AVAVAV’s Fall/Winter 2023 Show Literally and Figuratively Broke the Runway
Creative director Beate Karlsson of AVAVAV literally and figuratively cultivated a ground-breaking show that pushed boundaries known to the traditional runway industry. At Milan Fashion Week, the Fall/Winter 2023 collection titled “Fake it Till You Break It” had the jaws of crowd members on the floor as models walked down the runway.
As the models strutted down the runway, pieces of their garments fell off, broke, and flew off into the crowd and walkway before them. Broken heels, ripped skirts, broken glasses, and much more plagued the models as they each took their turn down the walkway. Typically garments deconstructing is a fashion house’s worst nightmare, but Karlsson’s incorporation of this into the show was a completely intentional move.
In recent years, there has been a concerningly large increase in overconsumption among consumers as fast fashion giants like Shein and Romwe have pushed out mass amounts of clothes with shockingly low price tags. AVAVAV’s recent show gives us a visual glimpse into the unreliability and poor quality of fast-fashion. Not only is it bad for the environment, but the quality of these clothes are often so poor that they break, snap, and deteriorate just after a few wears. Karlsson intended to cast light on how many people opt for fast fashion and fake replicas of luxury goods in order to project a false portrayal of wealth.
Many people have critiqued the show, arguing that social critique through fashion has no real effect on society. However, we should be critical of this belief. As students here at Penn, we’re praised for breaking norms and pushing boundaries to cultivate ground-breaking innovations that have real tangible effects on society. We should keep this same mindset when it comes to public social critiques as they are oftentimes the things that drive impactful social change.
Additionally, this show served as a major critique on the seriousness of the luxury fashion industry. Many fashion houses are very adamant about maintaining a professional appearance. Traditionally, this brings forth a sense of respect and admiration but recently other brands have also begun implementing social critique into their recent runway shows and lines.
Here at Penn it’s not uncommon to get swept into the world of pre-professionalism. Whether it be professional etiquette, attire, or appearance many compromise who they are in order to advance themselves both professionally and academically. AVAVAV’s recent show shows us that it’s ok to break professional standards and in doing so you might even garner more attention and respect for going against the norm. We should vow to break the standards we’ve set for ourselves that go against who we are and not get so hung up in the seriousness of things. Standing out and truly being ourselves can open the door to so many opportunities that amplify who we really are.
After arriving at Penn, I found myself straightening my hair, changing how I dressed, and altering my demeanor for interviews and professional opportunities. After I sat back and really evaluated what I was doing, I decided to embrace who I really was: my curls, rather unconventional style, and other facets of what make me me. Once I started to do this and defy the norms I was so used to, I found myself getting more opportunities than before and feeling really happy with what I was doing professionally. I found mentors and jobs that allowed me to embrace who I was rather than change myself to fit some standard of professionalism.
Similar to my experiences, AVAVAV’s show cast light on how fake portrayals of who we are often lead to more shame and negativity than good. When we are able to fail openly without shame and be who we really are, we tend to succeed far beyond what we can imagine.
The next time you change your behavior to fit a mold, think about how AVAVAV puts a mirror up to the fault in false portrayals.
Featured image courtesy of HYPEBEAST.