In all of life's endeavors, whether you’re war monger, a choreographer of dance or a fashionista, knowledge of history is a must. Imagine Obama plunging us into an illegal war without having learned lessons from the previous presidents who have done the same, it would take twice as much time and money, but more importantly, you have the appearance of a pro, which gives you credence in the eyes of your peers and subjects.
In fashion knowledge of history is even more acute because you’re working with clients who pay more attention to a hem length on a skirt then the fact that their country is killing innocent people all over the world under false pretenses and using their tax dollars. To keep the mill of fashion consumption humming along, the designer must pique their interest every season within a very finite medium. If you show a collection that’s too far ahead of the herd you’re deemed avant-garde, hence not commercially viable to investors, if you show a collection palatable for the masses, you’re unimaginative and middle of the road, and are written off by the fashion police, it’s a juggling act few can pull off for any length of time. The balancing act of designing for the masses is so agonizing, that some designers take their lives as a way out.
Magazines were invented to create an artificial need for the latest and greatest that comes out of the fashion mills, they create a desire for what we can never achieve, and puts a weak-willed individual on a tread-mill of never ending grappling toward the impossible.
The myth of "if you own this, your life will be complete" has been with us since the beginning of time. It's a ploy like organized religion, compulsory education, entertainments, etc. that the moneyed class has used to keep the masses busy in their mire, instead of looking toward the sun. Throughout history nearly every civilized country instituted a Sumptuary laws to prevent the commoners from emulating the nobility, and as we all know if you can't do something, you want to do it even more. Movements like Le Sans Culottes, Dandyism, even Punk were reactions to this bizarre prohibition on personal liberties.
The advanced clothes horse is fully aware of this artificiality of the fashion industry; they sift through it, and come up with their own ideas of what moves them at the moment. At this level you’re no longer dressing to attract a lover, you are now able to express yourself like a fully fledged artist. You can push buttons, provoke, hell, I’ve gotten into fist fights because of what I was wearing. I adore using clothing to instigate reaction, whether it’s through subtle fit of the suit, or bizarre combination of color or texture, or mixing periods that “should never dance together”, in the hopes that the provoked person will realize the power of clothes, and how shallow/deep fashion can be.