that starts our year as “authenticity”, partly spurred by the quest for meaning that fashion found through bespoke design efforts.

As we drifted through the year, politics rose to the forefront and we found the internet betraying us through using our very creative efforts against ourselves. Also, coming to light was revelations of disingenuous actions, some of which the fashion industry did not handle so well. Diversity was made into a marketing buzzword while witnessing the opposite, with articles showing efforts seemed more token than actual transformations while "plus size" being a dirty word in fashion. The debacle of designers abandoning Leslie Jones’ request for being dressed for an awards ceremony seemed to be the most glaring example. How can we espouse social advancements when the very industry that could benefit form diversity and has had a long history of inclusion could be so hypocritical? And yet the truth came out that we had much work to do.

We found the industry dabbling with ecological solutions while largely ignoring the work that needs to be done. And should we talk about child labour or slave wages? But that would be unpleasant, and good manners dictates that discomfort should not be fuelled.

But fashion is not alone in this. Our technological platform of democratic communication allowed media channels to be inundated with false news. We became the victims of our own eagerness and hyper-dilligence by allowing fact-checking to go by the wayside in lieu of being first to deliver a scoop, and it served to spread ignorance instead of knowledge. If people had little faith in once-trusted information channels they have ever right to have less now and we are all complicit in its existence when we should demand that actions match our expectations. we gave it a charming label ("post-truth”) but all it did was underscore how even the revelation of this is meaningless. To lie seems to be acceptable. Is it really?

So, in a world where people are separated according to labels, to classes, to affiliations and associations, it seems fitting that fashion expresses the exception that underscores the humanity we are more willing to give thought towards during this time of the year. Fashion’s access hinges on our vanity and the power of public acceptance on many levels from conformity to attraction. It’s hard to win and some who can’t afford or don’t have the appearance/height/weight/physique simply don’t bother. But this trend…the ugly Christmas sweater…is a weird dream antidote befitting of the most aspiring of sentiments. How ironic that something that would have once been the subject of ridicule has become a multi-million dollar business where even fashion itself is getting in on. Celebrities, major merchandizers...even Lord & Taylor has developed a line with Whoopi Goldberg devoted to this holiday object of ridicule. And yet the success is completely understandable.

It is the most inclusive item that requires the least effort and the most gratification despite its being most unflattering. It finds acceptance and, in itself, is the most honest garment. It makes no promises and knows it does nothing for you yet allows the person to fit in anywhere. What a gift that symbolizes the true holiday spirit with a sense of humour. It allows all to succeed by appealing to the lowest bar of taste and does so openly. Given the amount of duplicity and deception in our communication and actions in the public eye these days, the ugly Christmas sweater is fashion’s gift that we have bestowed on ourselves as if to remedy it all. It is the world speaking without saying a word in the most polite and inclusive way that all people matter and are welcome. and by being “as advertised” it truly succeeds.

I hope you feel included and welcome, with good humour and cheer beyond this time, and that you can find it within yourself to do the same for those who come and go in your daily experience. With that, Fashion Observed sincerely wishes you the Merriest of Christmases (and for those who celebrate something else…or nothing at all…a truly Happy Holiday) where the good we know that’s within you finds a match wherever you are to make the holidays bright.

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Sunday, December 18th 2016

8:11 PM

Splicing Modern Incarnations

C  hristmas is a mere week away and the Pre-Fall 2017 season collections continue to arrive at a steady clip, reinforcing ongoing retro themes that this blog has covered...and elaborated on...previously. The dominant creative implementation of retro influences satisfies the public's desire for familiar components as a way to counter current realities that underscore growing global insecurity. That is, by having things that connect with happier times at our fingertips, we continue to have what makes us feel good within the most intimate sight: our mirrors and our social circles.

But we are not so completely riveted in fear that we fail to involve ourselves with anything of our modern world. The textiles and finishings embrace a level of excellence that only technology can provide, and even though the bulk of elements are still largely from the past, there are attempts to grow forward.

Many collections aim for at least come connection with modernity by reconfiguring existing details to integrate these within overall familiar looks. Our current climate, more than ever, supports such experimentation in light of decades of precedent making inroads while broadening our palette.

Simple design innovations from decades past (such as minimalist asymmetry in the 80s) were considered too bold whereas now ideas once the domain of the avant garde have been repeatedly executed in even the most common of markets. With the creative playing field becoming more permissive, we have the ability to test out new configurations, cuts and silhouettes that will help set the stage for the next design configurations that can lead us towards successful fashion evolution.

Some collections are more interested in challenging the safety of familiarity. Easier access to international markets translates to better chances of having access to a like-minded customer base which provides for security to take necessary risks to better attempt at design innovation. 

It's not easy. Do recall this blog has cited the challenge of striking new ground when one has a foundation rooted in a prior time period. Pre-Deco modern design attempts to instigate the 20th century aesthetic we now have got some aspects right (streamlined simplicity verse highly embellished; focus on pragmatic ease of movement instead of constricted fit; sportswear-inspired casualness) and but it took those with no prior connections to the past to truly go forward (e.g. Gibson Girl versus the flapper). But collections such as these are crucial stripping stones that offer the kind of innovative choices that can result in foundations for new directions. 

​The architectural approaches of fashion of the 80s and 90s were powerful influences for modern design concepts that are still with us today, some being evolutions of initial innovations for the 20s and 50s when fashion was influenced by sophisticated abstractions of high art where architecture reigned. As then, modern environments and innovations on a large scale signal cultural shifts as these tend to represent the cumulation of technical prowess made incarnate into commonly shared spaces. These tend to greatly influence modern design on more intimate levels as we seek harmony with our environments.

While all labels deserve accolades for their hard work in a highly competitive field (it is extremely hard work indeed), collections this season from Creatures of the Wind, Monse, Public School and Rosetta Getty delve into existing design exploration techniques such as deconstruction, asymmetrical naturalism and cross-period element blending to facilitate new creative results that seek to take us into new territory beyond our comfort zones without being too "foreign" to alienate current markets. 

Keep in mind that experiments such as these will inch us forward to a level that will serve as a new platform for upcoming generations of the 21st century to run with as they find their voice to give our next era ours. We'll let that sink in as you get ready for the holidays while we wait for more collections to come forward to see what other designers decide to do.

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Sunday, December 11th 2016

7:02 PM

Renewed Energy Inspired

I  nching closer towards the holidays, we notice a reduction in Pre-Fall 2017 season collections coming forth. The overwhelming retro influence entered around the 60s and 70s/90s dominates the creative sphere.

Some may not be as interested in the current pre-fall collections. Online publications such as the highly esteemed Business of Fashion noted that these collections tend to consist of more commercial pieces leaning closer to trends established by the previous collection season that precedes it. This, plus the increasing trend for designers to hold off on releasing collection information until time of sale suggests that these collections aren't worth as much for coverage effort outside of key collections for larger houses such as Chanel or Coach 1941. 

To some degree this is a fair observation. It is true that  this collection season is more restrained when looking for dramatic trend declarations. However, many designers use this collection to introduce new concept details that can shift the direction of trends in subsequent directions. Clever implementation of new takes on existing retro territory such as the domestic aspects of 80s fashion by Coach 1941 in the form of collegiate detail invoke the power of entertainment that the television series "Stranger Things"  can translate into a new trend direction indicator, especially when looking at a sea of 70s 90s continuations that would fatigue the most loyal fashionista. Also, the vintage angle that Chanel  provides in their Metiers D'Art collection provides a bold angle of applying luxury in a world where even Oscar de la Renta concedes is more casual; Vogue Runway cited their collection had chosen a less polished overall look when noticing flats paired with their offerings that turned down the formality.

This is a world where the UK's Royal Family has chosen to loosen the formal tone to be more relevant to their subjects in the way they present themselves in media. Even their wardrobe choices are less stifling and more accessible. Actions such as these signal a confirmed tone at large that fashion confirms or strengthens via creative conviction. To be won top of how cultural nuances translate, it is imperative to continue monitoring all the collection seasons. It's just takes a bit more work to pick up on the subtleties that bridge seasons such as Resort or pre-Fall provides.

Also, while some designers are holding back on releasing collection information until time of season, some may recall why other designers changed their position. Does anyone remember when Tom Ford declared that they would not do social media to retail the preciousness of exclusivity? How did that work out? It didn't; the label lost a bit of its influence in the public eye as it became virtually invisible, and by the time it released its offerings it seemed less influential in the face of so many other labels who showed in advance. Fashion is about being first and, until all labels comply, those who show first will be heard and those who choose to wait will be seen as less relevant and influential (not a wise business move). That is how our public works, and if that were not true then Tom Ford wouldn't have got on the social media bandwagon (which it did once it conceded that the world had changed) and ensured its collections shifted to be out as soon as possible...and thus remain relevant.

So...back to this 60s influence (seen in collections from Bottega Veneta, Creatures of the Wind, Lela Rose, MM6 Maison Margiela, Orla Kiely, Red Valentino, Sonia by Sonia Rykiel, Tomas Maier and Tory Burch). Our continued emphasis on the value of youth and the hard focus on their habits finds kinship with this source decade as does the grumblings of equality, innocent musings of sexual freedom and experimentation, discussions on relaxing soft drug laws (particularly in Canada and the USA) and the excitement of a renewed space race (MM6 Martin Margiela in particular with those Pierre Cardin A-line shifts).

It was a more optimistic era in our minds; distance makes the heart grow fonder, after all. Given the overload of reality, we may be in the mood for an antidote. Certainly the forecasters at Pantone thought so in citing an energetic version of a colour of serenity we associate with sun-kissed leaves during spring. Young, light and free...and who doesn't want that? 

The 70s/90s supports the strengthening of these gender-related themes, particularly feminism and equality. Most collections had these decades incorporated into their collections so you can be sure memories will invoke renewed efforts that will feed this retro cycle further.

Is there more? Always. And next article will, as it always does, find more to say.

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Sunday, December 4th 2016

5:32 PM


A  s we ease into December, the Pre-Fall 2017 season collections start to come forth and, along with them, many observations to note that speak about realities, both ours and the creators.

The overall tone is one of pagmaticism. Collections are largely very wearable the way collections aimed for self-preservation in the 90s. In one recent review, Vogue Runway had noted how it was getting harder to discern one collection for another and that is not good news for any designer; that was also a similar sentiment in the 90s when economic constraints bled out the individualism that was taken to the extreme in collections in the name of survival. During that period many designers opted for practical items. The problem it creates, as explained multiple times in this blog, is that such a quest for wearable and practical can dilute the identity that made the design label unique and sought after in the first place. This results in weeding out weaker designers that failed to have a distinct voice or a confirmed following. You can guess what this might mean in the coming year if this continues.

Meanwhile, the predominant adherence to the 70s continues. Yes, that period resonates with those who lived through it the first time and during the 90s and 2000s when it saw resurgence. The common thread in  these has to do with references to the initial nuances of the 70s. Here, it carried many associations that again this blog has referred to that match current social circumstances. On the lighter notes, the carefree yet more politically aware youth culture, sexual liberation and the experimentation and relaxed attitudes on soft drugs contrasts with the expression of dissent via protest and the demand of full equality for women, LGBT and non-white communities.

The politically charged environment that runs globally is not something that can be ignored, and the continued expression through organized and sustained protest harks back to earlier times where educated centres inspired reasonable demands for change. Politics has found its way into designers laps, with many forced to reconcile their business approach with conscience, seeking to strike a balance on many levels ranging for defining clientele to how far to tie in personal views to marketing initiatives in a social media landscape. All are very heady issues, and those familiar with the 70s know that the intellectual bent was very strong for most of that decade, especially the first half.

The 90s saw a revisit to both the political awareness and the resurgence of equality issues, and this plus the fetishing of 70s television pop culture inspired creatives and the public to relive their version of this decade. And when 911 struck fear in the public, retro was the only comforting reference that pushed through, sustaining all those aspects of the 70s further as we held onto the continued political will supported by the growth of the internet and our technology.

And that is what is cropping up in pre-fall collections so far. Bottega Veneta, Erdem, Red Valentino, Roberto Cavalli (and the bridge line Just Cavalli), Sally LaPointe, Sonia by Sonia Rykiel, Tanya Taylor and Tory Burch so far have featured elements of the 70s, and Bottega Veneta, Diesel Black Gold, Just Cavalli, Narciso Rodriguez, Norma Kamali, Sally LaPointe, Sonia by Sonia Rykiel, Tory Burch and Zac Posen had elements recalling the 90s. Yes, there is the more sophisticated blending of other period elements tempered by high tech textiles and new colours in all collections, each telling their own stories about where we are in greater detail. But once again we seem to find a period of choice that the public...or at least their customer base as they see it...feels comfort in revisiting something that represents what they feel in a vocabulary they don't have to try hard to express. 

​It will be interesting to see just how other designers measure up. The general sentiment so far is one of fear as motivation; fear of survival and fear of being to unique to placate a larger public showing signs of regression as very real components that will affect our larger life experience come into play.

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Saturday, November 26th 2016

6:16 PM

It's What's After The Planetarium

I  t is a slow trickle at present regarding the Pre-Fall 2017 season offerings. Another glimpse may be singular but provides another piece of observation that designers  give in their interpretation of world events into things we find kinship in wearing.

The world's eyes have been squarely on the United States, in particular their election results and how this translates into world events. The ongoing onslaught of media attention to state position appointments, party member associations are equally discussed along with historic comparisons where policy and attitudes are concerned. It is common knowledge that history repeats. Those who proscribe to more spiritual beliefs regarding concepts such as those regarding material manifestation also find that expectations become reality; the long-trending apocalyptic sentiments that have strengthened post 9/11 only serve to reinforce this when looking at rising global tensions that are fed to the public.  

The oscillation between our spiritual awareness spurred by such fears and precedence of history actions as the basis for repetition expectations is our current lot. We who have a more far-reaching communication base have access to a new form of "church" where community comes together to share and reinforce beliefs; we know this as the internet. Spirituality tends to rise when threats become more concrete. Periods before wars tend to trigger reflection and connection and current circumstances are no different. The fear of another Third Reich in the most unlikely of societies is gathering steam, with historians citing striking similarities in actions and approaches warning of fascism and dire outcomes.

For fashion any cultural elements supporting or translating comparatives can further inspiration, such as Natalie Portman's recent film "Planetarium" which features many inspirational fashion moments within a film touching on the spiritual and the historic, being the Weimar years as bigotry and fascism precipitates World War II...how timely indeed.

Seeing another pre-fall collection inspired by a similar time period is Bottega Veneta. Here the peaked shoulders and demure minimalism of the pre-war 30s finds kinship with current concerns grow as the world watches the morphing of the new US government's crystallization before official implementation...and it's potential ramifications...takes place. 

Fears are a construct of the mind as a form of protection and survival inspiration. Not all fears are real and sometimes it is our fixture on them that leads our subconscious towards making these manifest..a self-fulfilling prophesy, if you will. While AI and deep learning algorithms along with more powerful computers can better pour over our cumulative information to make more accurate determinations of our fate in time, we are not fully there yet. So, our future is not in stone. Our fears, though, are certainly gelling, and it will be interesting to see how other designers broadcast their mindsets in the coming weeks as pre-fall collections continue to be released. 

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Sunday, November 20th 2016

7:51 PM

The Long And The Short Of It

A  s of now fashion has formally entered into the Pre-Fall 2017 season. As usual, it begins with a trickle, so there is not enough information as of yet to see where fashion is fully heading. But that never stopped this blog.

Early indicators show the continued late 80s creative streak  where proportion play and 60s youth culture are featured. The energy of youth-as-king continues as society remains focused on shaping markets towards Millennials and Gen Z, while the 80s youth aspect takes this and adds the similar political climates covered in the last article. This was prominent in Diesel Black Gold's streetwise collection. Meanwhile, roomy comforting proportion and volume play is also maintained, albeit in more simplistic execution that late 80s early steered towards. The economic aspects of that reference matches the uncertainty juxtaposed with current extreme excess our entertainment media focuses on and this reference find similarities as per the collection by ATM Anthony Thomas Melillo.

In both, the forgoing of body con construction markers gives a nod to more androgenous shapeless cuts where gender becomes a shared balance. The waistless fits of the 20s and 60s appeared at times when women aimed for and got more rights to be on par with their male counterparts. With equality a heavy focus these days, the return of neutrality via fit is well-timed.

​Whether all designers share this sentiment will be confirmed as more pre-fall collections come about. World events certainly have given a lot to draw from, as do current emotional states  which influence the public's preferences. Anything is possible now.

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Sunday, November 13th 2016

12:27 PM

Oracles of AmeriKKKa

T  his blog recognizes key events that become worthy of note in how fashion is or is about to be influenced. From areas such as those of mass cultural interest like music and film to economics and political actions, we see fashion respond appropriately.

The anticipation of the results of the presidential elections of the USA have greatly contributed to the ongoing fashion dialogue that has manifested in a variety of trend expressions so far. Anticipated controversy and emotional highs find parallels with historic context bought forward via our penchant for incorporating past elements into current creative results. In the 1830s, similar emotional extremism and public dissent faced the president-elect Andrew Jackson. His appointment polarized the nation towards similar apocalyptic expectation that thankfully wasn't realized. Also, the appointment of Ronald Reagan in the 80s brought similar emotional outcry ranging from lack of faith in his qualifications to fears that he would trigger tensions past ongoing Cold War animosity, resulting in World War III. In both these periods, fear found itself manifesting in fashion through defensive design similar as well to during the Cold War period in the 50s. Clothes were wider and volumous, offering protection via a safety barrier between the wearer and external elements.   

We see the embrace of these aspects in current collections where similar sleeve accentuation (albeit with more creative licence our hybridization allows for)from the Romantic era is repeated, such as those from Alexander McQueen, Carolina Herrera, Celine, Derek Lam, Dolce & Gabbana, Dries Van Noten, Gucci, Isabel Marant, J. W. Anderson, Jacquemus, Kenzo, Loewe, Maison Margiela, Marc Jacobs, Marques' Almeida, Oscar de la Renta, Preen by Thornton Bregazzi, Rodarte, Saint Laurent, Simone Rocha, Sonia Rykiel, Stella McCartney, Threeasfour, Tibi and Vivienne Westwood... along with the shoulder-padded width of the 80s as seen in collections from Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Celine, Comme des Garcons, DKNY, Dries Van Noten, Jacquemeus, Jill Sander, Louis Vuitton, Micheal Kors, Mulberry, Saint Laurent, Stella McCartney and Vetements now in full swing.

​As well, the emergence of neons and hot colours that were prominent in the collections suggest public sentiments of fear (very bright colours tend to appear during heightened periods of tension) while the desire for change...the impetus for the ultimate results we see in the USA elections///shows itself in the form of black (a hallmark of the 80s) and will certainly see its place in collections looking for guaranteed profit.

The continued uncertainty and anxiety has been recently exacerbated by post-election violence currently tracked in the USA by watchdog group The Southern Poverty Law Centre that has found its way into the media. At time of writing this article, over 200 incidents and attacks entering on racism, sexism and homophobia connected with references to the Trump campaign (not all are independently confirmed but that is a lot so far) have occurred. The emboldenment of such exclusionary and hateful incidents mount with hate groups such as the KKK preparing a celebratory parade give great concern to the public that election results are supporting a rise in hate that may inspire beyond its borders, even if there are those who voted for Trump that aren't like that and fight for inclusion despite political differences.

Those who lived during the 30s and 40s know all too well how those hateful sentiments that percolated through the campaign ended up, stoking further concerns today. The continuous inclusion of wartime references in fashion plus the return of the 90s which included 40s references (there it was connected to frugality and rationing connected with awareness of America's wartime role in the Middle East) may see these militant aspects strengthen while apocalyptic fashion expressions of decay via deconstruction seen in the late 80s and early 90s might revive itself in kind. 

While many lament the truth of how many people support a figure attributed with ideologies of hate and exclusion, others have asked for patience as we see how this new period plays out. If anything, the results so far have been revelatory of how much work needs to happen to move our culture confidently beyond the assumptions of inclusion we thought our greater culture was rising to and how we all need to strengthen resolve as we work harder to unify us towards a loving place. The social complacency and assumptions in dynamics like the digital landscape and roots of contrasting value systems are now under greater scrutiny, and the public is motivated to become more involved to address the underlying issues that brought about the turn of events we have before us today, something that wouldn't have happened if matters were "business as usual". Change is hard, but necessary for growth. 

How will fashion interpret all that? Unity and optimism via imagery and print symbolism and gender empowerment in cut and element choice balanced by socially familiar and acceptable transition cuts and assembly. There may be a clawing back of experimentation as we seek to comfort those resistant and fearful of change while finding enticement through proven channels of beauty and sentiment to link positive emotions to messages of expansion and growth within.

Essentially, just as the USA expressed polarization, expect fashion to do so in kind as it, and our mindsets, moves towards a state of progress to find common ground. Hopefully, enough people, aware of fear's empowerment, will allow their awareness to look towards that.

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