Fashion Déjà Vu: Examining Repetition and Nostalgia in the Industry

Fashion lost its spark – How can we make Fashion exciting again?

Some of the recent runway shows in the fashion capitals have recently concluded. In New York, fashion enthusiasts once again celebrated, and Milan has just begun its shows. However, there seems to be something missing. It’s not the presence of onlookers, influencers, designers, and models, as the industry is thriving. When we reflect on the recent runway shows and peruse various fashion outlets discussing collaborations, current releases, and designs, one might have noticed that fashion feels somewhat monotonous at the moment. (Bold statement, we know.) While some may attribute this feeling of boredom to the constant stream of information we expose ourselves to, and that may indeed be true, it’s undeniable that fashion is currently somewhat repetitive if we look at it with an open mind.

Did fashion get meh?

Let’s examine some recent examples: For Couture 2022, Dior adhered to its traditions by presenting new look-inspired designs on the runway. Chanel showcased tweet sets (quite shocking), and Balenciaga featured Kim Kardashian in a striking all-black, skin-tight outfit (something we definitely haven’t seen before on Instagram).

However, it’s not just the current fashion happenings that have become predictable. There is a strong sense of nostalgia for the wonders of fashion happening right now. We constantly reference iconic moments from the 80s-era Mugler and the birth of grunge in the 90s (in all its Marc Jacobs glory). But why aren’t we inspired by what’s right in front of us? Has there been a single moment captured on Instagram or YouTube in the past few years that will significantly shape the future of fashion?

Fashion certainly operates in cycles, but in the past, we used to talk about decades. Under the pressure of pursuing business profits and catering to impatient consumers who constantly crave novelty, the creation process of fashion has become more commercial than a fusion of passion, inspiration, and originality. Is this a bad thing? Perhaps from the perspective of a fashion enthusiast who eagerly anticipates fashion shows each season. Our culture has lost its reverence and respect for fashion, style, and design. The most exciting development in fashion has been the resurgence of minimalism and understated dressing. The use of architectural design holds significance, as does the positive utilization of technology in creating new materials through 3D printing, such as Adidas recycling fabrics and Iris Van Herpen’s alien couture.

A hope for something new

But hold on, before anyone gives up on fashion out of despair, there are those who are doing it right and not entirely depriving us of hope for an exhilarating future. Take, for example, CPHFW. At Copenhagen SS23, more brands than ever attempted to be more diverse in their model casting, and their efforts didn’t go unnoticed.

The internet has been applauding CPHFW since early last week, with the hashtag #cphfw amassing a staggering 63.4 million views on TikTok alone. Compilation videos showcasing the various runways, behind-the-scenes moments, and collection reviews have thrust this season’s presentation into the spotlight, with many commenters praising the brands’ commitment to inclusivity. GANNI’s SS23 presentation, titled ‘JOYRIDE,’ was a heartfelt tribute to Copenhagen’s most popular mode of transport: the bicycle. Ditte Reffstrup, the brand’s Creative Director, explained that her daily commute on her bike through the city provided her with the best creative inspiration: ‘There’s an indescribable feeling about being in the city during summertime; the energy is vibrant, and it truly gets your heart racing,’ shared Creative Director Ditte Reffstrup. Models were welcomed on the runway riding bicycles or walking, showcasing 30 looks that played with curved lines, prints, oversized silhouettes, bold colors, and plenty of denim. Making a grand entrance with an extravagant party, Copenhagen-based brand Rotate drew inspiration from the mother-daughter duo Lisa Bonet and Zoë Kravitz for their SS23 presentation, resulting in a collection rich in style reminiscent of the 90s and 00s.

Glitter, gauze, and glossy textures took center stage, with models dressed in low-slung trousers, faux-fur coats, and midriff-flossing bralettes. Rotate skillfully incorporated cut-outs to create alluring silhouettes, accentuated by vibrant bursts of color, light-catching sparkles, sheer fabrics, and lace. Body diversity was celebrated, with plus-size, muscular, and slim models all gracing the runway in jaw-dropping ensembles. Taking place in the gardens of the Danish Design Museum, AERON’s SS23 collection marked a significant step in the brand’s broader strategic realignment towards becoming a responsible luxury knitwear leader. The collection showcased year-round staple pieces with a classic yet modern design. So, how can we reignite excitement in fashion? Perhaps excitement doesn’t solely come from new designs, sneaker releases, or state-of-the-art collections. Maybe we should find excitement in a new generation of designers and consumers who prioritize inclusivity, diversity, and accessibility in fashion.