Are We at the Beginning of a New Arts & Crafts Movement?
Whether it’s revolution or evolution, it’s clear enough that a great deal of change has taken place over the past several years about the way people view their careers, leisure time, and quality of their lives. There’s considerably more freedom and choices, more variety and flexibility. Clothing has become something of the symbol of this change, the new freedom of dress becomes as much a state of mind, an objective correlative in our lives. Replacing the conformity of the grey business uniform with a more varied and relaxed wardrobe means confidence replaces uptight conventionality.
Clothes offer a venue for individual expression and creativity. Style and individuality have a greater chance to flourish than ever. The once monolithic, intimidating suit can be worn in any number of different ways. With a smart English spread collar and woven tie, silk polo shirt, or cashmere roll-neck sweater, the opportunities for creative, versatile dressing are greater than ever.
And the new freedom means comfort. Not the tatty torn-jeans approach, but a comfort that allows for sophistication and quality with a more relaxed attitude. There is the idea that wearing elegant garments gives us the feeling that we can really enjoy getting dressed!
Is it a renewed appreciation for artisanship in clothing, a contemporary equivalent of the Arts and Crafts Movement that swept Britain as a reaction to 19th Century industrialization? A movement from status symbol to style symbol? A more intimate sign of our personal identity as well as a source of pleasure and creativity? We’re starting to think so. Like making friends — and old friends are the best — it’s not about buying for the moment, for instant gratification. The Real Stuff is chosen with care for long-term mileage. Like good wine, fine clothing looks better with age. The goal is to acquire a well thought-out wardrobe of finely made clothes, clothes that can be worn as interchangeably as a tasteful imagination allows.
“Style is the man” was never more true.
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