Fashion in the past decades have been easily identifiable. When someone mentions the seventies, your sartorial thought goes to bell-bottom pants, sequins, and hippies. When the sixties are mentioned, you think mod shapes and mini skirts. The twenties, you think flapper, and so on. Now? There isn’t any silhouette or style that you can easily pin to this decade, but is that a good or bad thing?

Since we entered the 2010 decade, fashion has been thriving on uncertainty. There’s the on going game of musical chairs going on amongst houses hiring different designers. There’s the see-now-buy-now campaign that various designers such as Tommy Hilfiger, Tom Ford, and Proenza Schouler are trying to champion. There’s the never ending plea for diversity, for both race and gender. There’s also the ‘gender-less’ fashion phenomenon that has taken over, which owes (in part) its beginning to the Internet-breaking Annie Leibovitz-lensed Vanity Fair cover of Caitlyn Jenner. 

This haphazard direction can only mean one thing: We are probably at the end. We have gone round the creative loop in search of something that probably doesn’t exist, that we are now trying to make the seemingly absurd acceptable. 

What prompted this train of thought? A trio of t-shirts paraded by the Ukrainian designers behind the ‘Chakshyn’ brand during the on-going Kiev Spring 2017 shows, with inscriptions like “no seasons anymore”, “no beauty anymore”, and “no gender anymore”.

Individuality in fashion, has been the order of the day for a while now. Everyone wants to be himself or herself. The Internet has been blamed for ‘breaking’ the fashion system. But when we were without the internet, and when sameness in design ruled, was fashion better or worse? Even in the recent collections that designers send out, there’s a yearning for nostalgia; a longing for fashion decades of yore. You see the designs of fashion’s latest obsession – Alessandro Michele at Gucci – and you immediately think of the seventies. Why that reference of the past? Why that need to look back if we indeed know what we are doing and where we are going?

All of this uncertainty just means we need to slowdown and realize there is no need to rush. When the collections are sent out a season ahead from when they are needed, it still takes a while for the clothes to truly trend. So what really is the need for speed, so to speak?

One thing fashion needs to do right now to resolve all its issues is one simple thing: RELAX.

Author: Kayito Nwokedi