That’s Fashion, Sweetie: What’s new in fashion?

I recently saw a TikTok about the Perry Ellis SS93 collection that got designer Marc Jacobs fired. While it was his high magic touch that brought Ellis away from the early ’90s, J. Crew mainstream style and into the world of grunge and pop culture, his collection was reviewed as “ghastly” by British fashion critic Suzy Menkes. 

But what I noticed is that the collection felt almost as if taken out of my friends’ closets:  the same cut of thrifted dresses and the same patterns of brands like UNIF. It was even as if the models themselves raided their older sisters’ closets and more fearlessly layered and mixed up textures and fabrics. 

Still, this feeling isn’t a new one — in fact, I’ve been feeling it grow, like a sprouting pit, in my stomach for quite some time. It’s the same feeling I got when I was browsing Frankies Bikinis and realized that their Estelle Knit Tank was very similar to Aritzia’s Soloist Top, which is incredibly similar to Gigamus’s Mola Tank. And, while not as strong, the exact same feeling came up when realizing that Miaou’s heavenly bodies made me think of Pristine’s Angelyne skirts, which, in turn, vaguely reminded me of Y/Project x Jean Paul Gaulthier’s Body Morph dress.

You get what I’m saying here? 

This feeling is the recognition of a constant repeat with slight tweaks and is truly giving Nathan Fielder’s “Dumb Starbucks.” And I feel frustrated, uninspired and amused all at once because it’s not a surprise in the slightest. 

This is one of the many reasons the trend cycle is called just that: a cycle. Since our generation takes so much inspiration from the past, the cycle feels like it’s never even rotated. The rotation to keep the fashion economy and all of its stakeholders in check is still doing its job, but it feels like it’s spinning so fast that it isn’t even moving anymore. 

So what does that mean for us fashion devotees?

For consumers, maybe it’s time to consider a capsule wardrobe with a few statement pieces. It can be boring, but it’s possible to keep it interesting by mixing up textures, shades and cuts. You don’t have to get rid of all your fun pieces; just learn to experiment and incorporate them into everyday life. And, it’s more cost-efficient in the long run and easier to move around in your endeavors post-college.

For aspiring designers and stylists, we need to keep finding ways to be innovative in non-traditional ways while considering the circumstances of our future. In other words, keep finding ways to look at ordinary things in a new way and be sure to consider what is emerging and dominating — what technology, silhouettes or color schemes.  

In reflecting, maybe it is my fault. I can’t blame the world, especially the fashion world, for what I am feeling because, at the end of the day, they are my feelings. Maybe I feel uninspired and frustrated because I’m not challenging myself anymore. Maybe I’ve grown comfortable in my few outfits on rotation, my fear of the aging closet is beginning to show its effect and my frustration with the trend cycle is only growing stronger — I mean, the trend cycle cannot have a break because of a global pandemic and the forced shutdown of operations. But it needs to have a more purposeful “vacation.”

I think I need to take my own advice and look from a new perspective. Take a breather, take a chill pill and just take a risk. The end of the year is coming up, and just because Halloween is over doesn’t mean I have to stop playing dress up.

Every day is a new opportunity to make a change, so seize the day, Trojans! And look good while doing it.

Hadyn Phillips is a sophomore writing about fashion in the 21st century, specifically spotlighting new trends and popular controversy. Her column, “That’s Fashion, Sweetie,” runs every Thursday.