‘Haute economics’ is now a fashion staple

Fashion on a shoe-string budget is nothing new to me. As a journalist, I survive on an anorexic salary.

What has changed is frugal fashion is now the rage due to the recently-departed recession. The economic slump has been so bad that even haute couture designers have had to adapt. You’ll see models fluttering across catwalks with floral summer dresses thrown over long-sleeve winter tops and cozy tights. Breaking out or buying a whole new wardrobe for each new season is, for now, an idea of bygone days.

In celebration of the ongoing trend of “haute economics” (as “T Magazine: The New York Times Style Magazine so appropriately called it) finally falling into step with what I and others have been doing for most of our lives, I debut this blog.

The trend testifies to what I’ve always believed: fashion is a symptom of the human situation. Economics, politics, culture, society, history and globalization are the main forces that affect designers’ decisions and our choices for what to wear.

Last week’s New York Fashion Week, where next fall’s collections were unveiled, reinforced that “haute economics” is going to be hot for a while longer.

Sally Singer, editor in chief of “T Magazine”, outlined in an interview last Thursday with NPR’s Morning Edition how the economy and the growth of the fashion industry in the Middle East and Asia have influenced upcoming fall fashions.

“Ten years ago, 15 years ago, designers thought a woman throws out her whole wardrobe at the beginning of the season and buys full looks,” Singer said. “Overdone. No one has the money. You have to have a look, and you have to add it with a special piece.”

“Everyone shops in a high-low way and saves the best pieces from the seasons and brings them out again,” she added.

Next fall, you’ll see more long sleeves attached to dresses, Singer said. Why? Designers are starting to cater to women in the Middle East, where culture dictates that women cover their shoulders. Dubai, where I recently visited, has become a shopping and fashion center. For example, fashion maestro Giorgio Armani opened up his first hotel in the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, in Dubai about a year ago. There, he sells items from his Privé Collection.

“Long sleeves used to be seen as a very expensive detail to put in a dress,” Singer said. “Now, you’re seeing more sleeves. I love that there are more sleeves, but that probably means that it’s cultures where you need a sleeve that are dictating that to a certain degree.”

Designers also brought down skirt hemlines for next fall, she said. You will see hemlines extending down to mid-calf.

My blog picks up where New York Fashion Week left off by keeping you up to date on the world of fashion. More importantly, I’ll share tips on how to score the best finds at boutiques, thrift stores and department stores, how to modify or accessorize clothes you already have, simple sewing projects and do-it-yourself beauty advice.

While Southern Oregon isn’t a fashion Mecca, we have an adequate ensemble of local boutiques, stylists, costume designers and natural cosmetic makers to contribute to our wardrobe. I’ll talk about local fashion news and Southern Oregon natives off in other places following their dreams of modeling or designing. In tandem, I’ll look outside the valley to national and international trends and how they may manifest here.

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    Paris Achen

    Paris Achen writes stories about fashion and education with the motto that a frugal fashionista must be a well-educated one. Her blog weaves together commentary on fashion, beauty and fun, frugal tips on how to net the looks on the catwalk. You ... Read Full
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