Evolution vs revolution

The Italian economist Guido Maria Brera released an interview to a daily newspaper which provided another piece, a fundamental block, that perfectly completes the picture of a broken system.

“With globalization, the weaker classes gave in to the masochistic exchange of their rights for cheap goods. Fashion, household appliances, mobile phones became affordable and gave the illusion of well-being. In the meantime, homes, education and healthcare are becoming less accessible. The result is dramatic: rights, hardly won, bartered for goods.” – Brera said.

Cheap goods have distorted the economy. Issues aren’t confined to one industry only, indeed the whole system is corrupted.

Reflecting on Brera’s words, the need for a change stands out. We thought it was just a matter of evolving, that natural process which is part of human beings’ growth. In other words, we simply needed to move to the next level of making improvements.

But a system that is collapsing, completely broken, perhaps doesn’t need to be revised. If we just put a patch on it, we will not find a good solution. Because of common sense, we are feeding dinosaurs that have lost their purpose. It’s impossible to find new ways if we follow old patterns. Once we understand this, the next step to take gets more clear. Now we must challenge what we take for granted.

We do not need evolution. We need a revolution.
Reset and reinvent everything from scratch: education – economy – work – fashion – lifestyle.
Everything!

New beauty standards

In our evolving process to become better humans, we are actively searching for a more meaningful lifestyle. Thinking about new beauty standards, expressing elegance in harmony with nature and getting rid of unhealthy beliefs are all things we need to do.

For so long we have been brainwashed to accept plastic dolls with ultra-white teeth as a beauty ideal. Ultra-white teeth do not even exist in nature, not to mention doughnut lips. How could we believe these were human features?
Are we sure that we look younger or beautiful by lifting our face or plumping our lips? And, if we want to eliminate plastic from the world, why do we put it into our bodies?

We are human beings, getting old is part of our nature. We should accept it and live it positively. Real beauty is a direct reflection of self-acceptance, well being, and respect and love for oneself. But, there is a huge difference between taking care of oneself and become the plastic version of a human.
If we look around, we are surrounded by aliens shaped by plastic surgery, and they all look exactly alike. Our faces lost expressiveness.
As a reaction to that, the body-positive movement tells us to accept ourselves as we are, which is obviously the right attitude.

At long last, we acknowledged that beauty is diverse and ageless. Different body shapes, or freckles, diastema and so on aren’t defects but details that make us unique.
The truth is that we’ve had a rather schizophrenic attitude to beauty standards. First, we believed in plastic dolls, the fakeness par-excellence. Then, we pushed self-acceptance to the extreme. Promoting excessively overweight bodies as a wellness model is quite scary.
While accepting oneself is a fundamental block in our growth process, selling unhealthy models as a new positive normal is dangerous.
We tend to go from one extreme to the other instead of finding the balance.

The Romans used to say “in medio stat virtus” – virtue lies in the middle.
It’s time to follow the advice.

The wake-up call

Lifestyle is constantly evolving.
It’s not about hectic fashion anymore, that time is over.
We learned the lesson, so we are evolving towards a new era based on consciousness. The pandemic is our wake-up call. Pollution, climate change, social issues, racism, our behaviour of the past led us here. Now, we must think about what kind of world we want.

Fashion as a reflection of who we are must be involved in the lifestyle evolution process. It’s about understanding the core values, so, as a consequence, we search for a design that fits our new vision.
Creativity takes time to express itself, manufacturing quality items takes time. Trust takes time too.
No need to hurry, not anymore. Slow is ok. Indeed, the process of consciousness takes time.

So, after the wake-up call, change for the better is what we are doing.
But don’t underestimate small changes. Even modest changes in our lifestyle can have a significant impact.

2021 is our blank page. Reset and restart with us.

Who has a voice

Who has a voice in the fashion industry? And who do you think has a say on sustainable matters in fashion?
One of the many problems with sustainable fashion is that those who have a voice in discussing the topic are exactly the same ones who created the toxic environment. Same faces, same brands, and same interests. That is the trick, unfortunately.

They set up a system based on massive overproduction to be disposed of through crazy budgets to retailers. Outlets packed with discounted items. And a parallel market to reach those retailers who wanted to buy certain brands but officially could not.
Therefore, all the Maisons understood they could increase the budget to retailers, knowing that retailers, in turn, were then reselling through a parallel net, feeding that hideous system.
All the operators knew how it worked, but since they were making a lot of money, it was good. No complain! Like it was acceptable to do the worst things in the name of god-money. Now that the industry collapsed, they’ve started questioning it.

Mono brand retail, department stores, parallel market, off-price stores. How many goods those enlightened CEOs and managers did believe people could buy?
Is the fact that they are not making money as they did enough to let us believe in their redemption?
We could invite Hannibal Lecter to the table, but perhaps, serving only vegetables will not be enough to change his tastes in food.

Who has a voice and influence on the sustainability discussion are exactly those who created the problem.
If we believe we can search for the value of sustainability among the same old faces, listening to their voice, we are wrong.

The dark side of modern society

Scanning the dark side of fashion, we came across a document released by ASPI – Australian Strategic Policy Institute – “Uyghurs for sale”. This detailed paper leads to a sad reflection on modern society and its economic system, capitalism. A system that can thrive only by exploiting people and the planet.

The Uyghur minority

Uyghur is an Islamic minority from the far west region of Xinjiang. The Chinese government has facilitated Uyghur and other ethnic minority citizens’ mass transfers from Xinjiang to factories that operate in the supply chains of about 83 well-known brands.
In China, 80,000 human beings live in segregated dormitories subject to constant surveillance. Put through ideological training outside working hours.

Fast-fashion brands are made in China, Bangladesh, India, Vietnam. Well, not only fast fashion brands! Therefore, we naively thought it was mainly a fashion-related issue. But learning about that horrific condition, we had to change our mind, as often happens.
Going through the pages, ASPI named various global brands, not only from the fashion field but technology and automobile too, and, of course, we know them all pretty well.

Fashion or modern society?

The dark side of fashion, that was supposed to be the point. At least we initially believed it was a matter that identified one industry only. But, in the end, we acknowledged that there is a common thread that links all manufacturing, the whole economic system. Capitalism, indeed.

Although we believe it is crucial to uncover fashion issues to move towards a better society, it is clear that exploitation, environmental impact, disposable goods, and lack of inclusivity, are issues that regard our modern society in full.
Perhaps, it is not about fashion but human behaviour, the greed that characterizes and dominates our economic system.

The truth is that society needs new slaves to flourish.
This must stop.

Sharing ideas

Ideas are powerful. Sharing our thoughts makes the energy greater.
Sharing is at the heart of our community. Believing in the possibility of inspiring each other, cross-pollinating, is the real precious benefit of our interactions. It is about being open to a growth process that enriches us, broadening our visions.
Hearing our interconnection elevates the sense of community. A group of like-minded people, focusing on specific values: inclusion, diversity, ethical work, kindness, respect.
Fashion is the door that lets us in, connects us, knowing that we don’t stop at a superficial level. We enter from that door to find a common ground, but then we dig deeper into our culture and lifestyle.
Together, we facilitate an ecosystem where we develop beauty, empathy, value. We connect, we come together to make things better.
Join our community by sharing your thoughts with us!

Social media & value

In our modern and hyper-connected society, life revolves around social media. While it is nice to be in touch with your audience, it is impossible not to notice the vain by-product of this virtual life: images artificially created and obsessively shared. Yes, too much even for those of us that work in fashion!

Perhaps, you might think, social media worked well to boost self-confidence, instilling the idea that everyone can be super beautiful. We all have an amazing life. People need approval.
But if we dig deeper, we see the void generated, all the meaning has been swiped away. You mainly find empty boxes. Nice, but empty. And a certain horror rises in knowing that the percentage of suicides among teenagers has gone up due to social media.

Social media and fashion

Whatever they say, all this exaggerated overexposure didn’t bring anything positive. Not even in fashion. The expectation of fake models looking like plastic dolls together with poor language created a devastating environment.
The strategy to run a successful account consists of buying followers to attract the attention of a large audience and letting the algorithm fly. In other words, you end up talking to yourself in the mirror.
That is the game you have to play if you want to be successful unless — you need something more than a facade.

For people like us, who believe that buying books is way better than buying followers, the discomfort gets real. You don’t really want to interact with fake accounts, do you?

People who have no idea what they’re talking about, who are not able to distinguish a fast fashion brand from a high quality one, are not our point of reference. We do not consider such a person a leader, no matter how many followers they have.

It is possible to be on social media having a different approach, setting up a healthier environment based on quality and real connections, and being clear in your mind that you are playing a different game.

If you are looking for meaning, for something that matters, this is the challenge. Bring back valuable content. Bring back value. Share ideas, not plastic faces.

Fashion is culture

With the word fashion, we mean the appearance and behaviour of a social community according to a particular taste of the moment. It refers to all the style and life elements that identify a society during a specific era.

Fashion is just another way to scan our society and culture. Another lens through which we can investigate human behaviour.

We can use clothes to hide aspects of our personality or, instead, to show and express our identity. As an overall concept, we can use clothes to analyze different cultures.

Fashion, creativity and finance

Fashion is the result of a creative process that talks about our culture. The reason it became mistreated and demeaned as a vain or silly field, lies in the system itself and some external factors.
Since finance took over the industry, during the 80s and 90s, the creative process has been forcibly accelerated, pushed to an extremely fast-paced model. Very little space was left for creativity.

Later on, when the internet and social media entered the scene, the creative side of fashion became completely distorted.
Fashion has undergone such strong pressure that valuable designers, like Martin Margiela, one of the greatest innovators and game-changers, decided to leave. Too much pressure, a continuous request for something new, too many products to put out in a short time. And then also, an obsessive hunger for information, in the form of silly poses and clownesque outfits.

Rather than a place for creativity, fashion became all about budgets, money and clowns. Pure business without a soul. Tangible examples are the rise of fast fashion and fashion bloggers.

But all that fast-paced overproduction, overconsumption, massive show-off was just a bubble, a system that couldn’t sustain itself in the long run. In fact, during the pandemic, it exploded.

Now that the world is re-awakening, we need to bring a new level of consciousness that puts creativity and ethical work at the heart. Slow fashion and smaller-scale production are the basis on which we can build sustainable models.

Researching the new

Fashion research for a niche audience

Researching the new, exploring alternative concepts in fashion design has always been our passion, a kind of innate attitude or a real fixation.

Fashion design: niche vs mass market

In terms of fashion design, what is considered new by a niche audience is not what is new for the masses.
New means something original, singular. Something unusual. Probably or at least possibly, never seen before.

For a niche audience, new refers to what designers, or at least the really creative ones, pioneered first, expressing their vision and sense of style in a way no one has done before.
For the masses, new means what brands have taken from the few creatives, repurposing it under their name.
We can’t count the times some agents proposed to us collections we already had the season before in our boutique, just with a different label.
If you are part of that niche, that re-proposed soup is not for you. You respect the original ideas, you need creativity because you understand its value.
Unless some brands are filtering existing concepts in a new, creative way – but that doesn’t happen frequently. Copy & paste is the easy way out.

Researching the new in fashion

The concept of new in the fashion industry doesn’t exist anymore. It was pretty clear before the pandemic, it’s both frustrating and discouraging now that we are in the middle of it.

Some brands that were modern 30 years ago are still the ones we would wear now. Perhaps they already did anything and everything. So many others seem just part of an old era, outdated, they lost meaning.

While we see collections without identity, lacking idiosyncrasy, still copying & pasting from others. Grasping the occasion to reset and restart with new ideas would be a smart move.

Women & society’s standards

A point on women & society’s standards is always necessary considering the current discussions and comments we hear. Indeed, we find it difficult to identify with women presented in the media. But also, with women presented by women themselves!

“I make clothes for a woman who is not swayed by what her husband thinks”

Rei Kawakubo

This powerful Rei Kawakubo quote, a thought we completely embrace and promote, opens up a window on society’s standards, personal growth, self-awareness, and perhaps new feminism.

Women, fashion and expectations

The clothes we wear are the expression of our personality, this is undeniable.
If we analyse the type of clothes that easily reach a large audience, we could portray a clear image of a woman stuck in the Fifties. A woman who must have a hold on men, and most of all, who must make it crystal clear, totally visible. Therefore, this statement translates into second-skin dresses, wide necklines, and super short hemlines.

In fact, this is what society expects from women, what women are educated to, by centuries of patriarchal brainwashing. And, eventually, it seems this is what women want, too, well adapted to a man-shaped society.
Indeed, just replace grace with rudeness, and we jump into our modern times.

There’s always the same submissiveness, asking for permission to buy something or buying an item only upon the husband’s approval.

Centuries of evolution from Virginia Woolf, passing through feminism and all a woman can aspire is being an accessory of a man.

On the contrary, we embrace a new sensibility away from the dominant models. Femininity free from conventions and stereotypes. Assertive, not aggressive. Self-aware, or at least opening the eyes, and beginning the process of personal growth.

Her style would be different.
We are different.
Ready to express a new vision of who we are.