In the fashion industry, we work to inspire. Each season, we see designers strive to create collections that continue to build on the aesthetic of their brand and to also push the boundaries that others have set before them. Yet in a world where we are becoming more accepting of the unconventional and more willing to follow our intuition rather than trends, it becomes harder for designers to create influence.
Trends work on a circular timeline, as every few years we often see familiar styles making their way back onto the runways. With this structure set it can be hard for designers to break the mould and bring in those unconventional ideas that will either make or break it. This is the reason why we are seeing the idea of style and trends evolve. Rather than telling us what to expect, designers are fulfilling our expectations. Our acceptance has made us more open to change and difference, something we expect to see in fashion. Accordingly, brands are providing us with the styles that they believe will help continue to inspire our individuality.
So it was no surprise that for the season of Spring/Summer 2016, designers were looking for that point of difference. A season that comes with the notion of being typically bright and feminine, designers gave their all to make it anything but. We saw the use of unconventional silhouettes to create fashion that was genderless and alluring. It didn’t define the wearer, but defined the way in which fabric and technical pattern cutting could be used to create the look of futuristic fashion that was in fact more aligned to the present. We also saw how designers are drawing us in through the use of texture. Not only do we want to see, but we also want to feel. The use of texture also plays a role in creating those unconventional structures we mentioned. However, as designers are creating bold designs they are also educating us. Technology has allowed for this industry to grow and it will continue to allow designers, both fashion and textile, to develop tools we could never have fathomed. It is because of technology that designers are able to take more risks and challenge the conventional methods of fashion.
So let’s take a look at how designers today are playing on these new ideas and creating trends that are changing the game of fashion.
In today’s fashion, we tend to see collections taking either feminine or androgynous forms. Dresses are often nipped in at the waist, accentuating the female form, and loose fitted and softly tailored suits create the androgynous look popular with so many. However, as our ideals continue to evolve, so does the notion that fashion needs to have any form at all. In many SS16 collections designers were able to create silhouettes that stepped away from conventional images of shape, and by not allowing the silhouette to define the wearer. Paris based label, Aganovich used deconstructed and angular shapes to create a modern yet elegant look. Fabric draped around the body, created great amounts of volume, particularly seen in skirts and dresses where the fabric framed the torso. Layered styles combined with the use of contrasting tones; helping to accentuate the weight of the structure, again drawing attention to the torso.
Then there was Anne Sofie Madsen’s SS16 collection, which challenged all ideas of construction and form. Garments were oversized and asymmetrical, yet the use of neutral tones aided them from potentially becoming too overbearing. What also helped was the contrast of soft fabrics to the heavy layering, which created a look that was both mesmerising and seductive. Her ability to create fluidity between the harsh and soft contrasts enabled her to successfully demonstrate the unconventional structures we all desperately want to see.
Texture is nothing new to the runways during fashion week. Designers often use texture to create an effect that colour and structure cannot do alone. Yet it is how texture is continuously used to draw onlookers in that is most effective and something we often saw in the SS16 collections. In Bernard Chandran’s collection we saw how the use of feathery and soft details can provide contrast to electrifying and metallic fabrics. A collection that in both shape and tone gave off a futuristic vibe, the use of texture was able to bring it back down to earth.
Then there was Issey Miyake whose use of texture was seen not only in their iconic pleating, but in the use of fringing. Fabric ends were delicately frayed to give the soft and alluring touch of fringing. It gave many of the looks, especially those woven in bold reds, blues and greens, a more natural and raw feel. Inspired by lively tropical plants, the use of texture helped this collection achieve everything it wanted.
Technology In Fashion
Technology in the fashion industry has come so far. It first changed the way we shop, but now it is changing everything from the way we construct fabrics to the way we construct garments. This season, designers exposed us to the way technology could be used to create texture and form within the garment. This is evident in the SS16 RTW collection for Issey Miyake. A brand who is now directing their focus on being more innovative within technology, by adopting new techniques to create texture and shape. This new process is known as 3D stretch steam, which folds fabric into origami like shapes and patterns. It also can be used to create the iconic pleats which integral to the brands image. As Yoshiyuki Miyamae, Issey Miyake’s head womenswear designer, said ‘we want to keep our position as an innovative company among the fashion brands in the world… We want to tell everyone that we take importance in being innovative with technology and coming up with new ideas from it.’
As well the use of technology to create shape, we are seeing the use of old techniques to create texture. Rahul Mishra’s SS16 collection saw the use of 3D embroidery to create a “fourth dimension” to his collection. The Delhi based designer has been able to use his collection to “enhance 3-D with human hands”. Whilst technology is often perceived as being somewhat “robotic”, Mishra proves that the fundamentals of 3D technology were built on what could be created by hand.
This is an exciting period of time for fashion. Designers, from the established to the up and coming, are redefining what we see as trends and most importantly style. They are providing us with the means for great and individual style, something that we each strive for. If this is what Spring/Summer 2016 has brought us thus far, we’re excited to see what is to come.