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Milan and Paris Fashion Week starts, does it really happen on the streets or on the runways?
We are in the middle of the fashion week in Milan and next week will start the one in Paris. The Gucci, Fendi, Prada, Moschino and Armani runways took place at Milan Fashion Week. At the Paris Fashion Week will take place Dior, Saint Laurent, and Off-White's fashion shows. Some of these shows will be broadcast live through each design firm's accounts. However, it is known that big fashion companies' fashion shows are not the most accessible, not only for the cost of the clothes but for the exclusivity of the events. The street style, then, regains an important role in the fashion weeks. Although, again, the events and what surrounds them are very exclusive, fashion weeks do change the city for a few days and that can be seen in the streets.
Leer en español: Semanas de la moda: apuntes sobre el street style
Runways vs. Street
In recent years, there has been more coverage on what fashion editors and designers use for events during fashion weeks than on the runways themselves. Why is that? According to Hadley Freeman of The Guardian, "The rise of 'street style' – the term for photos of people wearing outfits out and about – is the purest form of what people mean when they talk loftily about 'the democratization of fashion' ". Now we are in a time of fashion icons that transcend the industry. Internet influencers and celebrities can become fashion icons without being models, designers or photographers.
Now we can all take and upload photos on the street much more easily than before. Thus, attendees, press and cities' inhabitants where the fashion weeks take place can have a more active participation than being mere receivers of trends and taking note of what will come in the following collections of their favorite designer. Being much more accessible to the public and fashion students, street style is disclosed with much more ease and speed than what happens in runways and, perhaps because of this, it has become the common denominator in the coverage of fashion weeks.
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What influences what?
One can think that, due to the rise of street style and its strong coverage in the press, runways have lost its influence. It is not like this. Although the street style works outside runways, it does not operate outside its influence. In fact, as Freeman says, the outfits you see on the street are about what you see on runways. Thus, one could imagine a themed party that must be attended dressed according to the theme. Those attending the fashion show of one or another collection of one or another design house will dress according to that theme. Freeman says that "(...) the simple fact that they are on the street as opposed to a runway gives the illusion of accessibility and relatability: two concepts people desire now and so fashion feels it has to pay lip service to them, fraudulent and tokenistic as it may be"
In this way, Freeman affirms that street style is still an exclusive, and therefore excluding, form of fashion, simply captured by other less official photographers. While this is true, so is the fact that we can learn through street outfits how runways influence the fashion we consume in our daily lives. By viewing photographs of men and women using adapted versions of what they see on runways, the public around the world can not only more easily see runways but in a more realistic way. After all, until now we are learning that it is possible to use on the street what fashion shows display on runways.
LatinAmerican Post | Juliana Rodríguez
Translated from "Semanas de la moda: apuntes sobre el street style"