It’s fashion week in Milan for men. That can only mean one thing… more ridiculous over the top experiments by eccentric fashion designers.
What do you think?
Notice the icicles and fake beards on the men? I really wonder what our ancestors would think of these choreographed runways. What would Ernest Shackleton, the famed British Antartic Explorer coming back from his heroic survival after months on the frozen seas of Antartica think of a fashion week where men put on fake beards and icicles?
What has happened to us as men? What does this reflect on our society? What does fashion tell us about ourselves? That is a bit scary in my opinion.
Ever heard of Moore’s Law? The premise is that technology is supposed to double around every four years. I’ve wondered if that affect could be happening in clothing and fashion as well. Here is a thought on that…
For the first few million years of our existence, we were basically living in the nude. Or for those of us who believe in the Adam and Eve story, it also starts in the nude. Birthday suits were standard issue either side you believe.
Then animal skins became the fad for thousands of years. No fall seasons or spring collections yet. Just a simple deerskin on your body day and night.
This worked for awhile. But then some guy that probably got joked on by his buddies for even the mention of it, decided to try an elk hide instead of the deer. A big risk I’m sure at the time since for the first thousands of years, no one would question the deer hide as the choice. A few thousands of years later, a few natives experimented with bird feathers on their head. First guy got laughed at again, but after 500 years, it was adopted by all. Then one kid took a bear claw and put it around his neck. The village went nuts, fathers talked about the 10,000 years of just deer skins, but somehow everyone started wearing them.
Then came those prideful Greeks. They thought wrapping a sheet around their body made of cotton might bring back the freedom that those deer skin stole. Be a little more free down below less constricting. Adoption to this was much quicker. Again Moore’s Law of fashion. Instead of thousands of years, this was caught on only after a few hundred. Conservatives grumbled it was all brought on by this dangerous progressive thinking. But while there were a few different sheet colors, it was the same sheet.
Things started doubling and much faster by this time. Turn around in fashion was in centuries now. And then somewhere around the 1900’s all that started doubling so fast it got us to the rate we are today. As Oscar Wilde writes, “Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.”
In all seriousness, here is what I want to make a case for; be a man of style, not fashion. Style is timeless. Fashion is not. Style has an anchor to it, while fashion changes with the prevailing wind.
We need to evolve and change. If not, we would still be wearing deer skin. But go slow. Nothing was meant to change over in six months. That's mostly insecurity and consumerism. Style will have you in clothes you can wear for a decade. The other puts you in frozen beard icicles.
A friend and I were discussing the other day why clothing falls apart so easily and isn't made with great quality anymore. Could it be that we don't need it to? It isn't made to last because we only need it for six months. It's made more like a kleenex to be used and thrown away. What if clothing was actually designed with style for a decade or two and manufactured to last that long as well?
We need to step back into that.
Like anything in life, there are two extremes in clothing. Non-engagement (tube socks and generic shirts) or the opposite… which I would consider those pictures above.
You don’t need to be the first to adopt something or the last. Not because you are afraid to fit in, but because usually there is something true about traditions and the past. And yet, there is always room to be fresh and new. Evolve slowly.