Exit International Uniform

general - fashion

Report 13 / 2021-03-30






We are all waiting for the big party after months of darkness and loneliness. Most of us are fed up with lockdowns and longing for the joy of dancing and expressing ourselves with other people, almost like a Brazilian carnival or the liberation parties of World War 2. We need self expression and happiness back in our lives, and make contact with others to share this. This means expressing our joy and needs to attract others with fashion and cosmetics. This means expressive looks in every possible way, colour, material, and shape.


That may sound extreme for creators and developers as they prefer a safe route in these uprooting times. We have the urge to stay away from “expressive“ as it sounds “extreme”. We think “extreme” is risky, it stands out from the world we are used to and standing out is not safe.


How extreme is expressing yourself in colours though? Looking back now from a world that has changed we can start to realise that this standard outfit was very limiting and restricting, almost like a uniform.


Looking back on recent history we can realise that the world we thought was ‘normal’ was in fact extreme, albeit in the limitations it posed on us.


We come from a time where the international outfit was black, camel, white or grey, and jeans. The same straight cut, the same style of coat, all in a very restricted colour palette for everyone. No matter where in the world you were, we could all see this outfit on the streets, worn by all ages and cultural groups. It was a ‘safe’ uniform that meant we could mingle internationally with the well-to-do crowd. Going from a hotel in Amsterdam to London, or even outside Europe, while still fitting in and being able to fit in.


The international and restrictive uniform is a stark contrast to traditional local outfits. Looking back into fashion cultures hundreds of years ago in Europe, or existing local outfits in Africa or India we see a big difference in expression and variety.


Looking at the international uniform from a natural point of view, we come to realise the expressive shapes and flashy colour schemes of animals is not extreme to us. It is something we in fact adore. Wearing an outfit that mimics this, however, is seen as extreme and off-beat. Humans may not be animals that need a big show of feathers or fur for the same reasons as animals do, but wearing an outfit to express ourselves is equally natural.


Same goes for the packaging, especially of cosmetics. Packaging has had the same extremity in it’s expressionless appearance. The black box in which all colour cosmetics came is an international safe bet that is used over and over. We are anxious to leave this uniformity and use colours.


Expression in every way possible is a part of fashion & cosmetics culture. Forget the limitations of The World Before, which was itself extreme. That world is history now as we entered The World After.