You Should Be Reading: Fashion and Minimalism

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As I mentioned last week in my post about the documentary film ‘The True Cost,’ I have decided to experiment with the concept of a minimalist or capsule wardrobe in my own life. As someone who admittedly owns far more pieces of clothing than I could ever need, I will be taking on the Project 333 Challenge – limiting my wardrobe to only 33 items for the next three months. Although my motivations for experimenting with a minimalist wardrobe are ethically- and environmentally-motivated, there are many other reasons why an increasing number of people are choosing to limit their sartorial choices – less stress, financial savings or a shorter morning routine being just a few. Below are the two articles that inspired my personal motivation, followed by two texts on minimalism and fashion, from Chanel to Yamamoto.

1. Kahl, Matilda. ‘Why I Wear The Exact Same Thing to Work Every Day.’ Harper’s Bazaar. April 3, 2015.

Matilda Kahl, an art director in New York City, chose to create a personal work uniform mainly to reduce the daily stress associated with selecting an appropriate and professional outfit. While she initially encountered a lot of resistance and questioning from her co-workers, Kahl believes that her uniform has placed her back in control of her appearance.  ‘The thought of reclaiming the driver’s seat can feel overwhelming, but even small changes can make a huge difference. The simple choice of wearing a work uniform has saved me countless wasted hours thinking, “what the hell am I going to wear today?” And in fact, these black trousers and white blouses have become an important daily reminder that frankly, I’m in control.’ 

2. Becker, Joshua. ‘8 Reasons Successful People Are Chooosing to Wear the Same Thing Every Day.’ Becoming Minimalist. May 13, 2015.

Fast fashion deserves criticism. And our culture’s obsession with ever-changing fashion trends is an artificial pursuit manufactured by those who benefit from it. The capsule wardrobe movement is far from mainstream. But, elevated in the social consciousness by some high-profile personalities, more and more people are applying minimalist principles to their fashion […] If you have ever wondered why some successful people choose to wear the same outfit everyday, or better yet, if you are considering adopting a more streamlined wardrobe yourself, here are 8 convincing reasons. – Article excerpt

3. Dimant, Elyssa. Minimalism and Fashion: Reduction in the Postmodern Era. New York: Harpers Design, 2010.

From fashion authority Elyssa Dimant—author of the award-winning Fashioning Fabrics and co-curator of the acclaimed “WILD: Fashion Untamed” exhibition at the Costume Institute of The Metropolitan Museum of Art—Minimalism and Fashion is a groundbreaking, provocative  exploration of the influence of minimalist art and minimalist design on the fashion industry from the 1960s to the present. A foreword by celebrated designer Francisco Costa, the women’s creative director of Calvin Klein Collection, illuminates how minimalism continues to inform fashion as modern design carries us into the future of couture. – Summary from the publisher

4. Walker, Harriet. Less is More. New York: Merrell, 2011.

When it comes to dress, less can most definitely be more. In this striking new book, journalist Harriet Walker surveys one of the most wide-reaching movements in fashion. Minimalism has its roots in the early twentieth century, when women’s clothes became pared down and practical after centuries of complex construction. Walker reviews the work of designers who, over the decades, have adopted minimalist principles in their work, from Chanel, who liberated women from Edwardian formal dress, to Donna Karan and Jil Sander, whose work-wear offered women a feminine but credible alternative to power dressing; and from the avant-garde style of Japanese masters Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto to contemporary interpretations by Gareth Pugh, Roland Mouret, COS and Zara. With 250 colour illustrations, including specially commissioned photographs, Less is More is the engaging story of an abiding aesthetic that has subtly shaped modern fashion. – Summary from the publisher

Image credit: Elle S’Appelle

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1 Comment

  • cca June 17, 2015 09.17 am

    Love the list of articles, great resource.


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