In the current fashion context, the identity culture is raging. All the actors in the industry are impacted by a growing sectoral division of the minorities, where the victims of communitarianism (or sometimes referred to as such), seem to be gradually taking over power. Would the new cartography of our society threaten the universal language of fashion? Is it hovering a dangerous spectra over everyone’s freedom or will this change in the sector amplify the scope of possibilities by freeing itself from all the traditional codes? Should we be rather than being… unless it’s the other way round? Although some voices are calling for a simple opportunistic strategy, this diversity does not encourage the development of new riches? IFA Paris has always fostered these differences. Between intellectual, cultural or religious diversity, we have chosen to value talents from all horizons by giving our students universal tools that can easily be transposed to their specific worlds.
Fashion continues to be thought of, made and worn. It exists through the individuals who make it, who exhibit it but also those who judge it. It has always been the driving force behind rituals and institutions while at the same time being the reflection of the society: clothing is the key to a population’s sociological approach.
If it is easy to see the transformations of fashion over the centuries, it is more complex to analyze how man relates with his own look during these transformations. Technological, political or economic upheavals have a major influence on the role of clothing and profoundly modify codes that seemed to be well rooted; thus, there is a “pathology of dressing habits”….
Highly standardized in modern societies, clothing has always been a social marker but also a means of expression. Conservative societies are slowing down fashion (because they are attached to traditional values), while democracies are advocating change. Does the violation of these norms place minorities in a state of mere opposition to the system, or in an absolute desire to be oneself? Reflecting on these values means questioning the orientations to be given to your convictions, to your life choices.
Gender Fluid Fashion
Finally, fashion as we know it, is only the reflection of a progressive society whose 3 watchwords could be development, innovation, but especially revitalization. A cyclical rebirth for a collective destination, where the consumer’s volatile behavior encourages a return to fashion… of the old-fashioned. Finally, FASHION is itself only a fashion….bringing with it social mobility and the stigmatization of styles.
The universal language it wishes to convey therefore repeatedly clashes with “marginal stakeholders” in search of their true identity. These minor movements frequently become the influencers (unintentionally or intentionally) of new trends, because opposition to style creates style: “anti-fashion” becomes fashionable! A sad reality for these minorities who would like to stand out, however, turning their diversity into a weapon of struggle and claim in the face of an overly formatted society.
Doesn’t communitarianism adopt the same mechanisms as in the past? From the iconic style of New-Look in the 1950s to the Hippy movement of the 70s, from the underground world of the Punks to the mystical trends of the Gothics, they have all become, inadvertently, trend setters. The acceptance of fashion by some minorities often results in recognition by the majority. Will it be the same for these new communities or is it an expression of a more profound malaise? No one can tell….
Putting aside the dangers of conflation, however, it is important to highlight the fact that all these minority groups have one thing in common: the desire to free themselves from all diktat and respect their inner selves.
If modest fashion proposes to follow a path that is at one point religious, spiritual and creative, it is inspired by a fashion that is in total adequacy with its own convictions of decency. If the gender fluid fashion questions gender nomadism, refuting any belonging to one sex rather than the other, it symbolizes above all the emancipation of gender stereotypes. If disabled fashion works for a more “egalitarian” garment (a little bit also for the Purple Dollar…), the motivations of “better living” surpass the existential ones in the strictest sense of the term.
For each minority, its plans where clothing simply acts as an intermediary between body and mind. Without positioning itself as a political leader, IFA Paris is above all an observer of these societal trends and systematically incorporates them into its teaching. We believe that by allowing diversity to flourish, creativity will complement the development potential of each student we are trying to stimulate.