Déjà vu: it’s the 1970s again
Lucire’s features’ editor Phillip Johnson tells me that his New York Fashion Week review for the April issue of the magazine will have a lot of 1970s and 1980s retro fashion. It’s a concern, I told him, because I have just got to the point where 1980s fashion is intolerable. Until last year I could still bear the thought of Heather Locklear as Sammy Jo Carrington. But now, Amanda Woodward’s clothes are beginning to look passé, at least that ﬁrst season’s stuff. (Daphne, you are timeless.)
The 1970s have been trying to bite us on the hind end for a while, in terms of fashion and design. I am not a fan of retro design—a designer’s duty, I believe, is to keep advancing, rather than revisiting. Hence I quite happily speak out against it (things that suck: the Lamborghini Miura concept, the Dodge Challenger concept, the Ford GT) because while revisits can get in new audiences, they pander to old ones. In business, the greatest risk is to take no risks—and retro is a no-risk proposition that will never get the “wow” factor that the ﬁrst Ford Mustang or the ﬁrst Chrysler minivan did.
Clothing, too, has gone back to the past—and while we are more limited here than with automotive design, I would rather we kept progressing. Maybe we all will wind up wearing those silver outﬁts and live on the moon. But till episodes of UFO become reality, I have to wonder what all this re-cycling (the hyphen is intentional) means.
These retro trends only work if we are in a rear-view-mirror mood. We enter these moods typically when: (a) we have just forgotten how bad things were 10 years ago; (b) economic indicators—a “reliable” source—suggest things were, indeed, better 10 years ago; (c) those same indicators forecast a rocky road ahead.
We can probably draw parallels with the 1970s: rising oil prices, America in a war economy, concerns over outsourcing to cheaper production locales. But are we more just as a planet in 2006? I am too young to remember 1972, and I haven’t seen Munich to refresh my memory of the bad fashions, but assuming we aren’t a fairer society, then we have to look at our current situation as a chance—God-given or otherwise—to not repeat the mistakes of the past. If we can admit to mistakes—that it was mismanagement of global economies that led to injustices, and the absence of social responsibility. Once we admit that (and what harm is there for those of us in the work-place today, other than upsetting some university lecturers who gave us facts we never criticized?), we can begin to do things right.
Del.icio.us tags: trends | cyclical | retro | design | fashion | economics | global economy | CSR | social responsibility Posted by Jack Yan, 10:03
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