Thanks to Phoebe Philo, Jil Sander and the rest of the band of minimalist designers, the sudden torrent of minimalism in the world of fashion has indeed taken the style enthusiasts by storm to such an extent that the expression “minimalist” has become quite misleading.
What strikes me most about this craze is the women who are in possession of 20 Chanel jackets and nonetheless call themselves a minimalist when throwing on a stark Jil Sander suit or a futuristic dress. Isn’t that insulting to people such as Leo Babauta of mnmlist.com, who is genuinely a minimalist and practices the philosophy of minimalism in every aspect of life and not only in half a dozen outfits? To put it in a different context: If Webern were to proclaim himself a minimalist only because some of his pointillistic works may be arrayed in a minimalist attire, it would be very insulting to Philip Glass, don’t you think?
I can acknowledge with 100% sincereness that I find it rather hard to call someone with exaggerated shopping habits and a wardrobe jam-packed with a nearly four-digit number of clothes a minimalist. I also find it difficult to comprehend what’s minimalistic in said instance apart from maybe an understated Stella McCartney-esque attire. Often, I see that fashion magazines and certain blogs misuse this term profoundly, and to be frank; I am fed up with this fallacy. Sure, there are probably people who might assert that having this much can be tantamount to being a minimalist by their standards as long as their outfit is a Céline or Jil Sander lookalike. And sure, there’s an interminable discussion of whether minimalism is about both aesthetics and philosophy/method, or merely the latter. But after all, minimalism is fundamentally all about paring down something to its bare essentials, not only regarding how one assembles an outfit, but also in terms of wardrobe. Well, I suppose it’s an incongruity to talk of fashion and minimalism together. As quoted in this post, this is, in my estimation, the most fitting and precise definition of minimalism:
“Minimalism is not a style, it is an attitude, a way of being. It’s a fundamental reaction against noise, visual noise, disorder, vulgarity. Minimalism is the pursuit of the essence of things, not the appearance.”
By all means, people are entitled to label themselves and their style whatever they desire, but I just wish that people could at least google and look up the term “minimalism” so as to get a better grasp on its meaning before rashly becoming a quasi minimalist. However, how can someone who owns 15 trousers from Jil Sander and 25 Chanel bags be a minimalist?
(The accompanying photo is just a faint example of having perhaps too much clothes, not someone who is labeling herself a minimalist.)
(PS: I’m not claiming that I’m anywhere near a minimalist (yet).. it’s a process that requires baby steps.)