Got Malaise?

Debating the meaning of fashion in January is just asking for trouble.

Perhaps it’s our Christmas shopping hangovers or those New Years resolutions to tackle our overflowing closets or maybe (excuse me) some Pollyannaish theorizing that we should stop accumulating and live more simply, but it seems the typically insatiable fashion media’s lust for consumerism has turned to ennui. Call it a break from the exhaustive attempt to lead readers to thoughtless splurges and instead to buy less – but better.

WWDs Rosemary Feitelberg asked “six innovative thinkers to pinpoint issues and opportunities into which fashion executives would be wise to tune.”

Illustrating the restrained mood of today’s more conscious consumer, John Ross, CEO of Interpublic-owned Shopper Sciences, offered, “Social media is also breeding social activism, adding a whole other layer to the shopping conversation.” He continues, “People are asking themselves if they are making responsible decisions. Is child labor being used? Are workers allowed to organize? Are health and safety practices in place?”

Then the New York Times extolled the practical virtues of convertible fashion in Ruth LaFerla’s article “Convertible Clothing Is a New Twist for the Cost-Conscious.” The article describes the trend of pieces worn “like soft-skinned transformers that can be hitched, tied, buttoned or draped to take on a variety of forms and uses.”

Referencing the demands and “inventiveness is an expression of a D.I.Y. mind-set,” LaFerla writes, “In a value-driven economy, fashions that can be tweaked to travel from workplace to gym and to cocktails are certainly compelling. And this trend, once perceived as a novelty at best, is attracting a new generation of light-traveling frequent fliers and canny frugalistas.”

Finally, the excellent Sarah Mower writes for Vogue an unusually wallet-friendly online guide to “reshuffling our own clothes and accessories” in “Do Try this at Home: Tweaks and Tricks to Make Your Wardrobe Work for Pre-Fall.” The accompanying slideshow advises us to recycle our existing stuff; like skinny ankle-cropped pants that “pair excellently with all the pointy stilettos you have somewhere in your wardrobe,” or that the tunic trend means “there could be a new whole new life for the short dresses which have been retired to the back of the closet” and lastly, stopping us from Goodwilling our old Ethnic prints by asking… “Own anything in paisley or ikat or the like? Haul it out right away.”

Rowena Ritchie

Rowena is EcoSalon’s West Coast Fashion Editor and currently resides in San Francisco, CA.