Ding Dong, Fashion’s Dead!

— Tue, 13th December 2011 —

Big news! Fashion is dead, says Kurt Andersen. Why? “In some large measure,” he writes in Vanity Fair, “it’s an unconscious collective reaction to all the profound nonstop newness we’re experiencing on the tech and geopolitical and economic fronts.” Merry Freakin’ Christmas! For guys, this news is an absolute godsend! … In the short-term, anyway, as it significantly reduces the likelihood of waking up one day with a closet full of polyester suits and flared bell-bottoms. Put another way, the death of fashion drastically reduces the time and money necessary to avoid looking like an idiot. Long term, Andersen suggests such cultural stagnation could represent the steady decline of Western Civilization… but, hey, we’ve got enough to worry about these days.

  1. in that regard, dining and the overall food ‘scene’ is dead as well…as ive been saying since the crash in 2008. no one is doing anything creative because there’s not enough money to fund anything interesting anymore. instead, you have a million types of burgers, fried chicken, offal…gourmet pizza.

    fashion is a little different but on the same track. i appreciate the avant garde design weirdo but its not for me. mens style rewards classic looks, well made with a modern fit.

    i find myself less and less interested in shopping because ive found the items i need in my wardrobe. its hard enough to find a quality fall coat that is well made and fits…i cant see finding another quite as easily.

    im rambling…but i agree. on the other hand, this is something that’s been occurring since 2007 to some extent.

  2. This is just wrong. The dude in 1992 would have been wearing cargo pants. Anyway, dudes have never been fashionable. In the nineties, men’s fashion was very Euro oriented. The most important American designer was Tom Ford, who worked for Gucci. The other two biggies were Helmut Lang and Prada. No one was talking about Americana. The American based designers who got some attention, like Gene Meyer and John Bartlett, were discussed in terms of having a body-conscious, “gay” aesthetic (no one will ever call Steven Alan “gay”). It was considered very smart to have a little stretch fabric in your shirts and pants, maybe even your suits. When was the last time you saw a suit with lycra in it? Ten years from now, we will have moved on again. It seems unlikely we will have another period as freaky as late sixties Victoriana or the seventies Peacock era, but you never know.

  3. Sure, Andersen’s painting in very broad strokes, but there’s truth to what he’s saying. You’re right, Steve, the dude in ’92 would have been wearing cargos (or a lycra-heavy suit), but there’s a TON of guys walking around in baggy cargos (and dancing in lycra suits at office parties) right now. The fact is that the rate at which clothing customs change has slowed in recent years, which has more recently been accompanied by a return to quality. No one knows how long these trends will last, but, the longer they do, the better off Beggar’s will be.

  4. I think a lot of it has to do with the actual production of goods. These days, we have more disposable, mass produced goods than ever before. We hit a point in history where suddenly it became so cheap to buy and replace things, that very few things are now made with an expectation of lasting. The other reason for this is that companies don’t want to make things too durable, as then they will only sell a product once or twice. So if you want to buy a top quality item, you no longer want to buy something short-lasting. Top quality goods are now more niche, small stores, and stores that can demonstrate quality as a value.

    Part of the reason for this is the interest in fashion by more and more people. The uncomparably rich will still buy disposable, expensive fashion, but for all the newly fashionable middle and lower class, they want something that will last them longer than the H&M shirt that fell apart after two weeks. Quality of goods is suspiciously lacking in their main choices, and so they consider good quality to be an indicator of value.

    Couple that with the rampant nostalgia for simpler times, which I think there are two main reasons for: 1) poor economy and advanced technology give us a world that is increasingly unpredictable, and 2) men have grown increasingly disenchanted with the post-feminist life, and hark for a better time when they ruled the world.

    The fall of the western world doesn’t help either.

  5. Self-expression isn’t dead, ergo fashion isn’t dead. What we’re seeing from a commercial perspective isn’t all that interesting right now because of the economic climate. Consumers are risk-averse and erring on the side of being conservative (when they are buying at all), hence designers are not showing much that’s interesting.
    Even so, jackets are shorter and pants more tapered than they were just a few years ago.

    Menswear has always been about evolution rather than revolution, but in fashion/style as with so many things, I think the diffusion of the new (and cycle time) has sped up, not slowed down. I could see a change in the “two-season” model of selling clothing a lot more easily than an “end to fashion”.

  6. Articles like this are purely anecdotal. This guy is talking about the way he sees things. There’s no evidence to back him up. In any case like this, you’ll find people who agree and people who disagree.

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