What place does well-being have in fashion?

12 June 2019 | Posted by Zackary

Gwyneth Paltrow has played dozens of characters over the course of his career. For some, she is still Shakespeare in Love's dashing Viola, a performance earning her an Oscar. Others will see her forever as Pepper, Tony Stark's brave assistant in the Iron Man / Avengers saga, when her hard-core fans continue to defend her performance as a stewardess in View From the Top — which she herself defines as "the worst movie in history"

Yet, her greatest role will undoubtedly remain that of an entrepreneur. In 2008, she launches the goop newsletter, which shares the good tips of her founder: labels not to miss, facial treatments to test, tips to manage your personal life.... All this, wrapped in a good dose of new age philosophy, delighting all the rich-middle-aged-women-in-full-crisis-spiritual-but-not-too-much. Very quickly, the weekly mail turns into a blog, which eventually develops an e-shop, then its own brand combining clothing, cosmetics and interior. 

Unless you're the target, goop has everything to exasperate you. I still can't get over the time when its founder saw fit to give us the difficult recipe for hard-boiled eggs. Nor the one where she revealed to the world her "secret" to relax (taking a bath every night), not to mention the interview in which she attributed the popularization of yoga to herself...

Still, she embodies better than anyone else the concept of the lifestyle brand, positioned at the intersection of style and well-being. So how does the latter find its place in fashion?

(© goop)

I spend so I am?

A 15-year-old girl is competing for the Nobel Peace Prize, while students campaign against global warming. We are encouraged to consume locally, sold organic products in all kinds of ways, and encouraged to recycle. Even my cigarettes — Lucky Strike Original, in case British Tobacco would like to bribe me — claim to be free of additives.

In a context where consciousness is trendy, fashion redeems itself. Thrift shops, once temples of poverty, can now offer archives for more than half the minimum wage while we pride ourselves on wearing vintage clothes. Upcycling, at the core of Marine Serre and Christopher Raeburn, focuses on the creation of new pieces based on old garments and fabrics. Ethics becomes a decisive criterion for purchasing, we require to know the origin and the manufacturing conditions. At the same time, minimalism invites itself into our closet: less is more, we avoid screwing our feng-chui with an excess of sneakers.

We opt for a more responsible attitude, which frees us from the guilt felt by falling for a jacket (which we definitely don't need) because it is made in France — let the one who has never shopped throw the first stone at me. In other words, well-being inevitably requires "well-acting", including when it comes to dressing... but is it also able to influence our very approach to style?

Summer 2019 is all about recycling at Christopher Raeburn. (© Raeburn Remade SS19)

Well-being, baggy and work

Since the advent of Google, the characteristics of business life have changed: strict familiarization, table football, flexible hours, self-service almonds distributors and, above all, the absence of a dress code.

If our parents had to put on a suit every morning, we have the freedom to jump into a good old sweatshirt the day after a bender. Bye ties, Peter's collar blouses and leather shoes. The notion of comfort becomes legit, leading to a redefinition of officewear. We agree to pay 100 euros for joggers that we will wear absolutely everywhere, except on a weight bench.

Sportswear would not have such a large scope without this new management, which blurs the lines between work and leisure time with a great deal of team-building afternoons. So, if the two are merging, isn't it logical that our wardrobes should do the same? Judging a book by its cover is outdated, come as you are. Something to delight this colleague a little too geeky and his t-shirts with obscure messages...

(© Y-3)

A matter of marketing?

According to 72% of the millennials, materialism is dead, long live the experiences (source Forbes, ed.). Faced with this situation, brands must redouble their efforts to place their products in universes transcending them. In London, Burberry sets up changing rooms worthy of a sci-fi movie, to share your outfits live on Facebook. In California, Nordstrom transforms them into spaces designed to fit three or four girlfriends, where they can try their articles in a more intimate setting. Beyond shopping, it is above all a question of creating a fertile ground, capable of going beyond the simple idea of consumption. To be anchored in a broader philosophy, in harmony with the aspirations of its target, as Gwyneth Paltrow does...

In any case, it is still up to us to make the distinction between experience, (pseudo) science and pure marketing argument. A few months ago, goop found itself in court. Between the promotion of two linen tops and a Hamptons restaurant, the site took the opportunity to promote the merits of a very special accessory: the yoni egg, a crystal to insert in one's crotch to harness the power of the sexual chakras — well, something like that. Sold out in a few hours, it attracted the wrath of doctors. I'm probably not the best judge of that, but when you know that a forgotten tampon can lead to death, I wouldn't try to slip a stone into my vagina if I had one... •

Hugh Hefner's and Donatella Versace's love child, I am the visible half of the duo behind ZACKARIUM. Addicted to fashion and to Lucky Strike, my mission is to guide you smoothly through the jungle of brands and catwalks.

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