Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Recycling Beauty

Yesterday I went to a discussion about fashion, luxury, and our economic climate. There was much talk about the future of luxury and ecology. Will ecological consciousness become chic and be considered luxurious? What the panel failed to talk about was the idea of creating beauty that surpasses style and trends. Well, they touched on it, but maybe I didn't find their standards of beauty strict enough. I think a lot of fat could be trimmed off their definition. The best use of our resources is to make beautiful objects that people will want to keep for a long time and pass on to their loved ones, or are desirable enough to be resold. The ideas embodied in designed objects are what create the integrity and the substance that make it valuable. This thoughtfulness is what should inform the outward aesthetic.

In some ways this notion of fashion being "responsible" to our earth goes against all of fashion's values. People want the newest styles to feel relevant and fresh. The fashion world must constantly reinvent new styles, bring back forgotten ones, or remix familiar ones into new ones. It also means that we as consumers need to shed our old identities for new ones. It seems that designer's resources would be better spent making things we believe in, things that affirm our inner selves. I always find it funny that people look at old pictures of themselves throughout the decades and are embarrassed about their style. Why can't they accept that this is who they were at that moment in time? Why is it that their hair and clothes were not an extension of themselves and not just a product of their time and environment? It seems silly that all of these things have such an negative impact on our self worth past the point of humiliation and well past the time of intervention. Making things that are integral in our lives is how we can make responsible work. In some way, ultimately, it is not about the look of the object, but what it brings to our lives that make it valuable and beautiful.

Maison Martin Margiela has for a long time been promoting the idea of recycled clothing and objects with his artisanal line denoted with a encircled zero. All "0" products are made by hand in limited quantities in the Paris atelier breathing new life into common objects. He even rejected the notion of throwing away old styles by injecting his new collections with "replica" pieces that are existing garments that he finds beautiful and reproduces them as part of the main collection. Many designers take from the past but rarely admit to copying a design. What is great about what Margiela is doing is that he is creating a framework for clothes from different decades and seasons to coexist. Which means bigger wardrobes and lest waste.

This is a video of Maison Martin Margiela spring/summer 07 artisanal line.

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