It’s the “end of fashion as we know it,” announced influential fashion forecaster Li Edelkoort at a recent presentation at Design Indaba in Cape Town. “Fashion is insular and placing itself outside society,” she explained.

Despite calling the fashion industry “a ridiculous and pathetic parody of what it has been,” Edelkoort added that she still loved fashion, finding it painful that marketing and greed changed everything. She noted the loss of competence in textile design, replacement of intelligent critique by shallow coverage, and the close relationships between fashion houses and magazines which limit coverage to only the brands that can afford to buy advertising.  

Fortunately, from death springs new life, the veneer of fashion shed so that designers might focus on clothing itself. Edelkoort noted that it might even be a “good moment to rethink” and “invent new ideas.” It’s her hope that a new emphasis on the design of couture will present new ideas on how to approach the idea of clothes that everyone can borrow from.

Whether you agree that fashion no longer predicts the future, there’s still a need for designers to turn out new approaches to clothing; although Edelkoort hopes that new clothing will acknowledge the demands of the global marketplace and offer the kind of casual clothing that people love to wear.

With designers like Meir Shavit retooling the look of jeans and t-shirts for his 36PIXCELL couture clothing lines, there’s hope that fashion can be reinvigorated while reaching a broader audience. Shavit has taken the functional and repurposed it, not only to convey his own ideas and designs but to offer consumers a new opportunity to reinvent their own self-image. 36PIXCELL’s appealing blend of haute couture and comfortable styles truly shows us a future for fashion.

Great fashion, like great art, isn’t just about the artists who create it, it’s also about what it means to the rest of us; and as long as there’s an audience for great clothing, fashion cannot be dead but, rather, pushing in new and exciting directions.