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The Art of Runway Fashion

By Jack Turpen

There is a large misconception with the fashion industry’s audience. People are under the illusion that the purpose of ready-to-wear is to be comfortable and present reasonable, everyday clothing items. When a designer presents a collection, they are presenting a form of moving art. Their goal is not only for the satisfaction of the general public, but also for the satisfaction of their inner artist. The definition of ready-to-wear is defined by MasterClass as a “term that signifies that an article of clothing was mass-manufactured in standardized sizes and sold in finished condition” (MasterClass). That would be compared to haute couture in which everything is custom and made by hand. Those collections tend to be grander in scale and more precise in detail because everything is made by hand. Though ready-to-wear is the fastest version of haute couture, ready-to-wear fashion still provides similar messages in regard to the production of wearable art.

There is a widely spread opinion surrounding the comfortability of said wearable art on the runway. This common critique is that if the clothing is supposedly "ready to wear", then why does it appear to be so uncomfortable? People are quick to call designers out for sending runway models down the runway in shoes that do not fit the models. This was particularly evident in the recent fashion weeks, showing spring 2023 ready-to-wear collections. Models walking the latest Valentino runway show were seen tripping and falling over in their shoes. Many of which were not wearing the correct sizes, and many were perhaps too high of a heel for the model. A Fendi model took off their shoes in the middle of the runway, as they found it challenging to continue walking in them. The model just so happened to be directly in front of Anna Wintour, editor in chief of Vogue Magazine. Many found this as a disrespectful act, especially in front of Anna Wintour. Others questioned the designer for sending their models down the runway in “unwearable shoes”. But, some also viewed it as a genius yet classy way to continue the shoe, as the move helped add to the casualness and beachy nature of the show.

Though the audience is quick to place judgment, they should remember the basics regarding the industry. The phrase “ready-to-wear” has a very misleading nature. It leads the audience to believe that the clothing is actually ready-to-wear. There is an ideology surrounding how comfortable the pieces are, so when they see models struggling in their shoes, they often jump to criticism without looking deeper for a meaning. There has never been a guarantee surrounding how comfortable a ready-to-wear collection will be when presented. Again, ready-to-wear serves a similar purpose as haute couture, the purpose being the creation of moving art. There is an artistic quality behind these collections that often fly over the audiences heads. If the audience member is not well versed in fashion, they question the wearability of the piece. The general public should be aware that collections will differ from one designer to another and not anticipate the same thing from all of them. Not every designer is looking to make people comfortable, as their target audience is far different from the designer who does have that goal. It truly all depends on the artist behind the artwork.

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