The idea of clothing that can be worn year round without falling out of style sounds almost impossible. Recently, though, many fashion designers and retailers have been challenging this stigma and the insatiable hunger brought about by fast fashion habits by attempting a new approach to style: seasonless fashion. The idea behind this shift is to create clothing that will remain relevant no matter what time of year it is, defying conventional wisdom that fashion trends must be dictated by the mercury.
image source: Agencia Fotosite
The concept of seasonless fashion can be approached on several levels: to create staple, high-quality pieces that can stand the test of time; to update simple pieces with trendy accessories instead of a complete wardrobe make-over; and also to end the stigma that certain patterns and/or colors are wearable only at certain times of year. It is built around the idea that we eschew archaic rules about what colors, prints, fabrications, etc are appropriate for any given season.
Many brands are also motivated to buck the fast fashion system of overconsumption and change fashion's bad reputation for being a top polluting industry. If fashion doesn't have to follow traditional rules, it has the potential to spare consumers the stress of buying new garments due to season change, and nullifies one of fast fashion's major draws - to keep up with the latest looks while on a budget. With less categories of clothing to fill and the ability to get more "mileage" from a printed dress, for example, perhaps the consumer will be able to justify buying a better quality (typically more expensive ) item instead of resorting to buying a cheaper version of something she feels she may only get a few months' wear out of before it's no longer seen as appropriate.
Some current example of seasonless style showing up on runways and in magazines are the florals all over the fall/winter runway and a wide selection of white boots proposed for the fall. "No white shoes after Labor Day!!" Well, there's an age-old rule that we're not sad to see go.
For many people a rotation of wardrobe happens at least twice a year as the weather shifts and fabrications and color palettes seem to change as soon as days start getting shorter or longer. Although we still have weather conditions to take into consideration when dressing, most of modern society moves from one climate controlled environment to another, with very little prolonged exposure to the elements. Cars, offices, public buildings and transport are all heated in winter, air conditioned in summer. While that may not mean you can abandon your winter coat, mittens and snow boots, what it does mean is that once you get inside, the temperature will most likely be a comfortable 72 degrees Fahrenheit. SO, why couldn’t you wear the same dress you would sport in May under that insulated anorak and wool scarf?
The shift in mindset will allow for more self expression as the consumer will be able to wear what they want without concern if it is seasonally appropriate as long as they are comfortable. Velvet to a party on a cool Jun evening? Floral printed chiffon blouse to a holiday party in December? Go for it as long as you are comfortable; when you feel great, you look great! The new aesthetic touts the idea that anything goes.
And why shouldn’t it? Here at Polychrome we are excited to hear of an inclination towards more print options year round. Some of our prints are just too pretty to be stowed away for half the year! Case in point, any one of these lovely florals would be just as appropriate on a blouse for fall as on a sundress in summer, or on slipdress with a fuzzy sweater in the dead of winter.
Take a peek through some of our most versatile florals and imagine the endless options:
from top left: Nostalgia | Flowing Garden | Lillies | Chrysanthemum Flowers | Ballerina | Orchid | Birds of Mexico | Folk Papercut | Smudged Roses
The benefits aren’t just for the consumers, either. Retailers are also reaching people on a more global level as different places are in different seasons than our short-sighted inclination to report everything from a US and Western European perspective. It also has the potential to save retailers the stress of following trends seasonally and worrying about what pieces will sell and when. This could have a very positive impact on inventory control and lead to less waste - good for retailers' finances AND for our planet. When Burberry and Tom Ford decided to do two shows instead of four, they found a better connection with their consumers and better sales.
Many brands, like Garnet Hill, have already jumped on the opportunity to create seasonless fashion, as it is also liberating from a design and development standpoint. The label AYR has become dedicated to making pieces that will fit your wardrobe during any season. In an interview with Elle magazine, CEO Maggie Winter said, "We simply don't replace our closets monthly or quarterly. You don't change who you are every thirteen weeks; why should you change how you dress?" The many talented designers represented by Nineteenth Amendment are also creating beautiful and quality seasonless pieces that are not dictated by traditional fashion calendars. This new approach to design and marketing allows more freedom for both their designers and their customers, and potentially means product will have a longer shelf life both on their marketplace and in their customers' closets.
From Nineteenth Amendment: Pink Celina Silk Shell Tank | Marlene Wide-leg Pant | Classic Shift Dress | Off Pattern Top
Last, but not least, this change in perspective could be a real boon for accessories brands, and maybe even the beauty industry. With a smaller wardrobe built of fewer, but higher quality pieces, consumers will be looking to accessories and makeup to change and update their look. This could be the beginning of a period of even greater self expression through fashion as well as a new appreciation for quality items whether they be clothing or accessories. Imagine the progress it could mean for the sustainable fashion movement it if were to encourage a shift away from current habits of consumer excess. All in all, seasonless fashion seems like it could be a win-win on many levels; we look forward to seeing where it leads us!
Other Sources: Bamboo Rose | WWD | Elle | Business of Fashion | Garnet Hill | Pop Sugar | Nineteenth Amendment | Daily Mail UK
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