Learning by Wearing

Thoughts from our expert on design, gadgets and joie de vivre.

I remember the day I discovered that clothing told a story. It was in a dusty room as a first year fashion student, listening to a professor tell us that in the 20th century, practically all high fashion originated in Paris. Other countries sent their editors there to buy, copy or openly steal the designs presented each year at the city of love’s famous fashion shows. With periodicals publishing pictures for the first time, people wonder and curiosity, the time of the Belle Époque (Beautiful Age), a time of widening horizons and the beginning of modern fashion design as we know it.

Today, fashion is an important part of everyday life, whether you look at the casual dresser with a classic t-shirt and jeans combination or the fashion lover with the limited edition sneakers and in-depth knowledge of up-and-coming brands. Every day when we get dressed, we decide how the world perceives us and how we see ourselves. And still at the end of the day, not many could tell you anything about the history of the clothes they wear.

In a fast-paced world, where styles go out of ­fashion in mere months, it is all the more important to be able to pinpoint the moment a trend, a cut or a fabric was born. The history of clothing is itself fascinating, from Mark Twain’s invention of the bra-strap clasp to the sailors from Genoa, Italy who gave blue denim its name – jeans. There are a thousand stories to be told about the amazing moments in fashion history and I hope that with this editorial we have done credit to that legacy.

Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” For me, this couldn’t be truer today. Through my research, I’ve come into contact with great people, like Jesse from JP Watch Design and dedicated companies, like Earthwatch Institute and AVEDA, and they have inspired me again. I remembered the importance of looking into how things are produced, their influences and what brands stand for. You never know when you might need that knowledge again.

I remember a couple of years ago, I got somewhat obsessed with information about free-diving (diving without scuba gear). I looked up everything about its history, the record holders and free diving’s impact on the body. A few months later, a friend randomly said, “I wonder how long a human can hold their breath.”

Finally, I could impart my wisdom.

Ali Rabbani
Creative director and stylist for film and print. He studied fashion in Vienna and has worked all over the world in styling, set and food design, as well as art direction for advertising and fashion shoots, videos and shows. See his work @iamrabbani

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