“Relatable” has become the internet's favorite word. This year, we’ve made Barbie relatable, showing that even the imaginary figure of beauty can struggle with her own self-image. We try to relate to full-time content creators who complain of their busy days full of pilates classes, PR unboxings, and Starbucks runs. And now, we’re asking Fashion Month to relate to us as well. TikTok user @databutmakeitfashion uses their computer science background in order to analyze fashion trends. Their analysis found collections deemed “wearable” at Paris Fashion Week got, on average, 36% more popular reception. We’re now looking at Fashion Month to tell us what to wear and to reflect trends in an easily understandable form. We’re looking to relate to these shows.
The landscape of Fashion Month's front rows has shifted, with celebrities and influencers outnumbering editors, significantly expanding the reach of many shows. Previously, seeking images from Fashion Month required a deliberate effort, typically attracting individuals deeply passionate about design. However, today, the majority view them through the Instagram accounts of their favorite influencers, not just to appreciate the designs but to be influenced.
Alessandro Michele's farewell show for Gucci in Fall/Winter 23 featured silver fringe jackets, furry moon boots, and sheer dresses unveiling lingerie underneath. This month, we saw Sabato De Sarno’s debut show for Gucci, which showcased garments bordering on corporate America appropriateness — blazers, loafers, and pencil skirts dominated the runway. A slight adjustment in hemlines, and it could easily pass for a group of really well-dressed Wall Street women.
Last Spring, Demna shifted Balenciaga from theatrical shows on dirt to long, stark white catwalks, showcasing “normal clothes.” This collection was personal, as Demna went home and returned to his roots in tailoring. An accompanying short film of the collection featured the models wearing it as they walked the streets of Paris; these clothes were made to be worn beyond the runway or red carpet. The collection was designed for people to draw personal inspiration from and relate to.
Similar to the Fashion Week transitions, fall trends are steering towards more effortlessly wearable clothing. High-heeled boots have been replaced with kitten heels, stiff baguette bags with slouchy shoulder bags, and jewel tones for the more laid-back, easy to style, cherry red. We’re hoping to relate to the looks we see on the runway and wear them in ways that feel good for us.
This shift towards more wearable runways prompts questions as to the “whys” of it all. Is it an effort to make fashion more inclusive by allowing more people to connect with and relate to the shows? Or does it signify a transformation of Fashion Week from a showcase of textile artistry into a clothing catalog? Are we admiring art or selling trends?