MMSCENE: YOUTH IN REVOLT

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Fashion industry archives itself into decades, while it is undoubtedly on a sort of a crossroads QUADE AU questions the direction of the current fashion era, and discovers highlights bearing the shape of the history books to come.

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Like the wrinkles under a person’s eyes or the wear and tear in a vintage coat, age always tells a story – and although oftentimes subtle it’s influence and charm has always been the recurring thread sewn within clothes. Similar to how one is able to gage an understanding of who someone is based on their appeal, the same principle can be applied to history and fashion.

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Nowadays, we are able to recognise the difference between vintage and hipster and how both independently tell their own tale of time, we can identify which decade a garment was made from and then differ those that were inspired by that decade and we can even now understand the narrative in which designers design from and its social relevance on both time and their consumer.

The seventies were an age of punk where most of the younger generation were dressed in ripped plaid pants – and less than a decade later disco took the norm and people suddenly replaced their studded leather jackets with neon outerwear. But even if you were to exclude the influence of music on clothing – the relationship between history and fashion have always been connected in some sort of manner. By simply observing people on the streets nowadays and comparing their wear and overall stylistic rules to a decade ago – there are notable differences in trends and how things are interpreted. Not along ago athletic wear was something considered only for exercise means and moments that would not signify any sense of fashion faux pas – yet now athletic wear sits alongside street style in today’s dress culture and has slowly rebranding itself as athleisure where sneakers are presently just as in demand as stilettos and dress shoes.


This sudden rise of comfort in wear has created a new movement on how society will be looked back upon in years to come. This growing popularity of athleisure is consistently being showcased by the younger generations on both their social platforms and wardrobe choices – so much so that established fashion houses are capitalizing on this new cultural change and collaborating with less notably brands in an attempt to remain relevant with the time and demographic. The elites of haute couture are now extending their label to reach a market that they would typically not address – Karl Lagerfeld recently announced an unexpected partnership with sneaker company Vans launching an affordable loafer range featuring his iconic portrait logo, Louis Vuitton have now collaborated with skateboarding label Supreme on a series of runway collections heavily featuring their street  branding and Tom Ford mostly regarded for his red carpet designs debuted sport wear in amongst his New York Fashion week showcase – these youth marketed concepts could not have been fathomed ten years ago when fashion was an idea only for the high class but with current technology enabling an immediate voice, opinions are heard and now catered too.

The influences of everyday will somehow always be acknowledged in the fabric of fashion, it will eventually filter down to consumer wallets and in their own artistic right serve as a metaphor for what was happening at the time. When news broke that the Iraq war was going into motion, a sense patriotism swept the western world and military inspired clothing coincidentally began appearing in department store windows; likewise to modern day a new movement of youth influence has entered the market and changed the trajectory of design houses.

Unable to afford the lavish price tags of designer labels, younger folks have for a long time had to make do with what was accessible to them- converting ready to wear into their own individual street style, yet with communication evolving at the unprecedented rate it is, the voices of youth are being heard more than ever before and are now the current projection of trend- giving birth to commercial designer wear.

In today’s era where social media is sometimes deemed just as important as education, younger folks are now unashamed of their opinions and can instantly communicate their needs and wants with ease. With the inability to access designer wear, a need for affordability was generated and consequently led individuals to showcase their dress sense in their own economical way which seemingly took the fashionable spotlight away from designers whom for the longest time led the forecast with supermodels and wealth. In an attempt to revive their social reputation amongst the market and once again reign the fashionable community – designers have gradually begun expanding their products to meet youth demands and most recently have began collaborating with outlet stores producing products to reach a wider demand. Today, brands such as H&M and Puma are now just as relevant to the industry as the likes of Burberry and Balmain due to their ability to afford products of a lower price that mass audiences are niche and consuming in high volume.

Youth and the immediacy of technology will leave its mark on history through garments but also be remembered by the way in which fashion will be documented. The globalisation of technology has resulted in ideas and opinions to be immediately communicated which in turn sparked a new age of thinking where almost everything is open for scrutiny and praise. As soon as a designer showcases a runway that includes only Caucasian women an uproar for diversity will soon hit the internet, if a publishing house is brave enough to feature fur within their pages a social protest is inevitable. The caution the fashion industry is currently working under is to appease the young commentators and to subtly secure themselves a status of relevance and on trend. Although not blatantly acknowledged in wear, youth and the immediacy of communication is shaping the fashion industry slowly and impacting the way history will remember our time.

This growing social trend of youth mentality is circulating the industry and breaking former boundaries that are now emplacing new expectations of wear, ethics and design. Youth is today, youth is being heard – youth is in revolt.

Text by Quade Au

photography and styling Lepka and Matenska
model Mael at 16Men Paris

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