- Julia Garel |
The apparel sector needs to review its industry as responsible consumption and the desire for less and mindful shopping grows. It is no longer enough to rely on the freshness of new trends. In order to be convincing, fashion is rethinking its values, committing itself to good causes, raising its CSR policy a notch and, above all, communicating its good will tirelessly. However, another approach is possible, that of the product itself.
When it comes to fashion, outside of sportswear, selling a product to the average consumer by talking about its degree of innovation is not really a widespread technique-this could well change. For a few seasons now, and even more so since the beginning of the pandemic crisis, unusual designs have been appearing. These are based on the proposal of hybrid products, from two-in-one use to practicality, but it’s not only that.
‘Meteor Shower Jitney’ by Virgil Abloh
In September 2019, seen on the podium of the Off-White label, was model Audrey Marnay with an unusual accessory in her right hand: a piece of black leather between the clutch and the handbag. The object christened ‘Meteor Shower Jitney’ is not practical and is more like a collector's item than a fashion accessory. Like Jacquemus' tiny bags, its openwork architecture allows it to hold only a few odds and ends. Moreover, the idea of a bag to be worn as a clutch is not completely new. Whatever the case, the influence of the brand and of designer Virgil Abloh, are enough to give the object a particular scope. By its non-functionality, the 990 euros clutch bag has contributed to the refreshing concept of the hybrid product.
This demonstrates the fashionable character of hybridisation. The advantage of ‘versatility’ in fashion pieces is not limited to ultra-functional products designed to serve a purpose, desirability is also central.
Stellawear, the fusion of lingerie and swimwear
Stella McCartney has recently entered into the trend of high-end and evolutionary hybrid products. Launched in September 2020, the Stellawear collection offers a line combining lingerie and swimwear. The versatile pieces are designed to be worn everyday and can be used for multiple occasions; which therefore, allows the consumer to buy less. They are a model of the future for the clothing sector, focused on conscious consumption.
Image : Stellawear
Recently, the need for masks due to the pandemic has created new opportunities for brands and designers. The sale of protective masks has spread rapidly both in physical stores and online. Among the many options, one entrepreneur stood out by making their product hybrid. Created during the confinement by Caroline Bayle, the Baylandi brand imagined a scarf with a particular fold that allows it to be worn as a mask. The accessory thus fulfils the two-in-one function.
The SS21 collections are full of examples, such as the Japanese label, Ujoh, which has notably worked on the idea of multi-purpose clothing in line with its deconstructivist style. The result is a dress that can be cut in half and transformed into a multi-layer skirt.
The Y/Project advanced versatility in its collection with the idea of "Evergreen", which was presented in their video during Paris Fashion Week SS21. Conceived as a tutorial, the film showed a triptych of three models, each joined by dressers in charge of modifying their outfit to offer a new wear. Once again, it's all about hybridity.
Image : Victoria/Tomas, PE21
Victoria/Tomas showcases double-sided pieces
Finally, the French ready-to-wear brand, Victoria/Tomas, has also launched its SS21 collection with the concept of versatile clothing through a radical decision. "From now on, the Victoria/Tomas collections will be entirely made up of reversible silhouettes that reflect the identity of the brand, reflecting the concept of binomial,” the company recently announced in a press release.
Victoria/Tomas optimises the idea of reversible pieces by making full use of both sides of the garment. “Each time it is a question of two completely different proposals: on the one hand, a basic piece for everyday life, inspired by the codes of workwear and the simplicity of the men's wardrobe; on the other hand, a more elaborate creation with feminine details, such as precious embroideries or subtly draped silk sleeves," the press release said.
The approach, which is still unusual if not unique in the world of luxury, is likely to become more widespread. The success of Louis Vuitton's multi pochette bag (released in 2019) has already proven that the multiple use of the same product is all the more convincing when it is expensive. The accessory sells for 1,420 euros on the brand's e-shop and is currently out of stock.
Photo credit: Victoria/Tomas PE21, Louis Vuitton site website
This article was previously published on FashionUnited.fr. Translation and editing: Andrea Byrne.