Minimalist or Minimal Acumen

Bless up from your feet to your head top,

We go again,

How do you actually experience fashion?

What are your feelings when wearing clothes?

There are 3 types of minimal clients. The essential client, the all-black, or head to toe one designer. Throughout this particular clientele, we are seeing the philosophy of minimalism, portrayed, taken and twisted as ‘I dress only within the bounds of this designer/colour/clothing codes’. When there’s a reality in the philosophy of minimalism, which is built from a foundation of understanding the dynamic tenets of a subject matter, stripping away those that aren’t in use and having a full life enacting the principles you’re left with. Those thoughts considered, Minimalism is a thought-provoking exercise of proof of knowledge, principle and acumen, in this instance acumen of fashion design and styling.

A tangential example of this is an Apple iPhone. The complexity of the product is so vast Apple’s revenue per employee is 2-million USD. The most recent Apple phone is a luxury item as it is on the most advanced market-ready machines. You do not need a PhD to work the product, they distilled the dynamic philosophy of the product down to simple gestures you can make with your thumb. And index finger if completely necessary. Having stayed that way for a few decades now they set the pace for the way we interact with product.

If you need more proof, think about the last time you looked at the iPhone instruction manual? And did it come in the box? Ready to use out of the box and almost frictionless user experience.

Tasteful decisions were made to make something so simple. Now I’m not saying you have to be an Apple engineer with the way you dress but there is an engineering level to the way people have and wear clothes – it’s called manufacturing, textile engineering and ergonomics. Each are taken into consideration if the designer values humans.

There are low tolerance ways to have designers not care but still work and that is fashion school, it’s not necessary, yet it’s built up of a history of understanding.

If you use this fabric it hangs this way, if you use this other fabric it won’t work

If you put the seam here then this is the way it will fit. If you make the armhole this diameter this is how it will look

If you are running in this item heat and static electricity will be generated. If you develop the fabric this way it will breathe and expend heat.

Those are the breaks. Simple breakdown of a couple dynamic thought processes that are somewhat intuitive today or not necessary for the designer to focus on and they will just think of design. I will cap this off by saying designers who skimp on studies it shows up in the quality of their work.

In today’s day and age we are less inclined to be considerate to people who lack in the design area. And manufacturing companies have made it so easy most people wear blanks manufactured by machines made to last 12 to 18 months depending on quality. This is a low tolerance entry point for most people. And much of the merchandise we see made today, very few things are majority made by hand. This is why it’s easy to get away with being called minimalist as it is minimal effort, – I want to know are we really dealing with minimalists in philosophy or are we dealing with people with minimal design/style acumen

Full Disclosure – Small Disclaimer

I want to add a disclaimer – there are people who openly admit to not being fashion-forward and know they flow with the trends of the now and don’t want to think so much about the clothes and where they came from so by and large Have the same wardrobe since they settled into the style they have. I am not talking about these people. I will be talking about the people who tout that they are minimalist but just have minimal acumen

A massive tell, tell sign someone has minimal acumen is they speak as if their single colour wardrobe or essentials / grey man orientated wardrobe is based on a deep philosophical drive to distil their life essence into one drop of clothes

Through youth, wanting to be deep, lack of information or creativity we have a sector of the menswear population who lord their minimal acumen as if they have the keys to the world. I address menswear as I see it more here, there could be women just as fair who do the same.

In a time right now where there is so much consolidation of creativity, many people create essential collections, with a grey marble or earth tone colour palette; and we are making less and less wardrobe decisions; it’s only understandable for people who were once overwhelmed no longer run from expensive items.

Expensive being the operative word. Fashion as the industry arbiters of taste created a structure where the t-shirt, jumper, and tracksuit were the bottom rung. Now the hoodie is a luxury item. Mid-tier value being £120. We see expensive “essentials” wardrobe schemes with the cozy style uniform and colour palette.

Designer Fan

On the opposite end of the spectrum within the fashion industry, you have people who will well one designer who has been called Avant-Garde for the past 30 years and said male is in their artiste emo awakening think they’re Avant-Garde too they latch on to the said designer. Now they learn everything there is to this designer and because social media is so giving if you have some items of certain designers you are allowed into these enclaves of people who have an adoration of the designer. Now with the knowledge of this single designer our Avant-Garde-Atiste in their emo era has all this information they get to share along with some things they glean, which can genuinely be well-founded. Don’t get me wrong it can be fun and can feel like you have found your home, however, this designer may not even tout minimalist nor does that make your wardrobe minimalist – more fitting they have a singular directive to support a designer and are part of the fan club, which is amazing if you can find that type of love.

Minimal Essentials

I myself know this clique intimately. Formulated of many kinds of people, I will say one archetype I know well. This person works, dozens of hours a week may very well be a content creator, with less time than they have trainers. And they do education (personal development) alongside their content. What time do they have to pick clothes? Let alone create a style that is original, however, there goes the dilemma they’re supposed to be a content creator with ideas in the dozens so they should be able to formulate some sort of creative way to dress to represent themselves. Well, this takes time, there are people who take real-time to achieve their most effective style and then stopping it back. This is not them. They skip the years of experimenting come up with a reason why they have very few pieces attached it to the Google definition of minimal and there you have content for this ungodly idea.

Slight disclaimer, maybe in your head you are thinking Fear of God essentials. No, we are talking, one colour 4 tees four jumpers, 2 suits a pair of shoes and a workout outfit, definition of essentials.

I have spoken about the classic menswear items every man needs in their wardrobe, I did not think it would turn into men believing their style is classic and timeless because they either only wear suits and workout gear or only wear jumpers and blue jeans because Steve Jobs is a billionaire and he only wears that too… — I say to myself ‘But Steve wore…’ then stop myself to let people enjoy things — … or they wear an arrangement of Earth tone colours brown tan grey and black and say their muted palettes are essential and timeless colours because [insert esoteric statement] and they can spend the rest of their life like that.

Either one of these essential styles barring the last in my personal opinion are at all offensive. However doing those things isn’t new, creative or well thought out let alone minimalist. Like I say we can start at different points and end at the same place – but to see something copy it and slap an esoteric statement over it is not the best portrayal of your talents or quality of style as you didn’t explore. Imagine they tried so many things and all the content they would have in trying their hand at different style and landing there. There would be so much sense made. I’m not trying to tell people how to live their lives I’m just going to say your style isn’t minimal it’s actually overdone.

Minimal colour (blacked out)

The number 1 culprit in my book, where it all started, – you can insert cringe style video here. – As it’s really overdone, so not minimal by existence. I won’t lie I have the least problem with this one, as I was here (As in wearing black head to toes, not calling my black outfits minimal). I do have to call a spade a spade, there is some fear in this one. There’s fear in the others, however, I know it so intimately, as I have helped people grow in their style.

Much of blacked out is based on fear of exploring into colour because you don’t know how it will look. — Take it from someone who pumped up orange in the hood for years before the brothers on the street were wearing it. I know it’s a challenge to get orange in the wardrobe, pink too. — The grandest exploration out of here I will say is wearing white and even the introduction of grey, we know sweat stains show up on grey, so grey in itself is a risk taken.

The best people who mask the all-black fantasy is the Avant-Garde collectors and the anti-fashion squad. Because each item comes with a story of how you looked for it or bought it doesn’t make it any less fear base if you look at the story of the wardrobe collection as a whole. The tell-tell sign that is very subtle is how they talk about texture and fabric, if they talk about mixing a black cotton tee with black denim jeans as if it were this idea graces on them by a higher power you have a right to side-eye.

You can have originality range creativity and fun exploring different clothes and styles, the way the second-hand market stands today you have the ability to buy quality item and sell them at a profit or at a marginal loss. It would only take a little work, if you don’t want to work, that’s fine. That is called minimal acumen, it does not however make your style Minimalist – I can say though do take solace in it being minimal by virtue you haven’t thought too much about it.

#VintageBlackGlamour – Damilare Debut as Curatorial Editor of Voices In Fashion

There was a time when I noticed that I was the first instance someone was seeing a black person not fed to them on the media. I remember when I was a teen and I was the token black friend and dealt with terrible behaviour because of it.

Then I went to university and saw a different world, intermingling with people of different regions cities counties socioeconomic background ethics and different classes who had never met a black person before. All they saw was what was shown to them on the news, this was a time before social media.

Now we have social media to amplify the stickiest subject matter that happens to be disturbing imagery. I’m still seen as one of the good ones, so at best I’m guessing it isn’t the most endearing imagery of blacks people they have seen, to have this opinion and have never met one.

That being said I discover that imagery and media are a drastic factor in how people will perceive entire communities they have zero interaction with in the real life. So in many ways I’m a token non threatening avatar. There were many instances where I hated that part of my life, legitimately felt like Pinocchio ‘trying to be a real boy’ and not have the standard of what people think of a black person on me. it’s hard frustrating and restrictive, as no matter what if you show you’re human, who makes mistakes, one time, they wipe out your whole history and initiate the “I always knew there was something…”

I say that to say, dealing in black imagery is very agonising to live through, extremely dense characters are part of your audience and many black people feel like the have to shuck and jive till the make it home. There are others now who welcome the challenge and endear themselves to the ideal of, only black person in the room, ‘my presence is representation’, ‘I am one of the good ones’, ‘black people are sluggish lazy, stupid and unconcerned but not me’. Which is enough to make this a very political game at every phase of life, this goes all the way to the top.

This is all my understanding, before I really cared about fashion writing and black supermodels. What hits the most to me is the monotony of the monopoly of black womens imagery. It upset me enough to start my career out talking about needing more black supermodels then doubling down and speaking up about the fetishisation of our extremes of either light or dark skin. Black people with albinism and those with hyperpigmentation, namely Sudan models.

How I developed interest was in part protest and just knowing better, over time images I have saved and curated around black imagery that has a multifaceted appeal quality and diversity.

I call it vintage black glamour as it is more than just Black people in fashion or in books that are out of print it is the worlds worth of Africans that are who they are and someone has taken a snapshot of them doing it, being themselves. Some of the best works I can say conceived surrounding black people. I had wondered if I should make a page about this but there’s enough. My pages are built with this ethos regardless. So this isn’t about an @ it’s about a life choice, to share black people as is. Beauty splendour rugged Curt firm coarse gritty bright and everything in between.

My enemy is peoples decision to not have quality control in their lifestyle choices of media they share. Nobodies perfect and there are some amazing pages out there there’s just a story that needs to be told and I want to teach and open myself up to that journal properly. If you’re with me follow Voicesin Fashion on Instagram and Twitter

Meet with me on this journey every week on the voices in fashion page for updates

Dynamism of New Bottega |Bottega Veneta Flashy designs under Daniel Lee

bless up from your feet to your head top

we go again,

Daniel Lee’s Bottega Veneta is a lesson in creating a look without saying you’re creating a look.

It was fun to say Bottega is doing this and that. As in being hidden with the logos and not having ads and not paying influencers etc etc.. for a while. Bottega is known for being a stealthy brand that us seen and not heard, however under daniel lee, it was both for the full tenure in a head line or celebrity post constantly.

Daniel lee created collection after collection built with an aesthetic and an expressionist brush, as he sees it.

After the pandemic, (if there is even such a thing) Daniel Lee gave us the biggest post-pandemic vibes with FALL 2021 RTW. this latest collection. Creating a Bottega in his own image. A loud and experimental decision that paid in visibility.

Looking closely at the tapestry he is building he is seen to create a design language of expressionism in his designs. Giving us something new, with Bottega we are under the presupposition it has the foundation of minimalism, pushing the feeling of luxury and craftsmanship. What we see with Daniel Lee’s design is a progression I’m seeing with his ready to wear collections as one in all a continuity of storytelling that is telling a story that doesn’t live under the presupposition when we see Bottega Veneta. First I thought it was just the bags.  And him creating an ‘IT-BAG’ then I was like… that’s weird… that’s suspicious. Bottega bags aren’t supposed to be loud or ostentatious, in two minds, seeing him pushing the intrecciato to the extreme at the same time, is this Bottega.

Now let us think… the point of the ‘IT-BAG’ is for it to let you know it exists. Bottega prides itself on not having a logo using its masterful leather work do the talking – Italian excellence as per. Okay Daniel Lee Bags are doing that, it’s very clear, yet it’s an ‘IT BAG’ – (what a cool revelation) – it almost sounds oxymoronic to say a Bottega bag is an IT BAG when the definition endears itself to everyone knowing it exists. Then you look at the Bottega GREEN the most loud and clear sign of Bottega and we see the “New Bottega” ads, all these would not mean all that much if it wasn’t the phrase, ‘pride itself on fitting seamlessly into the owner’s wardrobe’ and the Bottega bags TODAY are loud statement items that are now IT BAGS which also translate to the 2001 definition of letting everyone knows it exists. 

The techniques are such today you can do so much with the intrecciato technique that it can be the most bold statement in fashion today winning awards, and every write up calling it an IT BAG, the design distinction doesn’t just stay there it also is prevalent in the ready-to-wear. Being a product of its times translating into today’s aesthetic of design which gets little to no awareness. It isn’t even a product of Phoebe Philo school of design. It’s a whole new schema using Italian futurism and likening itself to the Neo Futurism of today sensual lines and appealing details. An Art-Deco design aesthetic that is grandiose lets you know it’s here from a company that people are constantly writing about it’s minimalism.

The next thing everyone with sense will say is minimal isn’t simple designs they’re stripped down. Well, I’m counting multiple design elements that speak to New Bottega’s eccentricity, aesthetic and expressionism. The colours and silhouettes are inventive, renovating the shapes we can see today and adding a colourful lens to it. 

Bottega Veneta today expresses a culture of feeling possible futurism (looking directly at the colours) and the angular nature of the constructive elements of these garments. True Italian Vetement – boldly executed under the guise of minimalism… texture – colour – fit – cut all considerations in cultivating this “New Bottega” – seriously, people keep speaking about minimalism and post-pandemic woes and Daniel Lee for the past several years has been delivering a direct execution of expressionist art-deco of his making and futurism with an Italian artisan flare and intuitive style lines.

I can picture Daniel Lee staring at Umberto Boccioni  – ‘FUTURISTIC MAN’ – Forms Uniche Della Continuità Nello Spazio (Unique forms of continuity in space). The dynamism of a car but make it fashion, make it Neo-Futurist make it Bottega. I see the aerodynamic we will see in space-age mid-century architecture, function isn’t without beauty. 

The relevance of the 1930’s Aero DYNAMIC vehicles I can speak to the puddle boot directly taking reference from works like streamline KJ Henderson motorcycle. You can pull a car from that era and see the gratifying expression of sensual lines in the puddle boot giving it a distinctive not like the other designs today. That GT (Grand Tourer) vibe.

I am talking about the bags and the ready-to-wear in the same breath. Daniel lee’s design language indicates and expresses the need for futurism ‘In the Hardest of Times, it is important to still dream’ Daniel Lee said that, fathoming what he meant in terms of expression and futurism puts the aptest lens on the ‘so-called’ minimalist brands’ Bottega Veneta’s DNA.

This thorough direction gave me time to ruminate on why possibly Daniel Lee would execute this. Chewing on these ideas and design sentiment is one thing. The latitude to execute on design principles like these while the rules of the house stipulate a more stealthier approach, all that is left is conjecture at this point. Daniel lee’s tenure is over and his work is in a capsule, the reason for the mutual parting is in the air. The question I am readily asking is, with a stealth wealth, conspicuous consumption house like bottega why are the designs so loud, to me mixed messages were sent when being the most talked-about creative house – in Italy and being a leader in Kering’s top 3 Gucci Balenciaga and Bottega – why delete your social media. And digital footprint. Regardless of all that Bottega is still popular amongst Americas Hip-Hop Millionaires, and Nouveau Riche. There’s a complicated relationship with the consumer Bottega needs to control or go with. Changing with the times or sticking to your guns.

Whatever Moves Your Dial

Damilare. Not Your Typical

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Reference articles

How Bottega Veneta became the most hyped brand of 2019
History of Intrecciato from Bottega Veneta – PURSE BLOG
Daniel lee wiki
Fashion Awards 2019: The full winners list- vogue Australia
Is It No Longer Cool To Look Rich? -READ A
Bottega Veneta Launches Fall-Winter 2011/2012 Advertising Campaign
Advertising, Fall/Winter 2002. Photography by Robin Broadbent.