New York Fashion Week: The Point Where Clothing is No Longer Fashion

By: Izzy Hermelin

Following New York Fashion week, the world of social media was buzzing with commentary. Many praised the elaborate collections of the up and coming designers of 2019. Tomo Koizumi’s debut collections flooded all media outlets in minutes; Koizumi’s intricately crafted dresses were being celebrated across all platforms. And while we appreciate the ornate details of Koizumi’s sculpture-like dresses, we can’t help but push back on them as well. His dresses are objectively beautiful- the assortment of colorful ruffles, the complimentary colors, and the unique circular shape. But the dresses felt impractical. Somehow unapproachable. Although Koizumi’s collection was designed for the runway, we could only picture them in a museum, not to be worn by anyone.

Koizumi’s collection made us question the boundary between fashion and art. Some may argue these are seemingly interrelated concepts. And we don’t disagree completely- fashion is a form of creative artistry. But on the other hand, there is a sense of utilitarianism associated with fashion that is often lost with art. Clothing is intended to be worn. Yes, it is can be a masterpiece, but it has a function. It has a purpose. In our opinion,  Tomo Koizumi’s collection is art, not fashion. The dresses more closely resemble an impressionist Monet painting than a high- fashion garment. The dresses wore the models, rather than the models wearing the dresses. Tomo Koizumi’s collection is unarguably a beautiful piece of art, but is it fitting for the runway?

Although many designers are challenging the definition of fashion, there is still some aspect of clothing that is meant to be worn. The rise of streetwear can be attributed to this notion: fashion is intended to be comfortable, easy, and most importantly, accessible. Streetwear is so appealing because it’s genuine- it satisfies the needs of an average individual who is on trend in a practical, everyday manner. We praise streetwear for successfully balancing fashion with the creative aspects of art.

Koizumi is not the only one that is blurring the lines between fashion and art. New York Fashion week as a whole has shifted its focus from pure clothing to fashion that makes a bold, artistic statement. We are not discouraging designers from bringing a unique perspective to their designs. Alternatively, we are taking a step back and re-evaluating the boundaries between high fashion and high art.  At what point is something no longer considered fashion?

Brian Zhao