"Let’s go! Let’s be different from the many who are teeming in the general pile!" Simple but yet very inspiring and true words that the Swiss poet and Nobel Prize winner for literature, Carl Spitteler said, almost a 100 years ago. You don’t know Mr. Spitteler? It’s okay. It’s more important, that you know the following designers, who definitely showed courage to be different and stepped out of their comfort zones, into the not that simple world of fashion.
"To be irreplaceable, you always have to be different" – a phrase that could be familiar to many Coco Chanel fans. Actually born as Gabrielle Chasnel on the 19th of August 1883, she soon realized that she was different from the typical women of her time. So Coco, the name she got from a song she was singing in a cabaret in her twenties, liked to walk around, wearing a hat, pants and men's clothing. She didn’t care about what others where thinking about her. She wanted to create a new, modern woman. So she founded the almost revolutionary, functional women's fashion, which consisted by a calf-length skirt, pants, a simple top and a short haircut – just a modern, self-confident woman. At first, her designs weren’t accepted by society. Sooner or later however, many women were very grateful for her new way of clothing – until today.
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For The Women
Another designer who had the courage and devoted himself entirely to the modern woman was the Frenchman Yves Saint Laurent. "I have always resisted the dreams of certain colleagues who want to satisfy their own ego via fashion. I always wanted to put myself in the service of women. I wanted to accompany them in their great liberation movement that has shaped the past century." In 1967, at a time when women were only beginning to fight for their rights, the fashion designer made them look strong. With his suit for women, also known as "Le Smoking", he created a uniform that made women look elegant and businesslike – aka the goal of emancipation.
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"Risk it, do it. Life always gives you another chance. It's very important to take enormous risks." That's exactly what the British designer Mary Quant made as her life motto. At a time when women still needed work permits from their husbands, the strong woman made herself strong for the her female customers. In the 1960s, she designed one of the most important pieces of clothing: the miniskirt. With this new look, women were literally liberated from the prudish fashion of the post-war period. Also, Mary Quant influenced the "Swinging Sixties" like hardly any other designer. It was a risk that made history.
Time For Something New
For many years, the fashion industry was actually quite the same and rather monotonous. Twice a year, the big fashion shows are happening. Here and there, a designer is more adventurous than others. But times are changing. In recent years, feminism has become the focus of many labels and environmental protection is now more important than ever. Even the style of fashion is beginning to change. New designers bring the street style look to the most famous catwalks of the world. One of those pioneers is the American designer and newest art director of the Louis Vuittons’ menswear, Virgil Abloh. He is also the founder and chief executive officer of the label Off-White. Another designer to watch is Gosha Rubchinskiy from Russia who founded his same-named label in 2008. Both creative heads are the epitome of street style. Virgil Abloh tries to incorporate many social issues.
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“These clothes and the things that I make are what I spend most of the time obsessing about. These 200- to 300-part collections should just paint a bigger picture. It’s because fashion should have a brand of which the person behind cares about different contexts and different social things”, the designer says. For Gosha, on the other hand, it's more about being different: "I don’t want to be Supreme, I don’t want to be Palace, I want to be Gosha," He proudly continues: "People say that Gosha is the next Raf Simons (the current artistic director at Calvin Klein 205W39NYC) or that Gosha is the next Supreme. No. Gosha is Gosha." The designer does the cool thing that used to be considered as ugly or "fucked up" for many years. Instead, he brings the typical Russian style to the catwalk and while being inspired from the fall of the “Iron Curtain”. With his ambition and courage, Gosha has now made collaborations with Adidas or the High Fashion Label Burberry.
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All in all, these designers show that it’s all comes with stepping out of your comfort zone in order to make history. Let’s stay tuned for the new approaches more designers will bring us in the future. It’s high time to give them a try!