By Mrs. HillBilly
I’m no authority on fashion, nor have I ever had the desire to be, but I’d like to think I know a thing or two about style. You see, fashion, as defined, is a popular trend in styles—for a specific period of time, enough people liked a specific style trend long enough to make it popular—but like any trend, it eventually dies, only to be replaced by the next best thing. It is often said that fashion is constantly evolving; you watch documentaries, read articles and even hear of dissertations being written on the evolution of fashion, but I just don’t see it.
For as long as I have been aware of fashion, I have also been aware of the fact that it is built on recycled ideas from times gone by. What is that if not evolution? It’s actually closer to recombination than it is to evolution. Ironically enough, I actually am an authority on evolution—I graduated with a degree in biotechnology—and can without a doubt, say, there is a world of difference between it and recombination. The outcome of one is always more complex (and generally understood to be better), while the outcome of the other isn’t necessarily so. Even if all the ideas were, in theory, brilliant, recombinant DNA doesn’t always work in practice, (some of the world’s deadliest biological weapons are the accidental result of recombinant DNA). It turns out, when you mess with an already good thing, you run the risk of making it worse, or losing it altogether. The latter is how I feel about most fashion—I just don’t get it. Take a poodle, for example; a breed of dog not naturally occurring in our world, and now compare it to a wolf. You see where I’m going with this? Poodles are not our best work, neither were their fashion counterparts, poodle skirts. Some of today’s most popular trends could double as medieval torture devices; from the studded blazers to the studded shoes—the bigger and spikier, it seems, the better.
I watch as women gather in clouds of cigarette smoke and hints of their morning perfume worshiping at the temple of all things fashionable, Instagram, and feel like the kid who never got invited to the party. What is so special about a neon pink mini-skirt? Didn’t we do this in the 80’s already? Then decided ‘no, we were wrong; neon is ugly’ all through the 90’s and the 2000’s, only to fall back in love with it in 2012. Change the decades and the same could be said for bellbottoms, skinny jeans, off-the-shoulder tunics and cap toe pumps—that, by definition, is not evolution. What you wear is a reflection of who you are, and with something as personal as that how can so many people, all at the same time, agree on loving something, hating it, and then loving it back again? Now, style – that, I understand.
Style is timeless. It is the physical manifestation of a person’s personality; you can love it or hate it, but one thing’s for sure, if you hate it one day, you’ll likely hate it all days. So, has fashion really evolved? Sure, in the sense that our Homo habilis ancestors only cared about the functionality of garments and as Homo sapiens, we’ve taken it up a notch by making sure they are aesthetically pleasing, too. But, has fashion, in its modern-day definition really been evolving?
Not in my opinion—but what do I know? I’m just a lab geek.