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Fashion week; empowering, or just plain unrealistic?

Fashion week arrived and the glitz and glamour was impossible to avoid. With model selfies and designers taking over social media, at every turn we were confronted by the coming season’s hottest trends. This season championed experimentation, self confidence and the importance of being fearless with fashion. But is fashion week simply an event to show us what we, the ordinary, can’t have?

This time of year is meant to be empowering, as fashion houses present their best work, and the world is once again reminded of the power and presence of the industry. Fashion week says that anything goes. You are given license to wear the blue eyeliner you’ve never had the guts to pick up and embrace the clashing patterns you thought only a child could wear. The Milan catwalks saw cardboard boxes worn on the Fendi catwalk, and toilet roll as handbags at Moschino. We also saw gowns and skirts galore, as we are told to embrace the dress, in a period where femininity is being redefined. It is a spectacle, something beautiful to look at, and long for from afar. But always from afar.

I love watching catwalks and scouring magazines, for weeks after the event, to pick out my dream wardrobe. But the fact is, it’s just a dream. Sadly, student loans don’t cover Prada. We need to be reasonable and accept that not all catwalk fashion is destined for your walk to Tesco. Just as you don’t buy floor length dresses for lectures, most people don’t buy off the catwalk for their everyday. It is easy to put down catwalk fashion. But first we must understand it. It is art. Nice to look at, but unpractical. It’s important to remember that fashion houses, like Ralph Lauren, have a collection for the catwalk and then in store clothing for day to day wear. This has been done for a reason.

That’s why the industry has developed, to trickle catwalk looks down into mainstream fashion, and onto the highstreet. You’ll see in the following months the movement of fashion week trends popping up in your local shops. See the ruffles from last season in Zara and the slogan tees in Topshop. That is highstreet, that is for the likes of us.

Because, like anything, there are different levels and most people are not on the level that allows you to buy right off the catwalk. Above your average catwalk you have haute couture which is even less attainable, even for Hollywood stars and the filthy rich. You can buy couture or a car; I know which is a more pressing purchase for most. But instead of becoming frustrated, we must try to understand the industry. These are luxury goods.

They are unattainable for most, and that’s what makes them alluring and their fashion houses so successful. Chanel bags have been said to be a better investment than most property. That is nothing to be scoffed at. These belongings are valuable and hold that value, despite the fashion industry often being branded as frivolous and concerned with the temporary.

Fashion week is an acquired taste. As we gaze at the week’s catwalks in our Primark leggings, the division between us and them has never been so clear. High fashion is unattainable for most, and I’m sorry, but that’s the point.

16/03/2017

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sophiebunce


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