As we all sit in our homes, twiddling our thumbs and drinking endless cups of tea (nothing a good cuppa can’t help with), the outside world seems to have come to a halt. Assuming this isn’t the end of the world and we aren’t in a real-life simulation of the film ‘Contagion’, it renders the question – what is to become of fashion once this all blows over?
As the idea of going out to your local for a couple on a Friday night becomes a thing of the past, or even to a club if that might be your thing, I wonder what might happen to the world of fast fashion? Gone are the days of buying an outfit for the weekend – we’re all staying in. Nobody would wear a dress and heels just to go and sit in the living room, would they? And what of dates? As we come to terms with the fact that we may not be able to see a potential love interest for the foreseeable future we grapple the idea of the virtual date. Opening a Facetime call to your date sitting there in shirt and bowtie might just be an occurrence all too familiar.
Now, let’s take this a little higher up the fashion food chain. The fashion industry’s most respected designers have always had something to say about the state of affairs of the world. Just take a look at Katharine Hamnett or Maria Grazia’s ‘I’m a feminist’ t‑shirts and we can see that clearly. As this pandemic broke, just shortly after shows in Milan, people that worked them were quarantined for two weeks after. I can’t see this passing without a statement on future runways. I can see it now — in September the Gucci show will be Alessandro Michele sending models marching to the sound of the drum whilst wearing embellished face masks and disposable gloves. All at the recommended two-meter distance apart, of course.
This then brings my thought to makeup artists, hair stylists, stylists, photographers, models (like myself) the list goes on… after a global pandemic we have been made all too aware that our jobs are seen as ‘unnecessary’. We are also very aware that our jobs can not be done remotely via zoom or skype or one of these virtual platforms that seems to have appeared just in the nick of time. I’m not sure where this leaves us. It has become starkly evident how close to one another we have to be to get the job done. Being backstage at a show during fashion week is uncomfortable enough as it is – girls getting changed and arms flailing everywhere, constant makeup touch ups (often with the same lip brush being used on multiple girls), just people everywhere. Surely this kind of set up and behaviour won’t be overlooked any longer.
Fashion can be seen,for most, as a form of exhibitionism. I myself find myself dressing to the character that I feel I am that day. Just as this all was beginning, I found myself stomping to work wearing Doc Martens, tweed trousers and a Harrington jacket, screaming anarchy and punk from the inside out – my form of saying I’m not quite happy with what’s going on at the moment. I hope that whilst being in quarantine and not being able to dress to impress others, this time might remind us to dress for ourselves. Fashion can be the most liberating for of expression. What we choose to wear can completely dictate and illustrate how we feel, whether that be fierce one day or more reserved the next. How exciting that we get to make it all about ourselves once again!
One thing that this virus has managed to do is give us a reality check. Whilst we may be spending more hours scrolling through Instagram — because really — what else is there to do — it has completely eradicated the feeling of FOMO (fear of missing out). And the jealousy one might have once felt to some Instagram model has been completely eradicated because let’s face it, we’re all on the same level now. We are all human. The idea of Instagram playing a major role in the fashion industry is very real and has been for a while now, but with the idea of the Instagram girl now essentially demolished — she’s no better than you or I. On the other hand, my agency has asked me to send in photos of how I could potentially set up shoots from my own home. Online fashion companies have started to send ‘influencers’ packages of clothes to shoot from their houses in ‘ecom style’. This really could go one way or the other. Will the average girl become invested or disillusioned by the insta-girl?
Nobody can really tell the effect this virus will have on this industry, or each one of our lives, but what we do know is that art still lives on and will do forever. Some of the greatest art in the world has been created in the face of adversity, take Picasso’s Guernica for instance, and I can’t see this being any different. Whilst our lives have become stripped back, I hope this creates space for designers to reimagine and reinvent in seasons to come.
So, lets all stay home, but let’s serve some looks whilst doing it.
OVERDUE had the pleasure of shooting with Alex for our debut issue.
Check out our digital issue, which is now free to download, here.