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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

When It All Falls Down

What's in the paper nowadays? War, epidemic, greed, political mudslinging, conspiracy theories, sports and of course the funnies....no wait, that kind of falls under political mud-slinging. Anyhow, the war in Iraq is knocking on a decade, AIDS is rampant worldwide, politicians are short of going blow for blow in the WWE, some multi-million dollar athlete didn't make the playoffs again and the government seems to have misplaced the key to the closet that keeps the American public locked in the dark. What we seem to have lost with all the sensationalism and hungering for new daily points of view is not just our attention span but the vision to recognize things of value. I mean, if you were to walk through the Sistine Chapel and only quickly glance up at The Birth of Man, what would you really see? What seems to be on the rise in all the green movements, humanitarian efforts and rebuilding ideas are the very words that fuel these endeavors: accountability, responsibility and investment.

I occasionally think about things that deep when looking at ostentatious over the top fashion and ponder, 'I wonder how much balance is in that design?' Balance? Huh? Yes balance. Is it just a pretty frock or dapper slim suit or is hidden within seams an organically grown fiber, a child that gets a month worth of water because someone may buy this or a bound hand sewn buttonhole that was sewn by a learned elderly woman who couldn't get work anywhere else. Now I am conscious of the fact that not every article of clothing can be the golden fleece. However, it just hits me as a great, plausible and responsible sign of the times to hear of companies like Converse RED giving proceeds in order to get AIDS meds to dying toddlers or brands like Edun Live producing organically grown and harvested clothing made in an impoverished Africa and designers like Carlos Miele who once employed women in his poor village in Brazil to hand knit novelty pieces for his collections.

The truth is that fashion can be quite fickle, but it becomes something of more value when balance is achieved. It can start out grand like building third world countries like the Hope For Haiti tees benefiting Haiti launched during Fashion Night Out or by the simple existence of fashion funds that help promote new designers making a socioeconomic change through fashion. This balance of insightful design with helping the legacy of the design live on past a closet, into a village thousands of miles away and onto a planet that needs its inhabitants to be reminded of its value is modern and necessary. It fuels the idea that it's not always about hordes and hordes of cheap clothing, but rather the investment into clothing that keeps the design aesthetic relevant through responsibility, accountability and investment in design and construction.

And while none of this is to say that I still don't hugely appreciate a Galliano bias cut for its weightless fluidity or a Rick Owens washed skin for its incredible hand. It's just nice to see that fashion can be more than just items to make you feel good and escape the doldrums that can be our lives; it can also be a saving grace for our planet, neighbors and wallets.



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