Which came first, the clothes or the fashion?
It’s not simple like a chicken-and-egg problem.
As I am writing this, and all of you were devoting your time to reading this, we are people who like clothes, fashion, shopping, et cetera. (maybe excessively). However, it would be best to think about which one you want more, clothes or fashion. If you doubt whether you should distinguish the two, and if you are in or wish to be in this industry, you may want to think twice or thrice. In addition, it is necessary to foresee which direction this industry will follow.
Clothing is the real thing we can touch and wear every day, but people merely can see fashion on the screen. Even if we say the “real field” beyond the screen, can we call it the fashion? Fashion may be just a concept floating skin-deeply. However, to dismiss it as an illusion, this “fashion” has already gone beyond its essence, the clothes. It doesn’t affect the clothes themselves; it’s changing people’s perceptions of clothes.
Recently, we have communicated only through images. Except for pure visual expression, restrictions such as 15 seconds and 140 characters have been adhered to if other languages such as text and dialogue are to intervene. No matter how much humans have progressed to become lazier, I can’t erase the thought that now it is enough. I cannot be optimistic about a situation where only overly intuitive and comprehensible methods prevail.
The biggest problem with this aspect is that it doesn’t allow us time for acceptance. It does not allow time to fully accept the information I have received, like an immersive exhibition that disappears without allowing the time required for each to appreciate it. Although it is a bit far from the future that George Orwell envisioned in 1949, we may already be controlling our time and space differently.
Thanks to that, I have to ask a question like the title of this article. The traditional fashion design process can only design clothes and cannot cover fashion. So far, clothes in the fashion design industry have been the medium of fashion designers, and designers have put their preferences, backgrounds, political opinions, social events, et cetera into their clothes. In the past, once a designer completed the presentation successfully, it was enough to take care of things like sales and inventory management. Since the collections go through the process of continuous reproduction and re-consumption in SNS, designers need to think about how their clothes will look as much as what they will show. . They have to consider how their clothes can be consumed and recreated in a secondary or tertiary way (or can their clothes participate in such reproduction).
‘TikTok Couture’, which appears in the article attached at the bottom, is the keyword that best explains the reversal of the relationship between clothes and fashion. This word does not simply mean that the TikTok platform determines the trend. The images of garments (trend or style) consumed on TikTok deconstruct clothes in a different meaning from the deconstruction fashion in fashion history. And it further shortens the lifespan of a fad that has already made us question whether it is too fast.
The pace of these microtrends now matches that of fast fashion, or what’s now known as “ultra-fast fashion,” (…) When a certain style or product goes viral on TikTok, that item will often be sold out by the time the video is seen by the most amount of people. — Fashion is just TikTok now by Rebecca Jennings
Fashion is just TikTok now
This story is part of a group of stories called Here is a list of fashion trends that, according to TikTok, are…
In a place where things like this “ultra-fast fashion” are taking place, we cannot look at clothes with only the images of clothes that are visible for a brief moment. For 15 seconds we can’t look at clothes. We can only roughly capture the “current trend”. Designers’ expressions are useless in a world where they jump on the hook for a second before this short fad, described as a ‘microtrend’ in the article above. What are style’s aesthetics, origins, and designers? We cannot expect online discourse about such things from “fashion” fragmented in seconds and clothes trapped in a square frame.
What if the metaverse went beyond social media and became the future of the fashion industry and all humankind? It’s hard to comment on a technical field like programming, but if I dare to add an opinion, is it necessary to stick to the physics of reality or the form of a ‘“real body” in this virtual reality? If there is no need to do so, there is a high possibility that the behavioural pattern there will also be naturally different from that in the real world. Would the skills and knowledge related to traditional fashion design — body proportions, pattern cutting, textile science, et cetera — be useful? To exaggerate a little more, we may have to change the concept of the body itself. A new body inevitably invites new gestures. Let’s consider that we can reenact the movements of game characters or the actions of the main characters in movies using CG in reality.
If so, how will clothes and fashion develop in such a situation? We are already familiar with clothes in virtual reality. Where did the recent advancement into the luxury industry — such as Louis Vuitton’s League of Legends collection and Balenciaga’s collaboration with Fortnite — come from? Our first digital costume purchase was through the in-game avatar costume. Of course, it doesn’t roll like this now.
Nowadays, moving beyond the concept of avatars includes rendering digital clothing on real-world photos (are photos that capture reality actual?) or selling clothing design files and programs. Indeed, clothes are becoming increasingly fragmented, and fashion is gradually expanding its possibilities. The fashion industry has been selling fantasies to people for a long time, and now only fantasies remain, and clothes are becoming irrelevant. Even in the digital world, the fundamental limitation, which is the human body, has disappeared, making it easier to create “fantasy”.
Is it okay to keep watching the separation of clothes and fashion as it is now? Obviously, digital clothes have already become familiar to the public through the game industry, and it seems that they are trying to take a direction through a transitional period with things like NFT, blockchain, and the metaverse. But, going back to the beginning of the article, I think that at least those who will read this article will love the ‘clothes’ we wear. Industrial development, fashion design expansion, everything is fine. But in the end, the most important thing is the enjoyment of clothes and wearing, and I believe this pleasure has led this industry until now.
Nevertheless, if we let the reality that clothes disappear and only the images of fashion are being replaced, the concept of wearing clothes may disappear soon thanks to the development of technology. Will people dress according to their bodies in an environment without reality? If it is an environment that does not need a natural body, if there is no substance of clothes and only a programmed language is floating around, they can set the body type in their ideal, wear fashionable clothes at the moment, and leave a record like a polaroid. The situation is already changing. In reality, at least we had to classify the size of clothes and accept the diversity of the body. It is a matter of unifying the human body. From the picture below, Are there ‘clothes’ here? Is there a ‘human body’ and diversity of the body?
Actually, does the metaverse need clothes or something? If the brand is good, wouldn’t it be okay if the body itself became a Louis Vuitton or Rolex? — fashionboop