Hovercrafts and time travel are how some people envisage our society advancing but, according to one Swedish businessman, the future of fashion is flat-pack. The country that gave us revolutionary build-it-yourself furniture superstore Ikea, has now come up with a similar idea for our clothes, taking minimalism in a whole different direction.
Stefan Engeseth, a Fortune 500 business consultant, has said in a press release “fashion is an expression of how to package and sell design” and he thinks the pull of this idea is the customers being able to “personalise and ‘hack’ the designs”. The basic premise of his idea is that a customer would buy, presumably with flat-pack specialists Ikea as the initial retailer, a pack containing all the materials to make their own pieces of clothing by following a set of instructions, be that a top or pair of trousers. They would then be able to customise it according to their own preference, creating a basic yet personalised garment.
“Engeseth has been noted as saying he thinks the items will bring sentimental value, since the wearers will have put their own energy and creative efforts into assembling them”
This is fast-fashion taken to the next level, and might actually be more feasible than it sounds. With adjustable waistbands and universal sizes, these packs can be mass produced quickly and cheaply enough to match the rapidly changing trends of most popular high street stores.
Engeseth has been noted as saying he thinks the items will bring sentimental value, since the wearers will have put their own energy and creative efforts into assembling them. Vintage fashion is popular due to the uniqueness and history of the pieces, so how is this idea much different? The stories are simply a lot fresher. Although, is it really worth the effort when the story to tell is one of you sitting for hours attempting to put the pieces of fabric together in a way that doesn’t look like you’ve actually made it yourself?
Since most of us have first-hand experience of the perils of trying to fix up the ‘easy assemble’ bookcases and desks of Ikea, there’s a worry the clothes could be just as complicated. Nobody wants to be stressing out over assembling their new top before they can leave the house in it.
“You can easily spend hours wandering from shop to shop in Eldon Square, browsing thousands of items and trying different outfits on – all of which is lost in the purchase of a uniformed, one-size-fits-all item”
An additional worry is that since you’re putting it together so easily yourself, it might come apart just as easily. If your bookcase falls apart then you end up with a mess on the floor, but if your trousers whip off when you’re out and about it’s you that ends up as the mess, which is less than ideal.
Furthermore, this new concept will take away the thrill and excitement of shopping. You can easily spend hours wandering from shop to shop in Eldon Square, browsing thousands of items and trying different outfits on – all of which is lost in the purchase of a uniformed, one-size-fits-all item. Lost as well are the intricate detailing, creative designs and fine cuts that come with shopping with the experts. I personally wouldn’t stop my afternoon trips and online browsing in favour of that.
No businesses have made any immediate plans to turn flat-pack fashion into reality, but would you take part in “the longest catwalk ever” if it were to happen?
By Tessa Jones for The Courier, 24th November 2014