Opinion: Is fashion dead? And should we care?

Every year pundits around the world make pronouncements about the end of something – television, radio, newspapers etc. In the world of people who like clothes, it is now the turn of the fashion industry.

Is fashion, the influential social phenomenon of telling you what to wear, when and why, finally dead? And if it is, does it really matter?

On February 19, just days before the Chanel Autumn Winter 2019 runway show, Karl Lagerfeld, the outspoken doyenne of 20th century fashion and the mastermind behind the rise of Chanel, died after a short illness.

Fashion fans and industry stalwarts around the world bemoaned his passing, his praises rang to the skies and littered the internet for days. For non fashion fans, it was often the first time they had even heard of the man.

And that is the crux of the current situation of fashion as a global industry. It’s not so much the brands that fashionistas name drop, it’s the rest of the world who buy basic clothes to wear.

Gone are the days of people making their own clothes at home, now it’s all about getting what you want from your phone, delivered to your doorstep, and with little to no thought about how it was made or where it came from.

I recently came across a fantastic quote from William McDonough, an expert in the realm of architecture, community design and consulting based on the Cradle to Cradle philosophy – where products need to be considered from the day they are built, to the day they are recycled into something else.

The quote pointed out that ‘fashion’ is actually a verb; a doing word. We ‘fashion’ something, we make something. Fashion as a noun, as it is used today, is a mutation of the concept of creating clothes (or anything else for that matter).

If you think about modern fashion, when everything is manufactured by machines and shipped around the world in hours or days, we are not ‘fashioning’ anything. We are simply consuming clothes.

Which is where the idea of the ‘death of fashion’ arrives. The massive Fashion Industry that will be worth about US$325.8 billion in 2022, is certainly not dying. But the concept of the glamorous, unique and interesting world of Fashion as a craft-based business, as a set of ‘rules’ to dress by, does seem to be declining.

This article was first published on Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore. Read the rest of the story HERE.

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