I haven’t been here as long as some other people, and even as long as some members of my family, and I’m sure there are some members of my family who think I’ve been here too long!!!!
But I’ve been here long enough to see several trends come and go and see what happens at the beginning, middle and at the end (without Jim Morrison)! As a matter of fact, I’ve been a student of fashion longer have a student of sewing. I love fashion, and to be honest, it’s what drove me to sewing. There weren’t too many couture shops in my rural town in the Northeast part of my state – – so I had to make it or else lose that idea of being fashionable!
From the shoulder pads of the 40’s to the shoulder pads of the 80’s. Fashion is always and will always be cyclical.
When a trend like this starts, then it goes more advanced.
Till it finally goes to the extreme. Then fashion wants something new (so do the consumers, fashion editors, designers and marketers).
Enter the Grunge – no opulence, no shoulder pads (as a matter of fact they look like the garments were made to wear with pads, but the pads were taken out and shoulders were meant to look sloppy and that looked more modern).
This is the swing of fashion. And just as Grunge came in as a complete fresh look to the opulence of the 80’s, so we are now going through the same trend-setting start that happened in the early 90’s.
The frayed edges are old; the busted out knees in jeans are boring; the mis-matched tops, jackets and pants are too common; androgyny is trite; and the cheap, sloppy look is predictable. These are the signs (old, boring, common, trite, predictable) that change is near.
Now we see feminine, lace, see-thru, emphasis on waist (albeit higher than natural waist), fuller skirts…..SKIRTS!!!!! Then not so much pants, dresses and this version is edgy still – there’s the hint of an in-your-face femininity. It’s not the old-fashioned frilly 1950’s look, but it is inspired by that June Cleaver look, only there’s an edgy accessory that June Cleaver never would have worn.
It’s like the early 90’s and the trend is just starting, but what you do get a lot of when you’re looking at fashion – on the street and on the runway, is that designers and consumers are tired of sloppy, torn, ripped, ill-fitting (too big or too small), poor-quality, short-lasting clothes are old, boring and everywhere you look. Consumers, designers, fashion editors and marketers are looking for something new. They’re looking for something that isn’t Grunge. We don’t know the name of it yet, but it’s coming
Here’s the real question to think about. Grunge was made for the FCF industry and vice versa. They almost go hand-in-hand. The cheapo throw-together look that Kurt Cobain epitomized from the surplus store, was made for fast/cheap fashion. They fit like a glove. People were able to over-populate their closets because the clothes were so cheaply made that (duh!!!) they could be made for pennies or at most a couple of dollars each, meaning that the store could sell them at horrendously cheap costs, often 10% of what the high-end stores were selling them for. So everyone started selling clothes from these cheap sources.
Now that Grunge is old and we’re looking to something better made, more style, more refined what is the cost on that going to do? It’s going up. But how much? We’ve been in a unreal and unpractical clothing price structure. What’s going to happen when the customer has been used to paying a few dollars for a very stylish outfit, but now that customer wants something equally as stylish,but different – more quality, better components, even made in humane conditions?
The interesting question is how much is the consumer willing to pay? Because these last 20 years while the price of clothing has decreased, the cost of living has gone up. That means that if the price of clothing were to catch up to normal cost of living increases (that it did not suffer in the last 2 decades), it’s going to be doing a huge catch-up. If a top costs $150 in the late 1980’s – how much should it cost today (if there were no FCF industry to artifically keep the price low)? That top would costs about $450 today – only if there had been no FCF industry, that price would have risen gradually over the last 20 years (like the price of everything else) and wouldn’t be such a shock today.
Clothing hasn’t done that. It’s been kept artificially low by the FCF industry. That means the intro price, right now for a top that you bought in 1989 -that was well-made, fashionable, lasted more than 6 months (actually they would last years), out of good fabric with good buttons today – to buy that shirt would be $450. That’s the starting place, and then it will go up from that.
How does sewing fit into this? Because sewing also suffered an artificial constraint (who would want to sew when you can purchase $3.80 tops from the FCF industry), that cooking (Julia Child hit in the 70s and brought cooking out of the back room) and homekeeping (Martha Stewart hit her stride in the 80’s and brought domesticity back into vogue) didn’t suffer after the Women’s Movement, where as just as the time Sewing was becoming vogue, the Grunge hit, with cheap clothes, poorly made and cost practically nothing, so that sewing received a second blow to resurgence of sewing.
What does that mean for sewing now?
Sewing gives folks the opportunity to have that $450 blouse for $150 (with the very finest silk, the very finest couture type buttons and taking 2 days to make it up). People would so do that…..to spend $150 to look like you spent $450 (at the minimum). This new trend is going to bring back a more realistic value to clothing in general.
But sewing does something else. Because quality is going to be a lot more in demand than cheap and fit is going to be a lot more in demand than sloppy and big or stretchy, consumers are going to want to know how to recognize good style, good fit, good fabric, good buttons/notions. They are going to want to know how all that goes together.
How do you learn that?
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