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Controversial Fashion: When did Plastic become acceptable?

Do you ever feel that (maybe) Creative Directors stay up at night wondering how to cash in on the success enjoyed by their previous bestsellers? The current hype surrounding the plastic trend has got us directly quoting the hangover from last season’s sheer and patent leather takeover.

With clarity and transparency emerging as an innate theme across market segments and product categories, wardrobe staples such as trenches, jackets and coats witnessed the clear and high-shine treatment for Spring/Summer 2018 season. At times clear and at times dipped in popping bright hues of primary colours that lend a liquid gloss effect, plastic surfaced as a major frontrunner this season.

Ventino, Toga and Kenzo

British luxury fashion house Burberry opted for a functional look, complete with utilitarian details over raincoat-inspired sheer plastic trenches, instantly noticeable by their signature cheques, while Demna Gvasalia utilized the high-shine treatment over jackets and shirts to inject a sporty flavour to the otherwise proper collection at Balenciaga.

Meanwhile, Kenzo presented long coats and trenches dipped in glossy colourways and Isabel Marant’s mixed sporty separates that emitted a kind of Christmas gift-wrap shine, channelling in a late 80s glam-queen vibe. A massive backdrop of six man-made waterfalls at Chanel saw 91 rain-ready waterproof looks, layered with a mix of jackets, coats, shoes and even accessories – that’s precisely where the irony started.

Isabel, Balenciaga and Arthur-arbesser

The ardent use of PVC as a fashion trend signals the dawn of a man-made future set up against a sustainable dream – a disconcerting dynamic within the hazardous realm fashion has contributed to the making.

In an age where the youth is more environmentally and sustainably conscious than their predecessors, how safely can you launch your trend rocket on a synthetic foundation known to have been the Number 1 cause behind suffocating the life out of our planet?

Agreed that a need for transparency and authenticity is a theme prevalent across industries. A trend we predicted three seasons earlier in our ‘Fall/Winter 2017 Forecast’ has come full bloom.

The consumer today demands clarity and complete transparency of production practices; what goes into the making of the product they are purchasing; and how it is benefiting the planet as a whole. They want to be a part of something that seems morally correct but maybe Creative Directors didn’t get the memo and instead came up with a skewed perception of communicating the entire concept as plastic definitely conveys ‘Transparency’, but it is far from ‘Authenticity’, a current demand of the modern consumers.

Some would say it serves to camouflage the impending gloom cast upon us by the current global climate owing to the raging socio-political and economic cataclysms. They would argue that it is a light-hearted take to brighten the cityscape with its urban cool armour.

The question then arises that with the Spring 2018 presentations coinciding with catastrophic hurricanes and earthquakes that transcended over American soil, is this something we should actually be celebrating and promoting?

A question, for all of us to reflect upon and an idea that the makers of fashion, in fact, need to reconsider. Fashion is not just an art, a necessity and/or a business proposition, it is a social responsibility and one wrong shot has the power to set into motion a complicated turn of events, answerable for generations to come.