Is Fashion Avant-garde?

There is no question that the designs of “avant-garde” fashion houses are beautiful — many are works of art that have historically influenced aesthetic trends. The question we raise is whether or not wearing so-called avant-garde fashion can make the person who wears it a rebel, an individual, and a disrupter. Can a person walk into an unconventional store, buy some innovative clothing, and truly say that the clothes he or she is buying are an external representation of his or her inner self? Even in the most cutting-edge clothing, can a person say, “This is who I am”?

We believe that the inner self — the deepest part of the psyche, intellect, and emotions — is the place where genuine innovation happens. We are skeptical about the amount and quality of disruption that fashion can cause, largely because the wearers of it are limited in their choices. New wave fashion becomes old school — fashion is finite, temporal. While the innovations of the soul are unlimited and eternal, fashion choices are limited by what is available.

It is possible to be a conformist who wears radical clothing. And a radical who wears conventional clothing. We’re sure you have met some people like that, or seen them in the media. While there is nothing inherently meritorious about wearing unfashionable or boring clothes, we know many examples of “conventional” dressers who have changed the world. What do you think? Is there more power-of-change in fashion than we are recognizing?


Go deeper into this issue: Externals: How Personal Style Is Spiritually Empowering | Do You Think You Are Ugly? | Do Clothes Make the Man? | Are You A Conformist?

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The Meaningful Life Center