Coronavirus and the Death of Fashion

After two weeks of lounging around the apartment in my sleepwear, I caught myself thinking, What’s the point of being a fashion designer?

About then, my unshaved boyfriend sauntered over to his PlayStation wearing the T-shirt from last night, and my flimsy cotton shorts.

He even wore them to the apartment gate to get groceries, the pink satin ribbons flashing prominently under his martial arts T-shirt. Then he’d come back and throw them into the washing machine and fish them out to wear as soon as they were dry.

How had it come to this?

Fashion, like so many other things we have come to realise, is an indulgence. It’s unnecessary.

Especially in a world where there’s such limited interaction. Like the friend of mine who did a video conference dressed formally to her waist and then sat in her underwear, fashion is defined by our social environment.

Like most forms of self-expression, fashion requires effort. Even if that’s a studied carelessness and a two-day stubble.

It’s our way of saying something to people without even saying something to them. It tells them we’re casual, or rebellious, or bold, or ridiculous, or (in my boyfriend’s case) just very comfortable.

So unnecessary, yes.

But undesirable? Ah, no.

Fashion – even if up to the waist – preserves that part of us that integrates us: our sense of expression.

In an increasingly inhuman world, it reminds us that we are, after all, only human.

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