Stop Fucking the Planet. Vin and Omi Spring/Summer 2018.

12/09/2017 § Leave a comment

At Andaz London, 11/9/2017.

 

The greatest fashion shows, to paraphrase Susan Sontag, are rarely, if ever, about the showing of fashion.

 

In terms of clothing retail, they are very often a loss leader and, since the innovations at Yves Saint Laurent under the stewardship of Pierre Bergé in the 1970s, have been a marketing device to sell accessories, perfume and cosmetics. There has recently been a flash-in-the-pan outbreak of see-now-buy-now fashion shows from some of the more wearable clothing manufacturers, but they seem to be more of a zeitgeisty gimmick that feeds into the Verucca Salt drive for instant gratification that some say characterises our age.

 

At their very best, though fashion shows are a creative form dedicated to the articulation and expression of ideas. They can be every bit as intellectually heavyweight as a Shakespeare play, they can explore the most profound human emotions just as effectively as any grand opera, and they can comment on social and political issues with the passion and insight of any novel by Flaubert, Austin or Achebe.

 

So it is with Vin and Omi – an interdisciplinary design duo with a background in sculpture and photography who currently work across fashion and multi media design. They deploy fashion as a mechanism for commenting on environmental concerns, and their s/s 18 collection showcased a range of textiles made from plastics salvaged from ocean and river clean-up projects worldwide.

 

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The fly-postering aesthetic of several generations of counterculture that provided a backdrop to the collection loses its oppositional power in the face of the global issue of climate change that underpinned the collection. The latex-looking pants and bras were entirely devoid of their usual kink-erotic connotations, when the by-product of sex that is human reproduction has brought the planet to the brink of catastrophe. Watching the show in London after watching the news of hurricane Irma hitting the Caribbean and Florida, was, or at least should have been, if you’re paying attention, sobering.

 

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The mask-like make-up worn by models both male and female flagged up the idea of hidden depths beyond the surface, and decorated extremities (plastic and wire wrapped round fingers, plastic wrapped round shoes) suggest that limits can and will be reached. Slogans on clothing remind us that words are where we start but in themselves not enough, and the diversity of the models says that we’re all affected, and all responsible.

 

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Fashion shows are not going to change the world, but they can and do articulate the concerns of the age. In that regard, Vin and Omi’s s/s 2018 collection is germane to the most crucial question of the 21st Century, which is to say, what can we do to make sure there’s a 22nd Century. They present us with some answers, and compel us to add more of our own – and if we neglect this, we do so at our cost.

 

 

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