If it were up to me, I would like to start a fashion trend that would have clothing look and fit well on all body types and for all ages. Women would be taught to appreciate their own bodies and dress accordingly and admire themselves. I have been collecting antique clothes for 40 years, and in my store with over 15 decades of styles, customers are able to see themselves in many different ways, finding what is most becoming I am hoping that the next trend, inspired by vintage clothing, will lead to a better appreciation of fabrics and workmanship. Consumers might even manage to pressure manufactures into improving the quality of their products. That would be a great trend. Style revisionism has been around for a long time . In the early 19th century (The Empire period in France) it was fashionable to reinvent the ancient Greeks, with their long tubular "chiton" and flowing cloaks to commemorate the beginning of democracy. The early part of the 20th century revisited the same look, as a 100 year retrospective. The later part of the 20th century was a great time for fashion nostalgia, especially the 1920's, 40' and 60's. Designers have been serving up these looks for the past 30 years. 1940's tailored jackets, and modern takes are always a favorite, 1960's minimalist lines ( think Jacklyn Kennedy, Audry Hepburn,) are a classic and especially popular with modern professional women. The 1920's with their flowing chiffon scarves and geometric graphics have never really left the fashion scene and are now having a resurgence in the latest billowy sensual easy movement clothing. Not since the 1930's , with the resurgence of the labor movement into the garment industry in this country, has emphasis on political and labor standards , rather than just art and design, been so much in the forefront in fashion. Social consciousness, has become an integral part of fashion trend development in the recent years. There have been dress reform movements since the mid 19th century when Amelia Bloomer, through her publication "The Lilly" ( a newspaper totally devoted to women's issues) began in the 1850's. She encouraged women to wear the billowy Turkish like pants, which were called bloomers, after Mrs. Bloomer. Susan B. Antony was one of her ardent admirers and users. The 1920's was another time for dress reform, heralding a revolutionary change in women's fashion. And who can forget the bra burning 1960's? The latest machination in fashion trending has less to do with design and liberating women from clothing constrictions ( I think we've finally won that point), and more to do with ecological sustainable manufacturing and global ethical work places and standards. Eco-fashion is influencing the consciousness of the fashion industry and a number of well known and influential fashion houses are fully involved such as Stella McCartney, Eileen Fisher, Kate Hudson for NewYork & Co., Rag and Bone, Patagonia, and many more new companies. With the same eye on social conscious new/ old materials are gaining particularly linen, and the latest of oldest materials (think early Egyptians ) hemp! As a result of liberalizing marijuana laws, hemp is making a comeback into fabric manufacturing, Hemp is a relatively cheap and abundant fiber and it would be wonderful to have organic fabric that was an affordable choice. On a short walk around Stockbridge the other day, I wondered in the time honored woman's fashion boutique Vlada, on Elm Street, in Stockbridge, Ma. I was immediately intrigued by a rack of muted colored ( blues, grays, browns) unstructured dresses, pants, skirts and tops, all with the label "FLAX" . I asked the sales person if she had any information about FLAX, and she gave me their contact information, so I called, since I wanted to get a bird's eye view of new fabric , new "girl" on the block so to speak. The woman I spoke to ,Mary Johansson, from customer relations, was very forthcoming and spent a good half hour answering all my questions ( I decided not to be embarrassed about how uninformed I was), and she patiently explained how linen was woven from flax fibers, and how the fibers were yarn dyed, and could be woven together to be solid colors or have different shades. Ms Johansson, noted that FLAX has had their fabrics made in Lithuania for the past 25 years, since western and middle Europe have been the the growers of flax and the weavers of linen for centuries. The flax that is grown in Europe is much longer and finer than the flax grown in either China or India. The cheaper flax grown in India and China cause wrinkles and is much less supple and more scratchy ( and gives linen a bad name) than the longer fibers. grown in Europe. Which is one of the reasons fine linen clothing will never be as cheap as the linen carried in department stores. " you get what you pay for" to quote Ms. Johansson. "We are not only determined to use the best materials in the most ecological way, we feel an obligation to pay our highly skilled workers an appropriate wage". Ms. Johansson also went on to explain that FLAX sold only to boutiques and individually owned stores and not to department stores who might compete unfairly with FLAX buyers. So buying somewhat more expensive, better made and fewer clothing might just be a near future trend. At the same time recycling clothes and textiles has become very big business. Clothes and textiles are the second most abundant materials found in landfills, after plastics. The glut of fabrics have caught the interest of countries like India, who have started buying up massive quantities of waste clothing and fabrics from the United States and Western Europe. The idea is to break down the fabrics into fibers to be woven into new fabrics, fabrics that could be ultimately be made into clothes that could be made available to masses of people who would otherwise not be able to be properly clothed. Another aspect of recycled frabrics, or "repurposing" materials or clothing, is fabric art. My friend, Tammy Annichiarico, who has been a seamstress and fabric artist for 20 years, and owns Bell Bottom Blues, which she runs from her home in North Adams. Tammy has repurposed vast amounts of old and new materials " my business is based on reviving discarded textiles". A beautiful yellow silk dress, made from a vintage sari, (won first prize at MIT recycled fabric show held in Boston), hand embellished jeans and jean jackets with doilies, and old velvets and beads, are all part of Tammy's unique cottage industry. Tammy's work, along with many independent designers and textiles artist may never have mass distribution, but along with small companies like FLAX, and antique clothing collectors , and specialized boutiques, will have an innovative future impact on fashion going forward into the 21st century. They are the laboratories for more intimate customer relationships, ecologically mindful product development, and design innovation.
FLAX Wampsivelle, NY firstname.lastname@example.org
Tammy Annichiarilco Bell Bottom Blues On etsy tammywithawhy