Going underground at LJFW.
This autumn season Ljubljana Fashion week invited us underground. Literally. They enriched their programme of typical runway fashion shows, which took place at the Museum of Architecture and Design, with an additional location and intriguing repertoire.
As I stood on an escalator, slowly diving into forgotten parts of our city, I noticed a plaquette with an engraved number – 1976. That was the year when Ljubljana got a brand new underfoot passage beneath our main Slovenska street. Actually back then it was Titova street and back then the passage was busy with people, bars and shops, but that’s a story of and for another time.
I had to wonder…will an underground location offer underground fashion?
Underground fashion is far easier to exemplify then to define. In short, it confronts conventional sensibilities. It is more or less related to subcultures that diverge from common culture, subsequently not conforming to widely popular trends of the time. It’s fringe fashion.
It is a form of visual self-expression that challenges boundaries, rules, political ideologies, moral order, structure, class, societal norms and most importantly – mainstream.
The concept of subculture has existed for centuries and it has been used to identify and even stereotype members of groups with value systems that diverged from common culture. Such groups were seen as socially undesirable and full of individuals who pour obscene content into traditional meters.
I was very happy to have meet our cordial acquaintance with the young new force of NTF – Textile and Fashion design students. Strong sense of individuality and non-conformity was a tone-setting element of their expressive shows. They are quite audacious in trying out new materials and untested spaces.
Young designers deserve a moment of particular attention as they are much more demanding with their audience, they push them to be more experimental and daring. With this attitude, fueled by personal creativity, they thrust outside of mainstream.
Underground fashion is considered a visual expression of opposition and rebellion. Due to the constant evolution of fashion an individual such interpretation is often inaccurate. Fashion is expressed, discussed, viewed and propagated through many aspects. Underground fashion can also be perceived as an alternative fashion expressing sincerity, intimacy, contemplation and reflection, freedom of creative expression in opposition to those practices deemed average or commercially driven.
One may think it’s all about deliberate violation of the traditional rules, a bunch of youngsters taking pleasure in the sheer act of successful insubordination. I would say it’s more about taking up a new, untried revolutionary path and most importantly – their own. Congrats!