Updated: Aug 10, 2022
Paris Fashion Week is coming to an end with all the flashing lights, glitz and glam and A-List stars. After analyzing Olivier Rousteing’s creation for Balmain Fall 2022 collection, which was phenomenal, a random question came to my mind.
How did Paris become the Fashion Capital ?
To know how fashion started in Paris, we must first know a little about how the French Revolution had changed France. Before the revolution that was started from the storming of the Bastille in 1789, France was ruled by King Louis XIV, who is known as the “Sun King” because he ruled everything like the sun. King Louis XIV didn't care too much about fashion.
Women wore long dresses that covered their body. The clothing mostly referred to their social status. Clothing styles were also influenced by the Crusades, which brought back new fabrics and styles from the Middle East.
King Louis gave permission to Pierre de Noiret to open up the first haute couture at Rue Saint-Honoré in Paris. The first haute couture was very elegant but also very expensive. Most of the people couldn't have afforded it. When the revolution took place, France became a republic and "the people" took over.
The revolution divided France into three parts: Paris, the bourgeoisie and the country side.
Fashion has been around for centuries, but the modern fashion industry as we know it began in Paris. There are many reasons for this, but a few stand out.
First, Paris has always been a city of luxury and refinement. It was the center of art and culture in Europe, and people from all over came to see its famous museums and theaters.
Second, Paris is also home to some of the world's most talented fashion designers. These designers have helped make Parisian fashion not just respected, but revered. They create fabulous clothes that aren't just stylish, but also timeless.
Lastly, Paris is an expensive city. This means that only the wealthy can afford to buy designer clothes there. And when high-end labels put their seal of approval on something, that sends a signal to the rest of the world that it's Haute Couture made in Paris.
The next question that came to my mind was “ Why is the black community not considered as a leader in fashion?“
Based on the example above of- la capitale de la mode, Paris - I realized something mayor. While France and all the fashion capitals were busy building their wealth in various sectors, we on the contrary, were forced to labor and survive the maltreatment. We didn’t have the slightest opportunity and focus to be creative and own our creations.
Which results in (nowadays) us being more occupied in healing our generational traumas deeply rooted in slavery and trying to figure out financial literacy all over again.
Although we do set fashion, music and beauty trends etc., we literally own just the crumbs in the industry.
This needs to change. Do you agree ?
The Fashion & Design industry has the reputation of being very unchartered territory for women of color. "It's hard for me to think of any black supermodels, or even high-fashion brands that started off with a black woman at its head," says Crystal Renn, model, activist and founder of Chromat, a new ready-to-wear brand. "So I think that this event is just indicative of how far we still have to go." There are currently only two women of color who are creative directors at major fashion houses – Roksanda Ilincic at Delpozo and J. W. Anderson at Loewe – but there is another designer who is making his mark in the fashion world, and it is none other than Maxwell Osborne of Public School.