I am beginning to see a trend in fashion. Mostly centering on home-sewing publications that I've flipped through, but I am beginning to see it on the street, too...
For lack of a better term, I'm going to coin a title for the movement from a recent book I saw on a recent book: "Junky Styling".
The trend that I am noticing is also known as "Upcycling", or using pre-existing garments to make new ones through embellishment, cannibalization, or simply wearing them in a different way. This feels like an old trend, one that (if I'm understanding it correctly) has some strong influence from the 1980's grunge, retro, and punk movements. The ability to take something and use it for something else, emphasizing it's ironic placement or incongruity, was a hallmark of 1980's youth culture. For example: the knit gloves on Madonna and Arquette in Desperately Seeking Susan: totally out of place and clearly a styling statement. Or the trashed prom dresses and hairstyles of Pat Benatar (worn with combat boots by the grunge movement, no less). Or even the multitude of safety-pins holding garments together from the punk movement (incorporated into high fashion by such designers as Zandra Rhodes and others).
There's one particular publication that is centered on this movement--Stampington and Company's Altered Couture. It's interesting what can be done by adding trim, paint, and funky stitching to different thrift store garments. Combining heretofore unrelated garments into new and unique clothes resulting in a completely different stylistic esthetic is quite interesting.
People have recycled their old garments before into new ones, but not with this much overt zeal, I feel. Part of the challenge, it seems to me, is to make sure that the original garment still shines through. The "upcycling" nature of the garment is supposed to be obvious. It should look enhanced from something else. On purpose.
And I think that's the heart of how I am perplexed... The feeling one gets from seeing and wearing this style of attire is not what you get from vintage or retro styles. It's not the statement made seeing a grungy, lived-in look. It's not the fuzzies you get from the nostalgic charm of the DIY and home-sewn garments. It's also not quite the ironic juxtaposition of Victoriana resulting from Steampunk fashion... It's an odd combination of all four...
Stampington and Company's Belle Armoire magazine is a jacket with the overlocked edges completely exposed and calling attention to it's intentional "scrap" charm...
And I understand the theory behind it. I think. But, I'm not sure the esthetic appeal is actually... appealing. To me.
And I am not sure how to articulate what I feel about it... Does anyone else recognize this trend, or am I completely making it up? What do you sense about it? Is it something that intrigues you? Because for some reason, I'm... stirred... by it. And I'm not sure if it's a good, bad, or confused stirring.
Until next time, Live Life with Relish!