Anti-fashion is a term that has become more prominent these days with the sudden collective disdain of society for current fashion norms and meaning. There are two terms which I believe accurately describe the two sides of Anti-fashion amalgamating it into one definition. Firstly, anti-fashion is any fashion that is intentionally contrary to the mainstream. Anti-fashion is the protest of fashions impact on society and the environment. Plainly it is radical creativity in apparel.
Anti-fashion originated in the 1950s with the dawn of rock and roll, specifically with young women. These women would dress in militaristic apparel and designs rebelling against feminine gender roles and societal norms held at the time. They would later be the inspiration for punk and grunge, additionally, propelling anti-fashion forward. However, it was in the 1990’s that anti-fashion gained its renown.
Yohji Yamamoto, Rei Kawakubo and Martin Margiela can be seen as the progenitors of modern anti-fashion. With their attitudes, designs and ethos opposing fashion, they formed the weapon that would note the end of fashion norms. Both Rei and Yohji originated from Japan where they used their individual experiences to define their craft which was displayed in Paris, thus starting the movement. Meanwhile, Martin is a Belgian fashion designer who in the same fashion employed his roots in his craft. Although they each possessed a different ethos, they all impacted anti-fashion collectively.
Now, why was there a need for anti-fashion? You see fashion died in the 1950s, reduced from an art form to mass production and consumption. This was due to the need for designers to sell their pieces. As a result, they all pandered to trends and abandoned their identities. Anti-fashion was a phoenix born from the ashes of fashion, a signal for change. Anti-fashion tackled both the pollution fashion was causing, as well as the trends. Sustainability became the creed for everyone, and at the same time experimentation and going against the grain of trends was the goal. Consequently, the need for anti-fashion was made apparent.
Unfortunately, anti-fashion today is still not as big as it could be, although there have been great designers inspired by this movement who have all made significant contributions to the industry. Some examples of said fashion designers are: Miuccia Prada, Christopher Kane, Rick Owens and many more.
Though anti-fashion can be viewed as negative, in reality it is the contrary. Fashion has never needed a movement as much as it needs anti-fashion. Thus, the revolt of an industry becomes the advancement of it.
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