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It's two months into 2008 now, and surprisingly, Hong Kongers are still shivering in the cold. As I struggled to leave my cozy warm bed in some mornings when only 5-6℃ were recorded in the New Territories where I live, I thought for a moment that the real winter we had lost to climate change was here again.
Come to think of it, the last time we actually had a ‘proper'winter was decades ago. Back then, I was still going to an A.M. primary school, not so common now. Every morning, my mother would go through a set of rituals to prepare her little girl for the freezing mornings: switching on the oil heater, laying a warm towel on the floor before dragging me out of bed, layering me with a brown woolen underwear, a flannel school uniform, a navy blue cotton-padded jacket, scarf and gloves. By the time we left home, it was still dark outside. I still remember the warm air coming out of my mouth as I spoke, trails of white fume forming comic book speech bubbles.
The recent cold weather reminds me of the long-forgotten practical function of clothes – to keep us warm! A thorough search of my wardrobe, however, reveals that I don't have much warm clothes. The kind of winter coats that I have won't help me survive cold spells below 10℃ . It shouldn't come as a surprise though. After all, global warming changes not only the fashion trend in Hong Kong, but in the whole world.
When talking about fashion, we normally refer to two collections: Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter. In the past, the materials mostly used for winter gear were fur, leather, flannel and cotton, with long sleeves as the dominant style. Turtleneck has never been very popular because no matter how cold it is, it's essential to be sexy! However, given the warm weather in Southeast Asia, reporters from the region used not to bother going to the much too crowded Fall/Winter fashion shows.
But things have changed in recent years.
The recent 08 Fall/Winter fashion shows in Milan and Paris were dominated by tank tops, short sleeves, skirts, flimsy clothes. The way that models were dressed made one think that it was a Spring/Summer Fashion Show. Of course, minks were also available to cater for those actually living in places where snow still fall, but the fur was mostly used as decoration at the collars and cuffs.
But then the runway is not the best proof of change - it's the sales that tell. In recent years, most of the major brands gear up on selling their “pre-collection” - a collection of in season clothing before the proper Fall/Winter comes out. Such attire fit for wearing at 15- 20℃ has allegedly be booming in sales volume over the past few years as people deem these pre-collection clothes to be more wearable than the heavier Fall/Winter collection. Meanwhile, brands like Fendi made their name with fur have been investing in research to turn fur material lighter and thinner to suit the warming climate to keep the brand tradition alive even in the dying winter. In fact, in the 08 Spring/Summer collections, lots of brands have experimented with applying the hybrid thin leather on the runway pieces.
Some say that because of the cold snap this Chinese New Year, the thick winter coats which have been warehoused in the past couple of years have suddenly been snatched up in no time. But our winter is like one of those sailors in the old days - he has come back home early 2008, but looking ahead, he is going to be away for most of the time, only visiting occasionally. Fashion is a very realistic industry, the farewell to Fall/Winter should ring the alarm that our winter is fading away. While brands evolve to keep the competitive edge along the changing climate, it's more important to see what exactly have they done to protect the environment and be climate-responsible. Who has done what? We'll explore this next time.
Author : anonymous Date : 2009-12-18 18:31:37
Comment : TEST