It was at Blair Archibald, one of the moodiest and undeniably coolest shows I’ve been to thus far, that I realised something important about Fashion Week.
Archibald began his show with a segment that explained where he comes from, and why he finds himself in fashion now. In particular, he spoke a sentence that was both surprising for a designer — and remarkably relatable for anyone.
“There’s a lot I don’t relate to about fashion”, he said. “That’s why I think I’m in the industry.”
It got me thinking: much as fashion is a huge love of mine, there are many elements of the world surrounding it, which in actual fact, don’t relate to who I am and what I’m about. These elements vary from dysfunctional designs, to pretentiousness, all the way to being overtly and consistently, conscious of appearance itself.
Not only is the industry itself pretty conflictual — constantly debating between comfort or sacrificial beauty; consumption or sustainability; whether to support developing countries, or, to encourage local manufacturing — each person who interacts with fashion has their own perspective and their own position on it too.
I’m not even talking solely about those who observe and attend Fashion Week. I’m talking about everyone else living their lives just streets away from Carriageworks too. Even those who (quite plainly) couldn’t give a fuck.
It’s odd, really. As much as I’m immersed within the industry myself, I can quite easily understand and connect to an outsider’s perspective. Honestly, I get it. When people say there are much more important things in the world than fashion.. I get that too.
Saying that, I’m also inclined to defend fashion a lot of the time. Since I was 5 — hell, when I started ignoring the clothes laid out on my bed (sorry, Mum) — it’s been a huge contributor to my confidence. And I couldn’t possibly ignore the influence of trends, of seasonal and gender developments in fashion, upon this very outcome.
What’s more, I source a significant amount of inspiration around Fashion Week. This shapes more than what I wear — but how I present myself too. Shows such as Blair Archibald are exactly the kind which prompt my own vision-making alike.
Archibald has reminded me of the power of being expressive, whilst also, the importance of remaining true and honest to self. His collection is full of functional pieces, made to compliment the inherent disposition of the body. It felt fitting to be in this dress by Esther & Co; a tight piece which framed the every curve of my body.
Archibald maintains an edge of sophistication with subdued navies, khakis, and burgundies. Of course, these appear amidst even more black and grey. Like all previous collections, this one also details a “coherent narrative”, that which I (and I assume Archibald) would argue, each person reads quite differently.
From a two toned denim cut-off jacket to a complimentary blazer and satchel, each cut and design appeared extremely well thought-out — and not only to the fashion folk, but to the everyday person who seeks adaptability and attitude from the clothes they wear.
The show was characterised by sass, precision and several sets of sunglasses I wish I owned (and better yet, could rock).
Most importantly though, Archibald has reiterated that it’s okay to disagree. It’s also okay to agree with just parts of something. You don’t have to absolutely encompass a thing, a person, a lifestyle, an environment (or whatever it be) — to simply like it, enjoy it, or admire it.
On true comprehension of this seemingly simple notion, a huge weight feels lifted off our shoulders. As it turns out, to position ourselves in the grey area of something is entirely acceptable. It doesn’t mean we don’t have an opinion. It simply means that our opinion is multi-faceted. It’s growing. As for us? We can be characterised much the same.
On Day Three of MBFW, Archibald positioned himself right in the middle of the grey area. His far from black-and-white view of the industry saw him come come out on top in my eyes.
What’s to say we can’t do the same?
Photography by Anzu Prenter
Make-Up by Therese Kazzi