Traditionally, when we speak of fashion, we immediately think of a size 0 lady walking down the street in her skin-tight dress and 5-inch heels, carrying the latest designer bag, thinking she’s above everyone else. For years, I personally thought that way and fashion magazines, sadly, fuelled that fire.
When I was growing up, I wasn’t exposed to high fashion and the only way for me to get access to it was through the glossy magazines. And it was limited. I only got to know all these major fashion moments when I went to fashion school. And BOY! It SHOOK me to the core.
I grew up when Gisele Bündchen, Coco Rocha, Natalia Vodianova and Liya Kebede were the it models. They were in all the branded campaigns, sporting luxurious outfits and accessories. I had this habit of mimicking the way they posed and imagining as if I was in the campaign with them. I would get into character – sucking in my tummy, standing on tippy toes and posing for hours in front of the mirror. All these big publications dictated my views on fashion and beauty. The standard back then was that you needed to be skinny and tall, with a size 0 figure.
The 90’s was one of the most iconic eras in fashion (and my personal favourite too). It was a turning point for the industry. Young designers and models were fuelling each other’s careers but really, there were five models who really made a mark in the industry. They were known as The Big Five which consisted of supermodels Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington, Linda Evangelista and Tatjana Patitz.
(Source: The Star)
Cindy Crawford was the highest paid model on the planet in 1995, according to Forbes.
Christy Turlington was known for being on over 500 covers during her career and signed a contract with Maybelline for an annual fee of $800,000 for a campaign.
Linda Evangelista was known as the industry’s “chameleon” for her ability to suit a multitude of styles. And let’s not forget her infamous phrase, “We don’t wake up for less than $10,000 a day.”
Tatjana Patitz, the last of the Big Five, continues to be known as one of the “original supermodels” and even after her retirement, she remains in demand for high-end fashion labels such as Jean-Paul Gaultier and Chanel.
Tatjana was later replaced by Claudia Schiffer, who is one of the most successful supermodels in the world, holding the record for the most magazine covers according to The Guinness Book of World Records.
And in came Kate Moss. She rose to fame later in the 90’s when she was just 14. Her presence shifted the world of fashion by storm when she entered into the scene and turned the Big Five into the Big Six. Her figure set a new fashion standard and that became known as “heroin chic.” Back then, the stick-thin stature and pale, ghostly look was the thing. But due to Kate’s extremely skinny frame, she was often criticised for allegedly promoting eating disorders.
On the other end of the spectrum, we had other iconic moments by fashion designers themselves too. This era was dominated by the likes of Alexander McQueen, Helmut Lang, John Galliano, Perry Ellis, COMME des GARÇONS, Hussein Chalayan, Azzedine Alaïa, Yohji Yamamoto, Jean Paul Gaultier, and Ann Demeulemeester.
These designers created a new path for current designers and some even tried to emulate them.
Well, a lot has changed since then.
Now with the rise of social media and everything digital, fashion has come a long way from what it was back then. For starters, the standard of beauty isn’t just a size 0 anymore. Models like Candice Huffine, Denise Bidot, Tara Lynn and Ashley Graham are breaking those standards. The first high-end brand I actually noticed doing something different was Marc Jacobs when Beth Ditto from the Gossip walked in one of his shows back in 2016.
And thanks to the digital sphere, some people have turned their social media presence into a full-time career and brands are endorsing them with products. And I don’t mean those little Instagram shops but legit fashion houses.
Compared to the 90’s, where fashion seemed to be very elusive and intimidating to “normal” people, the birth of social media influencers gave the fashion industry a breath of fresh air and it became a way for people and fashion labels to converge. Today they are paid as much as models were paid back in the 90’s. Reason being, these influencers are more relatable to the masses as compared to models, and being relatable has never been so important especially in this modern era.
These are some of the “influencers” I’m obsessed with:
1. Rina Sawayama
Rina Sawayama started off as a model but her big break came after she became a singer with her single Cyber Stockholm Syndrome. Her music literally reminds me of 90’s pop but with an Asian twist, but it’s her sense of style that I can’t get enough of. She is slowly becoming a fashion icon in her own right.
2. Susie Bubble
3. AYA & AMIAYA
Aya and Amaiya have been getting international recognition from the global fashion industry just recently. They’re known for their neon pink aesthetics and killer eye-liner which could cut a b*tch up! Brands like Fendi and Alexander Wang just can’t get enough of these twins.
4. Charles Jeffrey
Let’s not forget that fashion at its very core lies in clothing and visual representation. Designers in this modern age utilise social media to their advantage by connecting with their fans and following.
Charles Jeffrey has been breaking the internet with his Club Kids antics and sharing key messages to young people. He isn’t afraid to make things weird and follow what is widely accepted by the general public.
5. Molly Goddard
The queen of tulle herself, Molly Goddard has made an impact on her own with her strong vision of how women should dress for themselves and nobody else. Her collections usually draw from the different scenarios of girlhood, without being stereotypical or overly twee. For example, her Autumn- Winter 2015 collection was inspired by boarding school style life-drawing classes.
The bottom line is, fashion has evolved with the times and we have seen this with each changing era. From women wearing poofy corset dresses in the 18th century to women wearing pants in the 19th century, fashion has always been at the forefront of change, regardless of what is going on in the world.
Meet C27’s very own fashion diva and expert.