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A plea to the fashion industry

| Tuesday, February 25, 2014

WEB_Banner_FashionPleaEmily Hoffmann
Think back for a moment to the last time you tuned in to a fashion show, picked up “GQ” or “Elle” or strolled in New York City. Ignoring the few runway models with a cage or other uncomfortable object on their body, the clothing often looks pretty dapper.

Unfortunately, there’s a strong bias in the fashion industry. Fashion weeks, the Oscars of the style industry, occur in cities, namely Milan, Paris, New York and London. In this way, trendy shops congregate in such niche capitals, tailoring their wares to the moneyed individuals and weather patterns of the area.

This leaves the beautiful Midwest, as well as many other parts of the world, completely cut out of the debate for the hottest items of the year. If we take a second to look at the male fashion trends as of now, they’d be: skinny suits and pants, lightweight bomber and denim jackets, wool ties and boots worn with tailored clothes. All of these look great in the city, but throw them in the Notre Dame climate for a few days and you’re looking at a useless wardrobe.

So here it is, what you’ve all been waiting for, a plea to the fashion industry to remember the Midwest, especially when the arctic vortex traps us here.

First, I’d like to ask for some real boots. My favorite part of my boots right now is how I can do ring-dating analysis (think age of trees) on them based on the number of salt lines along the side. I sometimes even question what color my shoes started off, because by now I can only describe them as a solid meh.

To counteract this, I’d like to see boots that embrace the beauty of salt lines. I’m thinking some black or grey boots with white rings already on them, thus trudging around in the knee-deep slush will only add to the pattern at hand.

Next, we need address the issue of the sub-arctic temperatures in the morning turning to Saharan heats by the middle of the day. As of now, there’s no intermediate. You throw on a warm coat in the morning, and you have to head back to your dorm to shower by noon. Forget your coat in your rush, and you’ll be struggling with hypothermia as you step in to your 8:20 a.m.

The magic solution: Inflatable light jackets. Air could work as an insulating layer by having thermal-lined bubbles inside jackets that could be filled in the mornings, but then drained by midday. A perfect way to achieve that sleek look in the dining hall without having to sacrifice a frostbitten limb for it.

Lastly, I ask the lords of fashion to grant the Midwest skinny pants with long johns built in. This sort of thing already exists if you’re into wearing 80s jeans padded with flannel, but what I’m thinking of would be slim-fit jeans or cords with a warm base that helps you slip into that pesky pant leg that’s gotten too small.

If you’re interested in the warm fancy pants category, there has actually been development in this area. BetaBrands put out gray dress pants that actually are sweatpants, and they’re relatively cheap considering the cost of a nice pair of suit slacks.

But this does not mean the battle for recognition in the style industry is over. It’s just a nice shout out to the slightly lazy, a bit fancy and very cold Midwestern fashionistas.

Don’t let us be forgotten. Notre Dame deserves a new class of fashion.

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About Daniel Barabasi

Daniel enjoys taking long walks on the lakes, debating grammatical punctuality and dancing in the swing fashion. In his spare time, he is a neuroscience major in the Class of 2017.

Contact Daniel