Friday, April 8, 2011

trend : urban farmer

For our watercolor class this quarter, we will design a collection based off of a single current trend.  The trend I chose to work with was the idea of the "urban farmer".  Now, this begins really outside of fashion, but inevitably affects fashion once its become an integral part of our lives.

The urban farmer trend is the idea of meshing together two very separate living ideas into one.  With recent developments in food technology, and growing awareness about what we eat and where it comes from, the trend to eat locally has expanded significantly.  Farmers markets are easier to find, co-op baskets delivered weekly are becoming increasingly popular, and a lot of households are growing their own fruits, vegetables, and herbs, not only to save money over time or live a healthier lifestyle but simply to become involved in an enjoyable process.  While some are relocating to a more rural setting and commuting to work, others are bringing a more farm-like culture into the city.  Downtown areas are allocating larger areas to green space, or providing fresh markets with locally grown crops to urban citizens.  Gardening companies are devoting product development to new ways of growing food, such as how to raise a miniature vegetable garden indoors, in a confined area, such as an apartment; or how to engineer a more successful vertical tomato plant that hangs from a ceiling.  All these things play into the urban farmer trend.

Naturally these things affect what we wear as well.  The recent resurgence of micro florals and chambrays are a result of this growing awareness of the farmer and how to integrate him or her into our busy urban lifestyles.  As Margie (my watercolor professor) always says, "Notice what you notice".  Simply, take note of the things you seem to pick up on more readily.  I tend to see trends in knit wear a little quicker than I do in jackets or wovens - simply because I prefer them, live out of them, and enjoy knitting and feel familiar with the techniques involved.  Thus a connection can be made between the things you notice and your lifestyle.  Our society is becoming increasingly aware of health implications and ways to reconnect locally to one of our most basic needs - eating - and as a result, we are noticing things relevant to this topic much more than we were five years ago.  When the urban farmer trend reaches your lifestyle, you begin noticing things in fashion that feel similar as well, and that is what we will be trying to do with these collections.  Farmers have been around since the beginning of our country, yet we are seeing them more now simply because it is on our radar again. 

Some of the other trends involve transparency (not just sheer fabrics, but corporate transparency, political transparency ...), "a gray world" (the color gray is very prevalent this year.  Why?  Maybe it has something to do with the race of our president, the mixing of skin tones in our country and how our melting pot is becoming something more of a celebration than an inevitable occurrence), and cocooning (something that happens at the beginning of every decade - a desire to feel comfort.  Big sweaters, financial security).

Enough with the big words.  What would an urban farmer look like?  Here are some of the pictures I've gathered for inspiration.  My homework this weekend is to design 10 tops, 10 pants/shorts, and 10 skirts.  I'll scan in the drawings when the critique is over on Tuesday!

Anne Vallerie Hash and D&G, both S11

Erdem S11

Jil Sander S11 - looking at these I see eggplant, tomato, lemon - imagine contrasting these with city shades of gray and black


  1. I like the urban farmer idea. It seems that as our world gets more and more technologically complicated/plastic, there are trends to bring us back to balance, with low-tech/uncomplicated trends to grow your own foods, knit and sew, more hands-on activities.

    I also think the gray colors reflect the economy and mood of the country: grayed colors were big in the 80s (also a recession).

  2. Couldn't have put that in better words!

    I also agree. A mesh of black and white skin tones, as well as a gray outlook on the economic future of the moment. It's amazing how much of this affects fashion.


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