“I’m sick of this town, and it’s dollar days and overalls. I want more out of life and I’m going to get it”! Mildred Pierce(1945). Vida is through with her life. She’s bored with her provincial life in America. At 16 she wants more out of life, and she is going to get it. By nook or by crook. This sentiment expresses my feelings about fashion in San Francisco. Limited options for men. Fast Fashion.
Fashion conspiracy in San Francisco.
San Francisco offers less clothing options, for men in comparison to those that are available to women. There isn’t a big enough market for men’s clothing to support it. This holds true for most of America, outside New York.
MAC- Modern Apparel Clothing is an exception to this rule for men, and women, in San Francisco. It offers a comparable or even better selection of men’s than women’s fashion in San Francisco. They carry local designers, and European designers. The Archive is one of the very few all men’s clothing store that offers quality designers, but it does not offer a very diverse aesthetic. Shotwell offers an eclectic selection of men’s clothing from local designers. Unisex-clothing is also sold here. Azalea, and Acrimony. Villians-Vault represents the denim and jeans market which dominates menswear in SF.
In America a man defines himself by the car he drives. In America a woman defines herself by the clothes she wears.
When I have brought this up in boutiques here in San Francisco that offer only women’s clothes or a very limited men’s selection they just look at me like I am from another planet. Like what do you mean?
I mean go to Europe. Get some perspective. Go to New York. Go to LA even.The cultural bias is so strong that people just take it for granted that men aren’t interested in fashion as much as women in America. It’s a very provincial attitude. San Francisco is provincial; but so is the rest of America excluding New York. I’m told on occasion the following explanation. Men in San Francisco are into other things. Alternative music, farm to table food, indie fashion, cults,art etc.
In Paris, the best place to shop for vintage and new and used fashion is at the flea markets. Here you will find vintage and new & used clothes at a fraction of the cost. Found one vintage ’80s men’s Claude Montana green leather jacket from my last trip for 30 euros.
What I see is a lot of conformity despite the pretense of being alternative. Rows and rows of plaid lumberjack shirts. Rows and rows of fashion conformity for men in San Francisco. If I see one more guy in a plaid lumberjack shirt and a knit cap pulled over his head I will… Everyone dresses the same. Men’s knit caps. There are plenty of these to be found everywhere. Knit caps for men are conformist.
Their is a list: Top 100 Fashion Designers in San Francisco which list the top fashion designers. You link into them, most of them are twitter accounts, posting about trends and styles etc. Some work for other people/stores/brands, and may or may not design clothes which they sell either online or in some store. How do you qualify to be called a Fashion Designer for this list? Their is no definition of what a fashion designer is. Can you just say you are a fashion designer and this makes you one? It’s confusing. This list isn’t credible.
You blog on twitter about fashion? The only person on the list who is a Fashion designer is Bacca da Silva. This is confusing. Some are aspiring fashion designers, like Bora Han? She presented a collection in a student fashion show at the Arts of Fashion competition, last year at Drexel University. Her twitter account says she is a fashion designer who is innovative, thinking forward, and multi-cultural. No disrespect to the creative and talented people on this list. There is a difference though between, Bacca da Silva, and even more so for American Designers, Richard Chai, Matthew Ames, etc. And the people listed on this top SF 100 list.
In the last several years in America, there has been a development of fast fashion. Fast fashion. Faux fashion. H&M, and Target, etc, with huge advertising and marketing dollars sell an idea of fashion to the public which is misleading and confusing.
Fast Fashion is marketed like any other commodity; a new toothpaste. Everything in America is hyped. Fast Fashion is hyped.
Quantity over quality. Fashion is not H&M. H&M sells a concept of fashion which is pure fantasy. You’re not buying clothes ( they fall apart after a couple washes then you buy more) you are buying a hyped idea of fashion; the clothes are just accessories really to the latest trend or style. You won’t be wearing this look, next month, to be in fashion; hence the conspiracy.
Furthermore, the media-advertising online and on tv, gives an image of fashion which is in many respects false and misleading. It’s like someone snaps their fingers, and these clothes materialize on the racks magically. The fact that these clothes are manufactured in China, at near slave wages which in turn allows the clothes to be sold so cheaply to Americans, isn’t part of the advertising hype. The true costs of fashion isn’t revealed. Smoke & mirrors. Voila! Fast fashion.
Mai Ling (poor thing) is working a full day for 30 cents in order for you to buy your affordable fast fashion.
Also, the cost and labor, employed to design clothes isn’t mentioned. This isn’t how it works. It takes time to develop and design any product. Including fashion! . Designers spend a lot of time and money creating real clothes that are cheaply knocked-off pennies on the dollar. Fabric costs, the creative aspect of developing new patterns, and design , rent for facilities, etc..Somebody is doing this creative work which is time consuming and costly, and they aren’t working for 30 cents a day.
Do people think ideas and the creative process is so easy? Someone is spending a lot of time designing an original design, that is then copied on the cheap and sold immediately to the public. Who is doing this? Like Endora from Bewitched who with a wave of the hand, and a cloud of smoke, can materialize on the roof of house, or the dashboard of a car while it’s moving, at will, so to can the fast fashion of H&M , and others materialize out of thin air and appear on the racks of H&M, for your shopping convenience. It’s fashion witchcraft.
As opposed to the concept of fast fashion of today, there was a time when there was no fast fashion. This world no longer exists.
In Paris, in the early ’70s there was a ’30 revival. Vogue Italia Fall ’72 had an editorial (see sideshow) with Angelica Huston in immaculate Valentino. Black and white. This high fashion was more pronounced in Europe at the time. Cultural differences and history before the Internet, (when European history is little understood in America) could not sell this European editorial with overt Nazi aesthetic in America. High Art Fashion photography. Old Europe and its sensibilities are rapidly declining, in the new global fashion order.
Mob Democracy and fast fashion for everyone. Let them eat cheap fast fashion.
The dark eyeshadow of the male model looks contemporary. It is what is being done today. The editorial in Italy in ’72 is just a couple of years after Luchino Visconti’s the Damned was released in ’69. The film was banned initially in America at the time.The aesthetic didn’t translate here well. Americans have a poor understanding of fascism. This is cultural. The Gestapo took my family’s residence in Thessaloniki during the German occupation in Greece during the war. They were prominent wealthy Greek communists.
Fast fashion blurs the line between dressmaking, pattermaking, and design. Designers conceive combinations of line, proportion, color, and texture for intended garments. They may or may not have sewing or patternmaking skills, and may only sketch or conceptualize garments. They work with people who know how to actually construct the garment, etc. The entire design process of fashion, is blurred today by this fast fashion phenomenon.
The Damned was very influential in Europe. Visconti created a look that translated well into European high fashion. Moral depravity looks chic. European nazi chic becomes high fashion. Luchino Visconti a duke and avowed communist was an artist. His creative aesthetic for the movie can’t be produced by Mai Ling in China for 30 cents a day.