It is said that in difficult times fashion is always outrageous. As it turns out that is not the case. Fashion Industry and consumers are rapidly turning towards minimalist clothing and an anti-status look.
Capitalism engineered FOMO in minds of people to keep themselves updated with the latest happenings and trends in technology, cars, fashion, celebrity life, etc. In the mad rush to make a customer purchase more and more clothes at the cheapest price possible, the industry has been guilty of many unethical practices, both in production and marketing. Brands pile up mountains of textiles, use toxic dyes, more water-consuming fabrics in production like polyester, and excessive strain on natural resources. It is gradually dawning that less stuff would mean, less debt and less clutter, and less of the stuff which you don’t even need. People are rapidly rejecting fast fashion and the aggressive push for consumerism by industry and turning towards minimalism.
Minimalist fashion means having a minimal amount of clothes in the wardrobe which satisfies functional needs and bring joy. The term originated in the sixties when a group of designers in New York like Donald Judd, John McCracken, Agnes Martin, and many others rejected the modernistic approach to fashion and pursued a new mode that gave little importance to the outward physical appearance of clothing.
Minimalism always resurfaces with economic and technological changes and cultural shifts. It is an indicator of social change. When women were granted voting rights to women entering the workforce, the fashion went towards a reductionist mode with more practical and masculine clothing. In times of economic prosperity and social stability, the hyper-feminine looks returned (Dior in the 80s).
In the 80s the minimalist movement split into two parts: one followed by high-end fashion houses going for chic and clean purism, while the emerging designers and small businesses opted for a more conceptual way towards minimalism i.e. deconstructionism. The covid pandemic has brought an even more drastic shift in fashion with more people working out of homes and social distancing. The brands have focussed on more comfortable, loungewear, and neutral color-toned clothing.
Labels of Gucci and Versace are known for bright and bold colors. Fashion houses used to create almost eight collections a year. Though glitz and glamour are synonymous with luxury fashion, the industry is increasingly turning towards simplified styles. Fashion is turned on its head with styles depicting anti-fashion, anti-status sentiments.
People are becoming more conscious about environmental issues, ethical issues with garment production, waste, and pollution and take a stand for brands that keep sustainability in front and center of their production cycle. Minimalist fashion came to be seen as a more responsible way of fashion consumption. Moreover, it is practical, inclusive, and gives scope to experiment by not encouraging a particular ‘look’.
Slow fashion is minimalism’s subculture. The shift is towards more timeless pieces rather than moving through clothes quickly and launching a new line of merchandise every few weeks. With offices opening and people resuming normal lifestyles, the simplified styles and pieces are here to stay.