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A Perspective on Fast vs. Slow Fashion with Regard to Dance Costume Design

A while ago while researching, I came across a New York Times article regarding designers that deal in slow fashion. It got me thinking about the possible implications and application to costume design- specifically in the dance costume arena.

There are many times that clients will request the latest trends. Or, they will request costume elements that may not reflect neither enhance their dance personality or skill- chosen solely because they are 'over the top'. Or, sometimes they want to copy several (I mean all!) elements of another dancer's costume for whatever reason: Maybe it won in a competition, maybe the costume enhanced that particular dancer's look, maybe the other dancer was highly complimented on it by the masses. But what copying a costume does in my opinion, is that it dilutes the unique creativity of what the client/dancer is looking to create. It dilutes and inauthenticates what they bring to the dance.

There are several reasons why high end costumes, whether in bellydance or ballroom have high resale value years after they were purchased. A couple of reasons include that those designers' goal is to produce a well made, well fitting costume- no skimping on materials or construction technique. Trends can or cannot be part of the design, but the aesthetic is to create what some in the fashion industry call "slow fashion" or "seasonless design"- designs that stand over time.

Costumes are an investment at every level of involvement in dance, but especially if you are planning on moving into a professional arena. The professional, in addition to comfort, crafts a signature look and [recognizable] style. I also think about the men that I'm friends with in the dance industry and their preferences in terms of costume and clothing in social dancing or performance...they have the right idea I think.

Don't get me wrong! I love interpreting trends, whimsical elements, and flashes of fabulousness. This is costume design after all✨😊! Fantasy, magic, creativity, and the unexpected play a critical role in the design of a beautiful, interesting costume.

The key and the challenge is in the how. This is where I aim to take Cocoabelly. It's where I find the most joy.

As I say, Let's tell your story.💜


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