There’s a quote that goes thus, “the more things change, the more they stay the same”. For years, I have tried to wrap my head around what the true meaning of that statement might be. As a fashion fanatic, no truer words have been spoken about an industry accused of being very fickle.

At some point in our lives, we are well aware of our tastes. What we like or what we dislike. What makes us cringe or what makes us smirk. Sartorially, we unconsciously develop a ‘uniform’. Mine, for instance, consists of a pair of jeans or Bermuda shorts topped by a v-neck tee, a tunic, or casual button-downs. For someone in fashion, that doesn’t seem like much, but it is what I’m most comfortable in. I sometimes put on a suit in formal settings. Fashion soon christened my simple look as ‘normcore’. The question is, since I know what I like to wear, do I really need variations of my uniform in my wardrobe?

My love for fashion started about 10 years ago, via a tv show called ‘video fashion’. On one occasion, the New York-based designer Narciso Rodriguez, was showcasing his latest collection. There and then was when I decided fashion was what I wanted to do. I soon discovered I would religiously go through the collections of different designers. After a while, I discovered that these designers had a ‘look’. Rodriguez, for instance, was known for his rigorous approach to minimalism; he cuts a sheath dress like no other. At some point I could tell if a design of his walked by, without a need to look at the label. People often wondered how I could tell. But that’s the thing: why do we bother attending fashion shows when we already have an idea of what the designer might put out? Granted, ‘inspirations’ change for the said designer every season, but what’s the point if steadfast spectators already have an idea of the codes of the house?

The Same but Different : Left, Narciso Rodriguez Spring 2013. Right, Narciso Rodriguez Spring 2015.

Trends are the most recycled things in fashion. Magazine contents will inform you of the things you need in your wardrobe. Today it is stripes, tomorrow it may be animal print. The said trend becomes ubiquitous and is soon rendered obsolete within the same year. That same trend will come back about 2 years later as the latest thing in fashion. This pattern has gone on for years. The Newbies will follow. The Avid will scoff.

As humans, we crave for newness. Even when the same thing comes in different variations, it is applauded because it isn’t an exact. Designers concoct ‘new’ designs because of our volatile attention span, but who can blame them? We have instilled in them the idea that fashion needs to change every six months (now with the pre-fall and resort collections, it changes every three months). After all, fashion is a business and designers need to sell in order to survive.

In the end, endless change becomes tiresome and utter permanence is regarded as boring. Perhaps, a balance is what’s best.

Author: Kayito Nwokedi