Fashion Double Jeopardy

The law is – in the word of Aristotle – reason free from passion. This isn’t quite the case within the fashion laws. At least not when you take into consideration what creates a fashion forward look, innovation and bending the rules. Fashion rules have always existed as well as those who break them, repeatedly. Although this could also be a case of fashion double jeopardy.

Double jeopardy is a term used within judicial instances in for example the United States. The term simply put concerns the fact that a defendant cannot be sentenced for the same crime twice. Something I would like to plea is also an occurrence within the fashion world. When committing a fashion crime there can be harsh sentencing. Magazines raving about the fashionable heroes but condemning the criminals. Remember the ridicule Lady Gaga faced for wearing a meat dress a few years back? Or the iconic Swan dress Björk wore to the Academy Awards? These were naturally women with an already eccentric style but the ruling of the jury was still a unanimous “guilty”. Ironically, designer Jeremy Scott later produced his own take on the meat dress validating the act of communication instead of a fashion crime.

The ruling of fashion double jeopardy is made possible since the argument can be made that the defendant has no criminal intent but is simply expressing a personal style, a sartorial communication. Even though the fashion court may not find it “chic” the criminal has paid its due and made it their own. Perfectly matching an outfit from top to toe was for several seasons unthinkable. Instead it should look as if you just happened to wear something that went together. Today, wearing the same print on both top and bottom is simply “stylish”, a result of monochromatic influences.

Another reason to embark upon fashion double jeopardy is that it will nourish the invention of new street style which can inspire designers and therefore aid the industry. For a very long time the fanny pack was a fashion faux pas of grand proportion. Some listened, others did not and for SS14 it was seen on several runways, including Tory Burch. There are many other so called fashion crimes that, when broken, have created a new way for fashion, the aspect of “more is more” is one that comes to mind. So before you object, the notion of fashion double jeopardy can infuse the industry with the innovation and creativity that is needed to move forward in the cycle with or without passion.

Victoria Edman