2020 has been an interesting year; the Australian bushfires, the Coronavirus pandemic, Black Lives Matter rallies, Trump’s impeachment. So many things have happened and so often we have jumped on the bandwagon but how long do we stay on for the ride? Like fashion, politics is a trend, it is fused with a mix of passion and poison. But when a trend dies back, we often adjust our wardrobe for the newest styles. It is the same with our actions and opinions and it is the same in the fashion industry when newsworthy topics come to light. This action you ask? The action of fad fashion.
With everything that has happened last year I think the most important thing that 2020 has brought human kind is the need for community. Whether that be in isolation, in relation to racism or even going out to save the wildlife and your home, 2020 has been a definitive year of our lives. How are we going to progress to 2021, and who will we progress with? Will we traverse with the same people for the same causes or will we have found something new and go with it?
Bandwagons: the ride through 2020
When I talk about community I mean, the people you know that have made you the person you are. 2020 began with a blaze, what I think was an omen of the need to renew and a sign of the year to come.
Scorching over 17.9 million acres of land (by January 2020), ‘Black Summer’ as the Australian bushfires are so accurately referenced, decimated ecosystems, threatened the extinction of unique species and killed a sizeable amount of the human population. Spanning for a year before dying down – a fact not all of us probably knew with the shift of media focus to the Coronavirus pandemic – the Australian bushfires are a brilliant symbol of fad fashion. Defined by close focus on important issues and then the shift when something new comes along, it is a great example of our need to change.
When I talk of fad fashion I reference the fleeting nature of defining something important within the industry or the world and then swiftly moving on. I mean token gestures. News and fashion are a trend but why do we let ourselves get sucked into their media frenzy and discard our opinions, knowledge and friends as though they were last season’s shoes when something new and shiny comes along? As James Phillips said; ‘If you see the bandwagon you’ve missed it’. This is a cycle that never stops and it is an affront to our community. An affront to the world because the world with all its vastness and diversity is our community. And all it suggests about us it that we do not really care.
The light brigade: Taking the stand
As humans it is in our nature to grab on to the ‘hip’ thing and ride it for all it is worth. But are there things we attach ourselves to, things we really care about and would want to see through until change has occurred?
We have all heard of the Black Lives Matter movement that has been present for many years but has really had its peak during the Covid-19 pandemic. This topic is one that has caused a lot of conflict – an understatement but also true – and has touched everyone worldwide. In relation to jumping on the bandwagon Heath Mizeur asks, ‘Shouldn’t we be the light brigades rather than the bandwagon?’ Yes. We should do something about the causes that we jump on and make a difference.
Example: ‘For once, don’t do it’; do not ignore the injustice that plagues the world every day – the Nike campaign on Black Lives Matter. Nike has been an advocate for diversity in fashion for years and is always pressing to keep the topic relevant but not every brand does this. Some merely hitch a ride with the bandwagon and get off at the next stop. This is the definition of fad fashion, it is like a one night stand and while that may be perfectly fine for some, it does not advocate sustainable change or a commitment to a steady future.
The fractured mirror: Fad fashion picking through the pieces
Racism has always been a rife debate within the fashion industry. We are ever looking to diversify our marketing whether that be from; models, style, prints, or cultural inspiration. But the things we see go around on a loop and there are other things that need talking about. For instance, support to black-owned businesses and designers. Did you know that due to the Black Lives Matter campaign sections of the industry have been working with people of colour to support black-owned business and better diversify the market from the origins of fashion? Right now, I’m sure you’re thinking; ‘Brilliant, but why is this only just happening?’
The answer: Black Lives Matter. This movement is such a phenomenal thing, it has promoted inclusions and diversity and shared compassion, but it has also brought forth a lot of pain. We have been reminded of the ugly mars of history which we have tried to forget and have come to feel guilty of the goings on of the past. Great – if we need to feel guilty we should – but why try to forget the past with actions now, when we can learn from it and think of how our actions will create sustainable change for the future?
We should look to the Pollock splatter canvas of colour that is the truth of our community as opposed to the fractured mirror that cuts out the majority of the world which is constantly presented to us. We should integrate ourselves as members of that community; not sit in fear on the sidelines or attach ourselves to a trend for a while and then move on. When it comes to media coverage – in this case in relation to fashion – we should not pick through the pieces of life to make a collage of what we think is the world. We should walk out of our door and take a look at our community, actually become a part of it. That is our world, not a fashion trend. And isn’t fashion or more likely style meant to be forever?
Community: It’s bigger than you think
I suppose you’re wondering what this has to do with ‘community’. Okay, well, fact: community is not just our town, street, or friendship groups. It is not just our race, religion, or gender. Community is the interspersing of all no matter their differences. It is what you see every time you walk out of your door. Community is black, Asian, white, queer, working class, disabled, plus-size, everyone; working together and supporting each other for the future.
As the foreground of 2020 the umbrella of ‘community’ has established a kaleidoscope of colour inspiration and human actions. It has made us grateful for the little things. While we have suffered through a tilt-a-whirl of love, hate, pleasure, and pain; we now see that issues like racism, disease control, environmental protection and climate change are not simply ‘over there’ but right in front of us. We can now see that we need to make sustainable change.
How? Breaking the chains of old and making ones of new.
The chain: Will it snap with the death of fad fashion?
But these new chains are no reference to slavery or ownership; or if they are, they refer to owning ourselves and being assertive about our own progress. Fad fashion is a flaw on the ideal of fashion which encourages freedom, beauty, and being bold. 2020 has offered us the opportunity to be consciously in partnership with the ugliness of society and change it. We now have the opportunity to view the world and integrate ourselves to better it. Through environmental change, health care provision, anti-racism rallies; however we choose. We now have the chance to pick up our paintbrushes and make our own splatter canvas. To create positive sustainable change which will reflect our communities, ourselves, and our world. How will we traverse into 2021; with colour or without?