In this moment where everything is excess — too much fashion, too many clothes — I tried to work it so the person is most important, more simple, less useless stuff
As her fashion show came to a close this September, Miuccia Prada spoke with journalists: she said she had wondered whether launching a new collection was the right thing to do at a time when people already own too much and should be learning to make do with less — for the good of the planet. “We want to talk more about style than fashion, about a way of wearing things,” she said, according to Alexander Fury in Another Magazine. A debate as to the difference between fashion and style could fill books — for me, it’s quite enough to be writing the introduction to an issue exploring Manufacturing and Lampoon’s new editorial line focusing on the concept of Crafted. In Italian, that would be artigianale but it just doesn’t have the same meaning in English. Crafted means something created by hand, cleverly designed and properly made; the result of much thought and study. This makes for a challenge in terms of production and not only illustrates what can be made with your hands, but the tangible results that man is able to achieve using the resources available to him — chemistry, manufacturing, intellect, and innovation. In short, I would say the meaning of Crafted is closer to the Italian Manifattura. “In this moment where everything is excess — too much fashion, too many clothes — I tried to work it so the person is most important,” continued Mrs. Prada, while Tim Blanks reported in The Business of Fashion: “more simple, less useless stuff”. Mrs. Prada emphasized that the main goal of her collection was to be simple. The word naive was used. This simplicity was to be understood as a message advocating the return of a more essential approach to life and spending.
Style is about how you want garments to look and is achieved in how you wear or mix them: whether it’s a cardigan dragged out of a trunk in the attic or shorts bought at a street market. Style is how these pieces look based on a suggested attitude. The items you see first on a fashion runway almost always have the specific purpose of illustrating the basic style to follow; for Prada, this year, it was a simple woman in a white polo shirt and a knee-length skirt. By dressing her runway models in a style created by using such simple garments, it’s almost as if Mrs. Prada were inviting the audience to head to Uniqlo, Zara, or any of the fast-fashion brands, and grab themselves a simple bluish-white polo shirt and knee length skirt. They’d have spent 120 euros at the most, leaving with a style that is simple.
The media attention attracted by runways will give fast-fashion the chance to manufacture simple items in less than a month, whereas the actual pieces presented by the fashion house won’t be available in stores for another year. The reason the textile industry plays such a critical role in terms of sustainability today is because companies continue to dump countless items (made with questionable consideration to sustainability) onto the market in a relatively brief period of time. When a fashion house presents clothes that are simple, they make life easier for the world of fast-fashion.
Manufacturing has become a trendy topic because when a product is made with superior manufacturing expertise and the market itself comprehends this, fast-fashion loses ground. After making her point about simplicity, Mrs. Prada conceded she was still far too much in love with fashion to sacrifice any of its complexity — translated here as the intellectual and sartorial disarray that sets her brand apart, and which was noted in some of her later pieces. Meanwhile, in Paris, after the typical French style of black boots, miniskirts, unbuttoned white shirts, and black blazers, Saint Laurent filled his runway with embroidery, texture, and a roughness that would drain the budget of any company without decades of experience just to make the samples — pieces that would be tricky to imitate, never mind invent. Molded shoulders, standing proud over the human body and made stronger by their shape, are the outcome of a clever cut, a twist in the yarn, fabric woven to make it firmer, and seams sealed with heat — these are things you encounter at Louis Vuitton, Versace, and, of course, Balenciaga.
In this issue of Lampoon, and in line with our new editorial strategy, we explore Crafted from various points of view: from considering the importance of the local district — perhaps more important than the manufacturing itself — down to the current, conceptual differences separating art, crafts, and design. Never before has manufacturing been so closely associated with the meaning of fashion, understood as an aesthetic logic immersed in the social and commercial value of industry.