Ease is My Edge
I have been thinking lately about what gives someone or something an "edge"? What does it mean to live on the “edge”? Why does one designer seem to rise to the top, especially during a very visually saturated spectacle like fashion week? What makes a garment “edgy”? How do you know it when you see it? Somehow I feel I need a kind of lens or protocol through which to evaluate the many images that flash across my screen as we move across the sea to London, Milan and Paris. Since I always seem to find myself living on the edge of something, I thought that might be a good conceptual framework for me to use as I evaluate the clothes and find those that stand out the most for me.
I always find it helpful to go directly to the source, the dictionary and see the literal meaning of a word rather than all the cultural or professional jargon attached to it. So for “edge” we have several:
“A place or part furthest away from the center of something”
“An area next to a sharp drop”
“An intense or striking quality”
“The sharpened side of the blade of a cutting instrument or weapon”
There is an element of danger and risk that seem implied by the definitions. The qualitative affective experience is one of intensity. It stands out internally and externally and you remember it. It is far from the norm or what we say in research language, “the mean”. What I like about using this lens is that it can offer up some surprising and unexpected findings, like in a season full of glitter and metallics, a well crafted neutral colored garment can have a visual edge because it stands apart from the rest. If the fashion world is really noisy about a common topic and you as a designer or creative are being quiet, you may have an edge. The risk and danger the “edge” presents is that you may feel alone and of course you may fail. As the definition indicates there may be a very steep drop and that is perhaps why many designers do not venture too close.
I have had experiences lately where I have been very dressed up, made-up and fussed over. Although the results are beautiful and lovely, and I shared some of the photos with you, in those representations I feel closer to the center. There are other times when I have gone completely off the grid and done a project that is so different I was seriously afraid (yet exhilarated) because I could not control the outcome or the vision and I worried about my bones surviving a possible fall. Most times I feel more on the edge when there is an ease in or an afterthought quality to my dressing. When I dress in a way that conveys how I want to move around my city, or that conveys my mood, like if I want to hide a little. As much as someone can hide when wearing Issey Miyake and brocade and fur mules. I want to be seen, but I don't want to as well. I think that's an edge.
So I think this conceptual framework is good way for me to assess and think about the clothes I see during fashion month and help me decide which I might like to wear when I want to travel to the edge whatever that may be in this fast moving, ever changing world we live in.
What lens do you use when thinking about the clothes that are shown during fashion month?