Rad Hourani is worth talking about. The Jordan-born, Paris-based designer is young. He's forging his own path (think: unisex collections). Last year, he was invited by La Chambre Syndicale de La Haute Couture to show in Paris, quite a feat for a 31-year old these days. While Hourani's accomplishments are noteworthy, I'm actually more interested in his brand and his collections, themselves. As you may know, Hourani is one of a relatively small group of designers showing seasonless collections. Hedi Slimane, who took the helm of YSL in March 2012, has since introduced a permanent collection for the house - one that consists of YSL classics that will be sold all year long. For his Agnona debut, “Collezione 0″, Slimane's predecessor at YSL, Stefano Pilati, now at Zegna, showed a seasonless collection. Los Angeles-based brand, Libertine's designer Johnson Hartig further hinted at seasonless attire by way of a few looks in his F/W 2014 collection; namely, that tank-top bodysuit that Dima Dionesov wore. Hartig, as indicated by his brand's name, is pretty anti-establishment when it comes to seasons to begin with. He puts out only two collections a year so he has time to think and be creative in a way that most designers simply can't because of the demands of multiple seasons (and multiple seasons for multiple labels oftentimes). The result is refreshing and has staying power.
While the most logical among us will cite economic concerns (think: the recession) as a driving force behind seasonless collections, I am not in that camp. Others cite the increased speed with which collections must be created and the resulting pressure placed on designers as a result. And still others have called into questions the meaning of seasons altogether. Lanvin's Alber Elbaz, for instance, spoke to the practicality of season-focused fashion not too long ago, saying: “Seasons are not what they used to be—we go skiing in the summer, swimming in winter. We don’t need to think in seasons anymore; we need to think about beautiful clothes." I think there's even more to it than that for these designers who are moving past the most common notions of fashion and its traditional cycle.
There is something special about a seasonless collection. At its core, a permanent collection is so thoroughly against what is ingrained in the minds of most industry insiders and consumers alike. We are trained to change wardrobes with the changing seasons, and shop accordingly. Brands show their collections based on this model and their wares are merchandized in this manner. Essentially, the industry is founded on the commercialization of seasons, and designers are forced to keep up. Pre-Fall, Fall/Winter, Resort (aka Cruise aka Pre-Spring), and Spring/Summer, and repeat. In this way, those designers that shun trendiness and approach seasonal dressing by layering garments or vice versa, are not only going against the grain, but they are creating a movement of sorts.
Sure seasonality and trend-focused collections make sense for many retailers, especially the ones that sell a lot of low-priced garments and accessories that are very different every season; actually, the retailers I am referring to, many of which are fast fashion retailers, introduce new inventory every couple of weeks. And their customers not only want new trendy pieces on a regular basis, they need them, as a hole in your Forever 21 top is inevitable after a few wears.
But what about those designers or design houses that embrace their aesthetic and provide well-crafted, sophisticated wares that transcend the cookie cutter mentality of mainstream fashion? That's what these seasonless collections embody, and that's a beautiful thing. It makes a pretty good argument for the "buy less, choose well" mentality that Brit designer, Vivienne Westwood, has pioneered for quite awhile now. Thoughts?