Cash on Clothes

Apart from the fact that fashion industry is cluttered by money and fame, creativity and innovation are thankfully still fostered by brilliant minds. These three emerging fashion houses’ refreshing take brings literal translations of commercial all over clothes; instead of regurgitating them in sales.

It is no new issue in the world of commercial fashion: designers start losing their creative influence in order to align the design with the saleability of the products. Departure after departure of creative directors is taken as usual event, a plain strategic move within the industry. Customers and industry insiders in general do not give a thorough second thought on why blossomed creative directors have to leave the throne albeit their strenuous effort in reviving the brand identity and latter, sales. A surging example that comes to mind is the matter of why Nicholas Ghesquière left the house he has risen from ashes, or why Hedi Slimane who was previously lost over the battle of Yves Saint Laurent, now comes back and rips the brand identity of YSL that had previously been re-shaped by Stefano Pilatti.

This causes the designers to push themselves harder to align both their vision and the shareholder’s vision, i.e. how to translate fashionable clothes to money.

In the consumers’ eyes, creative feud occupies a weak spot for they only think about whether the clothes they purchase can raise their statuses. Or which one will flatter their figure better. Even when the issue touches social level, such as the fire in Bangladesh factory, customers’ buying behaviour remains unaffected. This causes the designers to push themselves harder to align both their vision and the shareholder’s vision, i.e. how to translate fashionable clothes to money. On marketing and publication side, PRs stress their coverage more by dispatching invitations to potential buyers and potential influencers, no matter whether it is from certain class of society or niche bloggers, in the same hope of improving income. In other simpler words, a sale over creativity is the one who reigns.

Therefore when these three names sneak the value of money, as well as the physical appearance of it throughout their collection, awareness could be raised that fashion is as close to money as it is to beauty and art. Or so it seems. There is a mind blowing technique that belongs to architect-cum-designer Mary Katrantzou to mesmerise the audience—interpreting journey of stamps and money on dresses. The Acne Studios, in a similar direction to Katrantzou’s, partake wisdom in cashing their previous resort collection. Lastly, Fashion East as non-profit organisation rehearses world’s poverty and Fall/Winter pieces on the same stage.

Awareness could be raised that fashion is as close to money as it is to beauty and art.

Mary Katrantzou SS13

One could only talk by and large about how seemingly brilliant and rather sour, the way they raise the current economic condition to the flashing platform that is fashion. Being prominent with her technical approach to print, Mary Katrantzou spells the mantra of bank notes through threading its colours and textures to intricate detailing that is unusually seen at ready-to-wear. The bank notes production purpose of avoiding imitation is absorbed aesthetically, with layers of layers of protection provide a playground for Katrantzou to entwine fashion and its commercialism. The archetypal wealthy society cannot be helped but being portrayed. Imagine some rich ladies put on their uncountable bank notes as dresses.

acne studios resort 2013 (3)

Acne Studios waste no time in providing thought provoking pieces. As early as the previous cruise 2013 collection, currency becomes a dear object to be printed on trousers and blazers. Duplicating money is no longer a crime, although wearing the duplicated pieces risks the person to commit materialism. The use of printed currency on fabric is not entirely new, for during the decade of the nineties, a few similar styles can be found on catalogues and magazines. Maybe it is the free economy era anyway, that the Swedes expect people to pull off head-to-toe dollar bills printed match.

Fashion East FW '13

If Katrantzou and Acne promote money as objects of desire, Fashion East thinks otherwise. Giving platform for young designers to be wacky and break the boundaries of designing, last Fall/Winter presentation of the house offers contrasted view: handsome men in contemporary clothes posing in front of the trash bags. It is no longer cash on clothes but something that resembles anti-consumerism protests. The satirical affirmative probably lies not only in the contrasted presentation but also in the blank gaze of the models. A more important question then will be, do these designers aim for breaking commercial boundaries of fashion or instead deriving inspiration from money to even make more money?

Text: Gabriela Yosefina