When will the paradigm shift from quantity to quality? Or, the question should be, what else do we need to see in order to make this change happen?
People don’t consider shifting towards a conscious lifestyle because they are too ingrained in their old habits. But perhaps, those who are in this position will be forced to readapt somehow quite soon.
Why? Difficulties in finding raw materials and supply chain shortages are now a reality. Indeed, one of the side effects of the pandemic was the sharp rise in raw material prices. Consequently, final product prices are getting much higher. It is already happening in the construction field, energy, gas. And it’s impacting fashion, too.
Therefore, caring more about what and how we consume will be a necessity.
Low-impact lifestyle: quality, not quantity!
What can we do? Each of us has an impact on the environment. Even if corporate giants arm-in-arm with marketing have shaped the world for us, they can’t make it without our active participation. And the role we play is revealed precisely by how and what we consume.
Since we do not like to wait for change to happen, we choose with our minds what kind of world we want to live in, so we act. Also, we hold ourselves accountable for the choices we make.
Why buy less but better quality? It is a long-term strategy. You will buy garments that last. Things you will wear for a lifetime, not items to discard after a couple of washings. Same for any other item we use in our everyday life.
B-Corp: What does it mean? Now they are a Benefit Corporation. So, beyond their for-profit business, they want to maximise their positive impact on society and the environment.
What’s the point of becoming a B-Corp in fashion? The Chloé’s collection shown in Paris was far away from the past magic. Indeed, all the luxury beauty outlined by the former designer, Natacha Ramsey-Levy, was gone.
The new guidance follows a more American way of working that embeds marketing at the brand’s core. We saw a collection peppered with the latest marketing trends — diversity, eco-friendly and ethical themes. And not that those values are wrong, indeed we share them entirely. But we question the fact that they sound like pure marketing.
Anyhow, it will be nice to witness how they’ll manage the actual overproduction model with an eventual lower production level. And see what happens with prices too.
B-Corp & the purpose of a fashion brand
What seems clear is that brands go from overproduction to the B-Corp losing sight of the real point of the work. What makes it a worthy effort.
The scope of an evolved fashion brand is to make beautiful collections, keeping in mind that the only way to obtain this goal is by respecting people involved in the production chains and the planet. Hence, paying proper wages and reducing pollution as much as possible.
Beautiful collections are the expression of good design and meaningful creative ideas. Therefore, the moment we make a respectful work representing a positive vision, all this beauty of thought must translate into outstanding products.
If the style is bland, meaning is lost. Even though the intentions are noble, assuming they are not only marketing tools, in the Chloé fashion show, there is no substance.
To be purpose-oriented is fine, but please don’t forget you are making fashion. Keep beauty alive. Don’t kill the dream.
A couple of messages seem clear from Paris Fashion Week. Apart from the most evident fact that nothing truly has changed. The idea ofrenovating a system, so discussed during the pandemic, changing its outdated foundations, providing new guiding principles and deeper values — has failed miserably. That’s whatfashion ruled by finance does. Forget lesser productions with better quality – this is not for corporations.
Nature’s calling Sea, trees, woods. This message seemed quite strong. Indeed, many designers have set up their fashion shows immersed in nature. As to celebrate something we all missed for over a year or more. Or a desire to reconnect with our so mistreated vital element.
Clothes have no gender We saw male models walking the runway in skirts or dresses and females in man’s suits – interchangeable genderless outfits. Not that it’s something new. In fact, Gaultier already did it about 40 years ago. But perhaps, the time is ripe now for a wider audience.
At this point, garments have lost their traditional gender connotation. An aesthetic that, from a historical viewpoint, has been developed as a reflection of patriarchy. We understand this is a big topic. Indeed, it requires a deeper analysis, a full exploration. So we will dedicate a whole post later on. However, coming from a Gaultier influence, we always picked out men’s pieces for women or vice versa. If a garment looks good, no matter if it’s men’s or women’s. From now on, we hope there is a free attitude towards how clothing is perceived.
Garments are not stand-alone pieces. They become alive once we wear them. Without our intervention, clothes are empty. It’s us and our personality that completes them.
The way we represent clothes, the way we portray them is called style. It’s an individual posture, the reflection of who we are.
This week we take the chance to introduce you to another cool piece: The Wide-Leg Pants. We picked them from Plantation. The attention they put on quality fabrics with a soft hand feel makes them unique. This trouser is another item that cannot be missed in your wardrobe. Aiming to put together a capsule wardrobe made of quality clothing, items made to last, we pick out only the pieces we really need.
Discover The Wide-Leg Pants
Indeed, there is a specific reason for every single garment we select. In this case, fit, comfort, and coolness are the top.
Same as‘The straight-leg pants’, it’s made of 100% Supima cotton – a soft fabric with an elegant luster like a silk blend. This classic stretch material got renewed: the brushed reverse side makes it comfortable for the Autumn / Winter season. With its soft stretch and warmth but not too thick hand, you can wear them starting in September when the weather is still warm.
The material is comfortable to wear for its soft texture and shape. The line does not widen too much even if it is wide-leg, and it gives a nice effect of falling.
Coin pockets like jeans add that casual design detail. As it has a glossy feel, it is a piece that plays well with various beautiful styling. From informal to elegant occasions, it will blend well with your garments.
The colour is a calm dark green, with low brightness but high saturation, and it is not too flashy, so it is easy to incorporate as an accent colour.
The composition is: 98% cotton – 2% polyurethane You can wash this item by hand.
As soon as we receive the pieces we have selected, we check the fit on different body shapes in order to be able to give you the best advice. Yes, it’s because we are obsessed with the perfect fit.
The Wide-leg Pants look good if you are thin, but they suit bigger sizes very well too.
Sunday morning, it was pouring hard when we reached our appointment with Marc Le Bihan – in Tortona district. Even though we made our selection the day before, we wanted to dig deeper into his profound couture universe. In a transitional era, where everything looks unstable and meaningless, his persistent artisanal contribution makes the difference.
Marc Le Bihan is a fashion designer, artist, and craftsman who creates clothes like a second skin. Indeed, his work goes beyond any classification. His conceptual creativity – manifested through impeccable tailoring, is the expression of a cultured and timeless approach to fashion that refuses trends and their transience. Completely disconnected from commercial fashion constraints, his couture is a rare example of consistency.
Marc Le Bihan: the interview
• What does it mean to be consistent? Keeping up with your vision when the rest of the world goes in a different direction? Marc Le Bihan: “The other direction is not my world. I do not understand it. To me, it’s a problem of society. I don’t understand the way of being, the lifestyle. That world is not me, and I can’t even think about it. Usually, I don’t watch TV. Yesterday I watched Italian TV, and I wondered, how is it possible? Women pretend to be free, showing exaggerated lips and boobs. But in that, I only see the reflection of a man’s vision. That is not freedom. It’s the fake image of a woman.”
• The state of fashion now. How do you see it? Marc Le Bihan: “The problem with fashion is that people only see the lights, the famous people. There is no sensibility to go further. Branded products are not luxury, not anymore. Luxury is rare, and it’s not for all. To me, it’s not about fashion but more about doing clothes my way. The two roads can cross each other but not as direction to follow.”
• What do you think about social media communication? Marc Le Bihan: “Famous people promote everything. They get paid to sell, it’s all about money. And not only for fashion. Maybe they promote a food they didn’t even taste. We live in the culture of image, not real life. People don’t live the moment, take pictures. And everything is ego-centered. People have lost the meaning of quality and quality of life. That is why I follow my path. And so, our communication is not to do any communication. Everything is too confused, there’s too much of it. We don’t have time for social media, we are busy making clothes. However, it’s not about posting a thousand things. Sometimes we post. Enough.”
Fashion, culture & sustainability
• It’s a matter of culture and education? Marc Le Bihan: “Always. The first problem is education, for everything. The idea of accessing, through culture and education, to something higher – is dead. And I am concerned about young kids. Now they are totally immersed in this image game.”
• What do you think about sustainability? Marc Le Bihan: “Well, I did it 20 years ago! We were recycling and upcycling uniforms and parachutes. Now, I don’t want to be a part ofthat circle because everybody is doing it. It’s marketing. To me, it’s more about how we consume and live. Of course, I use sustainable materials, but I don’t advertise.To claim it means being part of the system. My idea is to keep a garment for ten years in the wardrobe, then take it out and still want to wear it because it’s timeless. Mine is a work in progress. If a shirt is good, it’s good forever.”
A final note about couture
“Couture is sustainable by definition. In fact, there is no overproduction, no minimum orders, and no sales. We produce only on orders, and everything is handmade. Moreover, we don’t find our balance in over profit. If everybody gets well paid, we all can live. Indeed, my staff has been working with me for 25 years. Always the same people, same suppliers. We understand each other. We work like this. Many pieces are made in casa, a la maison, in our atelier.”
He smiled saying those words. Stubbornly showing a path that is a return to the essential, pure artisanal creativity.
One of the most striking side effects of the pandemic is the acceleration towards the digital world. And when it comes to the research of brands, it can bring some positive outcomes.
Some brands opted for a mixed formula, physical and digital, while many others decided to present their new collections only through digital tools. So, like it or not, that’s the offer. Obviously, companies in the fashion field lost a lot of money because of the pandemic. Digital is a strategy to recover. Also, they realized how few people they needed to make the workflow internationally. (This loss of jobs is its own problem).
Scrolling down, you may see so many infinite offers of clothing that seem like beautiful quality. At first sight, at least. After a deeper analysis, you realize it was just a nice pic. Fast fashion brands know this trick very well.
Selection for Spring/Summer 22
However, a satisfying implication of digital fashion is that material is more accessible compared to the past. In fact, we are receiving many look books and line sheets. So that it’s easier to have an idea of what’s going on in terms of style. Through accurate presentations and line sheets, you have the chance of knowing more about materials and fitting.
If it is true that nothing will ever change the experience of touching the fabrics, now we have the opportunity to make a selection without travelling the world. Even though the integration is brilliant, we have to find the perfect balance.
If you want to understand the events that caused the decline of luxury, we suggest you read ‘Deluxe: How luxury lost its luster’ – written by Dana Thomas.
You will discover how fashion from being a family-owned business became a corporate battlefield based on overproduction.
The growth of the new markets – China, Russia, and India. The explosion of counterfeiting goods and labour exploitation. Then, the rise of fast fashion, internet retailers and the development of a fast-paced globalized system. How luxury products abandoned exclusivity and shifted to the masses. Creating the so-called democratic luxury. Which basically is nonsense. Indeed it shows how far marketing rhetoric can go, playing with words to manipulate people.
The book is a brilliant analysis of the field, investigating the dynamics that led to an auto-implosion. Also, it allowed us to relive the last 30 years of fashion. We assisted many of those events – not by accepting them but by moving more and more towards niche designers. Finding a kind of refuge in a tiny universe. A thoughtful research in dissonance with the average fashion consumer.
Though we agree with almost everything, we do not align with the devotion to some brands. We are afraid they have lost their luster too, so far – except for Hermes and Cadolle.
It’s indeed extremely difficult to find meaningin luxury Maisons now. They seem like smoke and mirrors set up to sell perfumes, make-up and bags. Abundantly offered to masses that have no perception beyond the logo and the illusion of being considered rich.
If you still love fashion, you go beyond that fake facade and search for designers who dared to undertake an independent path, expressing an authentic creative vision. In this panorama, the ability to select the right clothing – from an aesthetic and ethical viewpoint – changes the game.
When it comes to fashion or lifestyle choices, you have two options: take the most popular brands or search for what’s different. Likewise, you can go on holidays where crowds go or search for your places, out of the beaten path.
Needless to say that we tend to go for the latter. And if you interact with us – in person or through our digital world – you are on the same page. Perhaps, as we did, you have seen everything in fashion, and now you want more.
So we look for what we call niche designers or niche brands. And it’s not that we don’t like popular brands. Indeed, we could handpick some cool items out of those collections. But, we love to search for something more unique. For a style that is special, and not immediately recognizable. Therefore, more personal. That style is you.
Key points for our niche choice
What are the keys we use to analyze fashion collections?
Design and style First, we are attracted by the designer’s viewpoint, what the brand is bringing in. From what we consider a valuable style proposal, we pick out the pieces we like. Which, then, are reviewed from other perspectives to match our quality standards. The construction and fit, how the garment falls. Wearing occasion and materials. The price point.
Timeless aesthetic We select items that you can wear for a long time. If some pieces recall a fashion trend, it is never too much to make those items seem old the season after. Indeed, our pieces always look fashion-forward.
Seasonless We tend to select items that you can wear during the whole year long. By layering, you can use them not only during a given season. It avoids fashion cycles and so the ‘buy & toss’ attitude.
Comfortable Pieces that you can wear on multiple occasions, but you are never out of place.
Of course, a niche selection is not for everyone. But that makes it even more special.
You may think that a logo has something to do with style. We do not totally agree.
A recognizable logo applied not inside or on the reverse but visibly shown along the outer surfaces of clothing, handbags, shoes, or small leather goods is the way fashion Maisons can sustain their astronomical costs.
To this end, beauty products help even more. Indeed, frequently people know a designer’s name for the perfume and not for its original creations.
First of all, logos are recognized easily. Furthermore, people buy logoed items because they identify with them. In fact, those products offer a status symbol more than an element of style. Even if that status is fake – and rude when too much logoed, people like to dream.
The fashion field was in crisis. Undoubtedly, logo-emblazoned pieces are the easiest way to sell more. Indeed easier to market.
Also, fashion in the era of social media has changed a lot. Specifically, Instagram played a huge role in this. In order to be visible, products must be more “instagrammable.” In fact, a logo gives that instant visual perception and recognition.
Moreover, during the social media era, the role of creative directors took over from designers. Figures who do not produce their work by elaborating on their design skills. But they put into the mix whatever they find.
This playground has encouraged the proliferation and growth of a shallow environment, which gave life to a sterile visual-centred culture. And, as a reflection to that, an ignorant fashion.
True style doesn’t show off logos. It is the expression of an innate gift. Of course, in case you do not possess it, you can train and improve it. But one thing is sure: if you are self-confident and elegant, you don’t need to impress by showing off a logo!
Fashion is not only what we wear. Fashion involves the environment around us. Fashion is the music we listen to as well.
Indeed, there is a clear parallel between fashion and music. Both have developed precisely the same pattern.
What kind of music do we listen to nowadays? Which one is popular? DJs are sampling pieces from the 70s, 80s or 90s, remixing them, then the singer of the moment gives the voice. And, here it is, the modern creative effort. Usually, this music is popular for a few months. Perhaps none will remember a single track one year later.
Of course, there are always exceptions. Take, for instance, “Walk this way” by Run DMC. Well, as we said, there are exceptions.
DJs arethe new fashion designers. They take designs from the past and apply logos all over, following the above remix pattern. Design skills are not needed anymore.
Some time ago, a TV show celebrated Fabrizio De André, the great poet-musician. And they interviewed his wife, Dori Ghezzi. Singers who recently won the Sanremo Festival went on air in a clip, guys dressed up to promote fashion brands more than music but acclaimed as geniuses. Afterwards, they asked her: “What do you think?” She replied: “At the time of my husband there was a lot of space, we have experimented a lot, and done a lot. Now maybe these guys don’t have much left. They are scrambling.”
Ads disguised as entertainment – this is how they call it marketing gurus, indeed.
The sampling of things already seen, stealing other people’s ideas that pass for absolute novelties. It is the sign of our times. And in both fields, fashion and music, it is marketing, not art.
But in the end, we do not have to accept it or fit in. We have the freedom to differ, to think differently.