This year the analysis of the trends has been carried out by Angelo Flaccavento, an independent fashion writer based in Italy contributing to a roster of Italian and international publications. He works out of Sicily, where he still lives, traveling most of the time.
Fragmentation rules and the hyper-personal dominates, in every possible field. The global scenario obeys to the pervasive logics of digital culture – we’re all part of the plug generation, whether we like it or not. Chronology has been erased for good to be replaced by a sort of eternal, all-mixing, polymorphous and ever-changing present. Everything, or almost everything, is acceptable and relevant at the same time: highbrow and lowbrow, past and present, streamlined and baroque, fast-forward and rewind.
The state of young fashion creativity passing through the ITS lenses makes no exception. This is said without a hint of judgment: the world we live is one, and the stimuli we receive are, more or less, the same, depending on how fine-tuned are the antennae capturing them. It’s how we separately process the inputs which creates personal results. What follows, thereafter, should be intended as a series of paths, traced lightly with the thinnest of pencils. This trend report, for lack of a better definition, is a non-dogmatic map: a compendium of suggested journeys into a cluster of images, based on this writer’s point of view over iconographic materials which, out of necessity, are just a selection. In other words, there is no pretense of universal value: the raw stuff is not, hence the map cannot be. Period. This said, the fastidiously particular can sometimes be more accurate than the vastly encyclopedic. Or at least, it attempts to. After all, we are talking about submissions coming from 279 schools and 63 different countries for the present edition: a pretty wide cross-section making for a rich and layered specimen.
The picture, at a glance, looks familiar. Curiously, strangely familiar. It suggests some sort of déjà-vu crowded with esthetic doppelgangers. The relevant traits of the entries, in fact, strike a cunning resemblance with existing mainstream fashion trends. Atmospheres as well as design, but also surface treatments and silhouettes, do not question the status quo. On the contrary, they enforce it. The urge to add a personal touch or give an individual interpretation is kept for the subtle details, without bursting into anarchic slash ‘n burn. It is embedded in elements that need to be explored up-close to truly appreciate their diversity: on the outside, the effect is a kaleidoscopic brand of conformity. Also, the rawness and mandatory – yet oh-so-exciting – imperfections usually associated with student productions are replaced by a striking level of polish and professionalism. Everything looks, one way or another, market-ready.
Surprising? Maybe not. In a scenario flooded ‘til saturation with fashion-related visuals, transmitted in real time from fashion shows and events and then left floating forever in cyberspace or pinned on social medias, it must be pretty damn hard not to fall under the spell and be visually seduced by what recurs the most. Furthermore, the majority of the researches that lead to the creation of a collection, today, happens not in libraries or in dusty archives, over books or actual samples, but virtually in the infinite and infinitely flat libraries provided by Tumblr and the like. On the web, although chronology is rather non-existing, the hic et nunc, the urgency of the present wins, if only for mere quantity. This, for methodology.
The pervasive influence of the web however, is deeper and far more impactful. It informs clothes whose prime and sometime sole point of interest is the visual aspect, and at worst the frontal view – the camera-friendly one, in other words. Design deliberately eschews not only the third dimension, but also the fourth – movement. In this respect, it is impossible to underestimate the impact that Instagram is having on fashion design: to jump out of the screen and cut a dent, even only for a nanosecond, into the collective subconscious, a creation has to be bold, unremittingly graphic; it has to seduce and entertain the eye, blatantly. Which explains not only why prints – geometric and pixilated, more than phytomorphic or naturalistic – are dominating the scenario, but also how much the outline is used to define shapes and silhouettes.