So why am I advocating grunge fashion?
Aside from the prevalence of grunge-inspired fashions seen on the Spring 13 runways, the proliferation of mismash fashion currently on display during New York A/W 13 fashion week, and all the fashion magazines, like Style.com, touting how to get the "look", I'm not advocating to Go Grunge.
There seems to be a relatively disheartening lack of core brand identity currently on display in the fashion industry. It seems either we have lost our way or we are desperately searching for a way. I have not yet determined which end is up, but what I do know is that the "way" begins with "not" being afraid to identify with a core consumer base. Whether you are designing and branding to a youth-oriented, a mature consumer, particular ethnic group, or socio-economic status clientele, you should do so confidently and unapologetically. Fashion is not about being politically correct.
It's about answering the call and desire of our specific, defined target consumer. If you, either as designer or a brand, are not going to trust your consumer and design clothes that "shout" out your design aesthetic and identity, then heck, you may as well just throw up your hands and Go Grunge.
Grunge fashion gained popularity in Seattle, Washington during the 1990s. It was an anti-fashion movement born from the disenchantment of the youth population who were struggling with the economic hardships of the time. Grunge is predominantly identified with plaid, cotton flannel shirts "artfully" tied around the waist or worn over a baggy cotton tee-shirt...but other than the ubiquitous cotton flannel, plaid shirt, there is no true constant identifier for grunge. It's primarily in the attitude...dark, edgy, with an overarching "drop-out" demeanor. Sounding familiar? Based on what I've seen overall on the A/W 13 runways...the sense of despair, lost resignation, and abandonment (not in a good way) has definitely struck a cord for me.
Designer grunge fashion is always so laughable because grunge is not based on luxury fabrics, specialized design details, and sophisticated cuts, but rather based on comfort fabrics and shapeless or destroyed clothing. Grunge is a mismatch of patterns and silhouettes. Although trending is the assemblage of varying fabrics, patterns, and textures for 2013-2014, this trend is born from a sophisticated understanding of aesthetically mixing textures and/or patterns to reinvent a look, not destroy the integrity of the design.
Thakoon Addition RTW Fall 2013-Assemblage
Fashion is about taking chances, having a stance, and not being afraid to make a statement even if it only makes sense to your core consumer..."standing by" your brand identity. Why do you think designer brands like Burberry, Chanel, and Calvin Klein have remained successful throughout the years?
I'm not saying not to invest in a few grunge-inspired pieces in your product line development or buy plan. Grunge inspiration is a definite trend and speaks to a particular consumer market...one that is a lot younger, possibly just entering college or the job market with quite a bit less cash to spend on designer and luxury items. Grunge can even be fun to explore as a visual merchandising concept or theme for a more mature, upscale market who may have fond memories of their "grungier" days and so think it may be fun to bring a little plaid, cotton flannel, stud details, or mismash into their weekend wardrobe.
What I am saying is, "Designers and merchandisers, please, stop trying to please everyone and focus on pleasing your core customer." Make sure your product line speaks to their specific needs, of course, incorporate trend as appropriate, but don't Go Grunge if it doesn't make sense to your shopping audience.
I would love to continue this discussion. Leave me a comment or contact me directly. Fashion Freelance Works! Find out how I can work for you by submitting your contact information on this website.