On LFW A/W ’13…

back to the future II fashion

Despite a million Twitter hoaxes (seems like it anyway…) to the contrary, it’s just over two and a half years until the date that Marty McFly arrives in the future. Amidst all the poor grammar infested ‘It’s <insert year here> Where Is My Hoverboard Mattel?!’ Facebook groups and, admittedly interesting, articles about predictions Back to the Future II made that came true, sits the fact that haven’t made half the progress that Hollywood thought we would.

I can’t think of anywhere that this rings more true than the world of fashion. In case you live under a rock, or don’t follow anyone interesting on Twitter (which, let’s face it, is basically the same thing), it was London Fashion Week a couple of weeks ago. And I was nowhere to be found. Ignoring the fact that I’ve spent most of the past two days feeling flu-tastic and doped up on Lemsip, I wasn’t really that psyched for LFW anyway. And I think I’ve finally figured out the reason why.

Almost every comment about LFW…scratch that, almost every comment about mainstream fashion in general contains the word ‘revival’ – everything these days seems to be ‘Gatsby-esque’ or ’60s influenced’ or ‘rave inspired’. With the exception of fringe designers like J.W. Anderson, who recently made headlines with a line of skirts and dresses for men, mainstream fashion is starting to feel stale.

Back to the Future II fashion

It’s difficult to come up with my reasoning for the above statement, especially given I’m not sure whether I’m the only one feeling it or not. My argument that ‘everything is harking back to something else’ wasn’t even for my friend Sian, who always steers clear of LFW. ‘Well, yes,’ she said, ‘but that’s always been the case. So it can’t just be that.’* So what IS it then?

* I still think the BTTF II sketch above, which talks about ‘having no basis in anyone else’s work’, is quite revealing – it’s different to imagine any contemporary designer saying they’re doing something that’s never been done before and actually believing it.

With practically every show, cupcake, backstage makeup artistry and goodie bag Instagrammed and blogged to death within five minutes of them ending. I often found myself thinking ‘ugh, why are people still talking about that?’ about certain outfits, before realising they’d made their debut only a couple of hours ago. Yes, this may be true of all news in the 21st century, but the desire of bloggers to¬†casually mention that you’re ‘FROW-ing’ on every social media channel they’ve used since the age of five means it’s hitting fashion pretty badly.

Stay fresh, however hard that is. Otherwise, you might get left behind…


  1. Sian

    I guess we didn’t get much chance to discuss, given that it was cold and I was on my way to buy milkshakes for everyone in the office…

    Now I’ve thought about it some more, I still don’t think harking back to the past is a bad thing – every artist is inspired by someone, or something greater than himself. It’s not just harking back to the past for major design houses, it’s something more, but I think that gets lost in translation by (social) media. A new take on a rare Ossie Clark print, an update of Dior’s New Look, I don’t think these are bad things, far from it. But once it’s diluted down into 140 characters, it’s ’60s inspired’ or ‘Gastby-esque’ rather than anything Art Deco. I don’t think it does the designers any favours, especially given that their inspiration can come from anywhere. What is more interesting is fashion illustration – someone like Emma Block, who spend a little more time after the shows working on her drawings, she has time to think a little more and to really try and capture what the designer was trying to convey. I think it works in such a quick industry.

    Maybe the problem isn’t the collections, it’s how people (and the media) simplify them and turn them into a commodity rather than art. We’re so quick to share something, we don’t stop to look at it properly.

  2. Ceri

    Yes so agree. Trying to simplify everything into a must have trend doesn’t work anymore (if it ever has). I don’t think that there is anything wrong with styles from the past, in fact I love many of the looks from the fifties, sixties and seventies, but I agree there are so many watered down designer looks (trends) on the high street it gets a bit boring. I think mainstream has had its day, individualism is the new mainstream, with so much more knowledge of what is out there via social media, live streaming etc, we now have the freedom to pick and choose the looks we want with out being dictated to or having it classified into trends for us. I don’t think there really are trends any more.

  3. Moi Contre La Vie

    Interesting piece! Did you read the Suzy Menkes piece or The Man Repellers “rebuttal?”

    It feels like this season more than any in recent memory the *good* fashion bloggers are taking a moment to reflect about where we’ve arrived and where the future of fashion/fashion blogging is heading. Food for thought!

    • stu

      I did read Menkes, thought she sounded kinda stuck in the past! In some weird way, bloggers being more (even if I do give them some stick sometimes!) more to fashion weeks than the events themselves…