Holding on to Individuality in a World of Minimalism.
It is no secret minimalism is in. The less-is-more approach to style is evident across the board, from pared back interiors to clean lines in architecture, to barely-there makeup through to the basic tee’s and simple staples hanging in our wardrobes. Instagram is flooded with minimalist feeds, with black, white and neutral images brought to life with splashes of denim. The lack of colour, decoration and, dare I say it, individuality, is creating a game of replication – it is becoming increasingly difficult to find anything unique in the bland sea of simplicity.
The popularity of minimalism is understandable, the decluttering, simplifying, discarding of the unnecessary is an feel good process – the visual aside, minimalism is a calming, positive lifestyle choice. We enjoy minimalism because it is easy to digest; there is no room for vulgarity or divisiveness but this lack of challenge is whitewashing us and dulling our sense of individuality. With so much ‘less is less’ what happens to those who are ‘more’? The wild, loud and colourful are begging for the stage again. Is it time to pass on the torch to ‘maximalism’?
What would the Isabella Blows, the Andy Warhols and the Alexander McQueens make of this neutral landscape? The famous pioneers who pushed the boundaries and stirred the pot would be quite lost in the simplicity that defines style today. The wonderfully wild, slightly wacky Daphne Guinness once stated
“I just am who I am. And when people label me eccentric, I’m kind of astonished because I think ‘this is completely normal. This is just who I am, it’s how I’ve always been.”
Daphne Guinness is rarely without a hat or opulent headpiece, is frequently covered in extravagant jewellery and sports two black stripes in her otherwise white blonde hair. She is the epitome of ‘more is more’. Immune to the pull of minimalism, Daphne Guinness is one of the few standing on the sidelines while the rest of the world goes mad for minimal. Her individuality is magic, even more so in stark contrast to the simplicity surrounding the industry she belongs to. It feels as if the eccentric, over the top characters in the style sphere are a dying breed – the theatrics of fashion have been somewhat relegated to the past, deemed over the top, too indulgent or just plain ridiculous in today’s world.
There is nothing wrong with minimalism, quite the opposite – it is peaceful, pleasant, relatable and aesthetically pleasing. True minimalist devotees will never stray, finding calm in the clean lines and harmonious colour palettes of their chosen visual path.
The wave of minimalism has made for a gentle ride but in effect these tides have created a clone-like effect in the style stakes. What was once a spectacle of colour and drama, the fashion scene of late has definitely lost its shine. This is in part a reflection of our times – the uncertainty of the world is causing us to refrain, reassess and refine the way we consume and express ourselves. Of course the pendulum will inevitably swing the other way, the circus will hit the road again and we will see the neutral path disrupted with creative flair. With this too will come the rise of individuality and once again fashion will be all about more, more, more: more fun, more creative, and more aspirational. Just when this will happen is anyone’s guess, but it will no doubt be a welcome change to dance in the wild storm after so many seasons of calm.