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30 June 2008

What is witty fashion?

Witty fashion has become and increasingly popular term in the fashion media. The term is used indiscriminately, to the point that I don’t think it has any really meaning. None the less, every time I read “witty fashion” I stop and think, what is witty fashion to me? To many it may seem like an oxymoron, but I think witty fashion is possible.

The first problem with the term "witty fashion" is that it assumes all fashion is not already witty. Creativity is a kind of intelligence that is more difficult to quantify and which is not immediately recognized by the general public as real genius. So, I'm assuming that the term witty fashion assumes that there is some other additional factor to the design that is especially thought provoking.

This brings us to the next problem, what differentiates art from clothing? Is an especially avant guard designer more an artist than a clothing designer? Does fashion have to be wearable? Comme de Garcon regularly turns out highly avant guard pieces, which are often thought provoking, but perhaps not always terribly wearable. Is this witty fashion or is it limited edition art in the medium of textile? Most haute couture is worn a very limited number of times, and given the prices it would be difficult to justify if you did not think of it as art.

Witty fashion could also be fashion that manages to be both stunning and highly utilitarian. For example, exercise clothing that looked like street clothing, but could wick away your sweat, deodorize your sweat, resist stains and bacteria, while still remaining comfortable to work out in would certainly be "witty fashion." That designer would be a genius. I also find some of the challenges on the show Project Runway to produce “witty fashion.” During the first season designers were tasked with photographing the city and then using those photographs as inspiration for a piece of clothing. There was the challenge where Austen Scarlet made a stunning dress out of corn husks, it took a highly creative individual to conceptualize and execute such a piece.

The sad thing is, despite the continual overuse of the term “witty fashion,” I see remarkably little that I would truly consider witty walking down designer runways or hanging on department store racks. Hopefully with the new movement towards green technology and sustainability, designer will start to turn out more thoughtful and though provoking pieces.

Image from Bravo

1 comment:

Fabulously Broke said...

I really love this post. It challenges what we know as being innovative in fashion when it really is all just rehashes of the past (leg warmers.. seriously?)

Am linking to this in my next round of link love