There is no doubt that the last year and a half has been the most uncertain, impactful, and culture shifting time period in recent memory. The combination of a global pandemic, the likes of which had not been seen in a century, and a cultural reckoning regarding race, gender and identity has shifted the way we interact with the world. Indeed, every aspect of what was once “normal” life has been impacted by all that we have experienced since early 2020, including the world of fashion and style.
What was the importance of fashion, what did it even mean, in a world where no one was getting dressed to go anywhere or do anything? A world where we did put on clothes to go to the office? A world where there were no weddings, parties or red-carpet events? I don’t think there is one clear answer that came of this, but I do believe the break from our usual day-to-day lives gave us plenty of time to assess the unimportance, but ultimately the importance of fashion (and other aspects of life that some may consider frivolous).
The reality is, there are elements of the fashion industry that are not “sustainable.” Do we need 8 collections a year from our favorite fashion houses? Do we need extravagant fashion shows or even the amount of new clothes we might individually buy every year? The answer to these questions is debatable (and has been debated since the world initially shut down). However, unquestionably, after we got very bored with being in the house in our sweats every day, most of us were extremely excited to get out and get dressed up, even if it was just to meet friends (socially distant) in the park.
The reality is, fashion (for a lot of us) is fun and has been, since the beginning of time, an integral part of the human experience. Are there ways we can enjoy fashion more responsibly and sustainably, absolutely. However, it has become clear that the idea that we are going to completely throw away dressing up or enjoying beautiful clothing once the world is fully back up-and-running is NOT going to happen.
The men included in this year’s style issue have all been key parts of the fashion conversation, both pre and during the pandemic. As designers, stylists, actors and influencers, they have helped us as a society, and the Black community specifically, re