Individual style can be difficult to define within the boundaries of the contemporary fashion industry. It must be said that the terms fashion and style have never described the same thing. With major brands pulling tighter the seams that divide a trend from its appearance on a shop floor, contemporary fashion has become defined by speed. Haste has encouraged us to buy into fleeting fads and trends.
We’ve become aware that what appears on the runway, on the social media feed and in the columns of magazines will resurface, duplicated, in a matter of days on a sales floor near you. They appear at cheap prices, but only at the expense of cheap labour and cheap materials. These imitations don’t say much about us, but as we’ve become whisked up in the speed at which trends fall in and out of vogue, we’ve become terrified of being left behind.
So, in an age defined by immediacy and capriciousness, finding an identity within contemporary fashion can prove difficult. It would seem we’re being told what to wear. Maybe we can see individual style as rejecting what we’re being told. It doesn’t necessarily mean closing yourself off from the trends and the trendsetters, but it’s the mindfulness and ability to define for yourself the difference between inspiration and instruction. Investing in garments built to last and age alongside you may be one way of developing the identity of your style. It was Yves Saint Laurent, in reference to time, who famously proclaimed “fashion fades, style is eternal.”
Perhaps we might see individual style as clothing yourself with items that tell your own narrative; wearing articles that reflect who you are as a person rather than who that influencer, that fashion house or that columnist is. So maybe all it comes down to is the ability to take a moment, douse those burning pennies in your pocket and wait for the right items, clothes and accessories that will not only represent who you are now, but who you will be in years to come.