Perfect Imperfection

June 18, 2012

by Gracia Ventus

The great Yohji Yamamoto once remarked:

“I think perfection is ugly. Somewhere in the things humans make, I
want so see scars, failure, disorder, distortion. If I can feel those
things in work by others, then I like them. Perfection is a kind of
order, like overall harmony and so on… They are things someone forces
on to a thing. A free human being does not desire such things. And yet
I get the feeling there are a lot of women who do not seek freedom;
women who wear symmetrical clothes.”

Now I don’t see anything wrong with trying to attain perfection. However, how often do we notice that originality, taste and excitement are being cast aside for the sake of scoring more retweets, hypes and likes? Or am I the only person who thinks that internet fashion is too pretty, perfect, and most importantly, so much alike?

The democratisation of fashion promises a vast wealth of information for outsiders to tap into so that we can all be inspired, get out and do our own thing, instead of being told what to do by the magazines. While it does hold true to a certain degree, the power of influence did not disperse completely. It shifted from respected publications (by respected I don’t mean any of those Cosmo crap) to ‘fashion leaders’ of the online community. We admire them, wish to be them, and want their popularity. As a result, we see too many girls sporting dip dyed hair, wearing pyjama pants, and strutting around in the shortest ‘jorts’ (?) topped off with the tallest platforms, or the latest Alexander Wang heels.

In order to prove that I’m not making a far-fetched claim, I made this collage out of some of the most hyped looks from this week:

Just in case you need more evidence, here are some collages I found from Blueisinfashionthisyear. The site does a good job in documenting the latest trends to grace the internet.

I do realise that a big part of fashion is to be aesthetically pleasing, but it is also a celebration of the human body, of expression and creativity. Many of the most revered designers are not afraid to redefine the established ideas of beauty. From Rei Kawakubo, John Galliano, Alexander Mcqueen, Martin Margiela, Rick Owens, Nicolas Ghesquiere, to Issey Miyake, just to name a few, all of them have very unique aesthetics, but what places them in the same league is their fearlessness in breaking the boundaries, to get tongues wagging, to excite and give hope to fashion connoisseurs that fashion is perhaps not dead. (I must confess that while researching for this essay, Issey Miyake’s works almost moved me to tears). As cliched as it sounds, these designers garnered loyal followings precisely because they bring us out of our comfort zone, challenging us to appreciate something new.

Wanting to look well-put together is the primary reason why we read so much into fashion, but by golly we should be doing it with a bit of fun. Take for example, Susanna Lau of Style Bubble. I remembered when she first started, half the comments she received for her loud sense of style weren’t positive. The brave girl never once gave in to the pressure to look conventionally pretty, yet she’s now become one hell of a respected figure in fashion blogosphere. I have to admit I wasn’t taken with some of her choices but I appreciated them nonetheless because they made me think.

It is of course our prerogative to choose whichever path we take, whether it’s maximalism, minimalism, avant garde or anything else in between. Whatever your taste is, we shouldn’t allow ourselves to be trend whores. It’s no fun when internet fashunz looks like one large elitist sorority group. Fashion should be celebrated in its own merit. It should not be dictated by the potential number of strangers you need to impress but by us and ourselves only. Therefore the question we should be asking is, do we really love fashion, or are we doing this to earn the approval of virtual fans?

EDIT: I love the discussion that’s trickling in. If only I could reply to individual comments separately. Is there an option for blogger for that?


11 thoughts on “Perfect Imperfection

  • GlassOrganelle

    by GlassOrganelle on June 18, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    Just saying, I laughed out loud at the ‘trying to spot the difference’ meme!

    I’ve found most people I know follow trends. Not necessarily because they like fashion, but because they simply accept what is presented and given to them in stores/easy access. I feel, and can possibly understand, that they’d want to fit in. Seeing others doing something (which at first is) new, cool, they want to be a part of that.

    Embracing unique aesthetics is daring. I think it requires a commitment that not everyone has the time or interest in. In the more avante garde style I think there is also a sense of belonging. I always find Rick Owens to be very inclusive with a bit of a tribe mentality. His clothes come off as so cool to me, and I always want to be a part of his world when he releases a new collection.

    Internet fashion has become so democratized. There are so many levels of fashion interest, creativity, style and aesthetic that it has become easier to identify the quality individuals out who cater to your taste. It’s finding them in the first place that I find hard!

    But I’m rambling now and procrastinating! Thanks for such an interesting, well thought out and written post :)


    • Rosenrot

      by Rosenrot on June 28, 2012 at 4:08 pm

      Hi Mia,

      Thanks for your input. Everything you’ve said is indeed true, there are different tribes in the world of fashion, including the likes of us who are fans of the works of Rick Owens. I love discovering them no matter how different they are next to me because they can be inspirational when done well, the only exception being the tribe whose main goal is to rock fashion trends first and then whine, ‘I was there first before everyone started doing it!’

  • Alicia – Sea Of Ghosts

    by Alicia - Sea Of Ghosts on June 18, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    I do wonder how much of the same-ness out in the blogosphere comes from people trying to win fans vs. the general reality that most people willingly eat what’s fed to them. Same-ness existed well before fashion blogs but it wasn’t so prevalent because we never had such fast access to view things people were wearing. I also think that although I have a style that differs to that pictured, it’s still very similar to others who share my aesthetic. But perhaps since it’s a style I consciously choose (as opposed to whatever the Vogue reader is happy to adopt for a limited time) maybe there lies the difference. It would certainly be interesting to find way to quantify the intentions of authors behind the more popular trend-based blogs, but with anyone being able to so easily manufacture their own identity online I suppose we’ll never really know.

    • Rosenrot

      by Rosenrot on June 28, 2012 at 4:00 pm

      Hi Alicia,

      We do choose to belong to a tribe, and therein lies the difference.

      Most of the time we’d probably never know the intentions behind every fashion blogs but sometimes it is so blatantly obvious. If you check out Get Off My Internets you’ll sometimes see intelligent, albeit snarky, readers being able to spot copycats from a mile away.

  • Emily

    by Emily on June 19, 2012 at 5:42 am

    I thought about the same a few days ago – how the popular lookbookers all look the same. And it doesn’t seem to make their fans tired as they keep on hyping.

    Maybe it’s not so good that today everyone can see everyone elses outfits and looks on street style blogs. Because at first you see something really cool and then you also want to dress like that. A few weeks later, you notice that everyone else is wearing the same outfit as you and the uniqueness as you saw it the first time has vanished.

    Also all the main chain stores such as H&M and Zara keep expanding to more and more countries world wide. They all hold the same clothes so it’s no wonder that we all see our neighbours and people on the other side of the planet wearing the same thing as we are. There was never anything like that in history!

    People like you and Susie Lau are great to look at because you both deliver something exceptional and different and very few people dress like that. But than again, if we all started to copy your looks it would be all the same again, wouldn’t it :)

    So in the end it’s good that we see the lookbookers dressed all the same because then some people can go away and say “I want to be different and dress in a different way.” And then we have a broad range of styles and hopefully everyone’s happy :)

    Great post!
    Have a good day,

    • Rosenrot

      by Rosenrot on June 29, 2012 at 6:03 pm

      Hi Emily,

      Thank you for your insight. I agree wholeheartedly that globalisation may have spurred convergence of taste and style instead of diversity.

      I’d never wish for Lookbook to go away for the same reason you posted. At the risk of sounding elitist, Lookbook has become a lighthouse, lighting the trends that many have learnt to avoid.

  • Robbie L.

    by Robbie L. on June 21, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    Very interesting post. I agree with most of it. Internet trends are usually pushed by the sponsors tho and the problem is all these girls who get the most hypes on lookbook have been there for a while, it’s always the same people. It’s hard for others to become “successful”. People just see the big blogs upload a pic and they hype it, it’s a mechanical process. I don’t think looking at the top of lookbook will show real street fashion. Look at the medium ones, the upcoming ones, look at the ones the masses don’t look at. Same as with real fashion. Foor for thought anyways. Cheers. :: Photography+Fashion+Rants

  • A La Mode

    by A La Mode on June 24, 2012 at 12:30 am

    Loving this post! And yes you can change so you can reply to comments. I think there are comment settings, but you have to have them embedded into the post, then you can reply.

    I agree that blogs are becoming more and more stale with the same looks. (I’m so sick of seeing double florals!) As a designer, I also don’t understand the ‘importance of trends’, in university we were encouraged to research trend forecasts for our collections, so they would sell better; which relates to bloggers dressing the same trends so they’ll attract more followers and hits.

    It’s a cheap shot for both sides, I think.

    • Rosenrot

      by Rosenrot on June 29, 2012 at 6:05 pm

      Hi Charlie,

      Well thank you there for your help. It’s lovely to hear your input from the perspective of the creators. Fashion is after all about spending your money so I can understand why commercialism is often prioritised over creativity.

      Despite being a huge fan of Phoebe Philo I agree that the double floral trend has to die.

  • Karina De Jesus

    by Karina De Jesus on June 27, 2012 at 3:25 am

    It’s like you read my mind. I’m happy to know that I’m not the only one that’s bothered by the trending that’s going on on lookbook and in general. brilliant post.

  • Rosenrot

    by Rosenrot on June 28, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    This comment has been removed by the author.


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