Raising our collective fashion consciousness
Recently, whilst perusing the latest roster of runway shows listed on vogue.com, I arrived at the conclusion that I am either gravely out of touch with what is considered to be the latest and greatest, or anyone who wishes to be featured in fashion week, can, regardless of quality or merit.
Which is a befitting parallel during our current political moment, when democracy seems to be not leveling the playing field, which it promises to do—but instead has brought the proverbial “bar” down to an unthinkably low standard.
To reach for the highest office that this nation offers, for example, one need not be qualified in terms of experience, have a single moral fibre in their being or even a semblance of an enlightened mind.
Which is not to say that the new names in fashion shouldn’t be there. It would be anti-democratic—even in the fashion world—to charge a handful of elites with the task of shaping our sartorial realities.
But we should have want for some kind of elevated standard to be in place. For, as Miranda Priestly taught us in The Devil Wears Prada, that which appears on the runway will eventually trickle down to us mere mortals in the clearance bin at the local GAP, or more like Forever21 today.
Politically, we wouldn’t want such trickle down economics to apply to our current leadership, who, by virtue of having been elected as president is on some level, in certain impressionable quarters making it acceptable to demean women, lie, cheat and behave badly generally.
While fashion enjoys somewhat of a buffer against such shenanigans in that only the most relevant, fresh ideas from the runway will persist and the ones that don’t will simply disintegrate into obsolescence, there is still the risk that the state of the runway will reflect the state of our closets and our perceptions about dress.
But collectively raising the bar in terms of our fashion consciousness by way of our dollars (and our votes) has the potential to provide a basis for a robust, dynamic and pluralistic terrain- one which is at once lofty as it is gorgeous- one wherein we can all find a place for ourselves.