Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Fashion vs Clothing- The Great Debate

I have an ongoing debate floating around in my head;

What is the difference between 'Clothing' and 'Fashion'? Are they different? Are they the same?

When one considers those two subjects, the obvious thought (to me anyway) would be "Well, aren't they the same?" I always thought so. Seeing as even simple clothing must be 'fashioned' in the sense of design and creation, it would seem clear to me that even a plain T-shirt is 'Fashion'.

I spent 3 decades doing alterations and have worked on every type of garment that exists. Doing alterations is a great way to learn about garment construction. I have altered both low and high end bridal gowns, inexpensive suits and Armani tuxes, plain sundresses and formal gowns, and everything in between. What I have learned is that construction techniques between the extremes aren't all that much different. What IS different is the fabrics involved as well as the occasional addition of under-structure. But does adding an additional lining or shoulder pad make it fashion or just more expensive?

I recently watched the reality show Project Runway. It is a competition for unknown fashion designers. The competitors are given challenges by the hosts that stretch their imaginations and skills in regard to designing items that 'have never been seen before'. What was interesting to me was the judges comments. On one particular program the host commented to the competing designer in regard to an outfit, "This is clothing not fashion." It was a statement washed in disappointment. It got me thinking again about this difference between them and wondered if there are official definitions of the two. I dug out my dictionary and it clarified Nothing. Clothing is defined as "clothes. garments. wearing apparel". Fashion is defined as "the current style of dress. something fashionable." Based on these definitions I would have to conclude that fashion is whatever happens to be trendy for the moment. This, in my mind anyway, makes it very ambiguous. I must draw the conclusion that fashion is, like beauty, in the eye of the beholder. I have also concluded that I have a much stronger affinity towards designing and creating 'Clothing'.

Clothing is the stuff of daily life. I love to clothe people. I am not interested in creating garments that are worn for a season and then tossed aside because they are 'out'. My desire is to create items that have no trend, no era or fad-based period. I want to create classic clothing that we wear today that we can see in photos in years to come and still say "I loved wearing that jacket! *or sweater or wrap or skirt or......*". It is also my goal to make said items so well that we can also say, "And I STILL have it and wear it!"

So, those are my thoughts on the Great Debate. I have finally drawn my conclusions. Right or wrong, it doesn't matter. I will keep on designing and sewing my
trendless, fadless, classic items for us all to wear. To put it simply, we don't all require fashion in our lives but we do all require clothing. I sense my attitude would be disappointing to the judges on Project Runway but after all, Somebody has to design the stuff that most of us wear everyday. I am glad to have a part in this.

Please visit my website and check out my current designs. They are all Clothing. Comfortable, one-of-a-kind, easy to wear classics. Perfect for a day like today..... and tomorrow.... and beyond.


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