Mass Collaboration

I’m currently reading Wikinomics by Don Tapscot about how mass collaboration changes everything. I was feeling all inspired by the open source movement and decided to check how this relates to fashion by exploring the information available on wikipedia. This open source software can provide an answer to almost any question – but can it inspire me to create/ customise my fashion ensemble’s?
Whilst scanning the definition of fashion and how it has evolved over the decades I came across
the ultimate source for fashion enthusiast. Take a deep breath before reading on …

Wikipedia are currently sorting through over 14,00 articles to present a resource hub for out of print fashion patterns. They date back to 1890 – 1970, with patterns from vogue, simplicity, McCall’s etc… (They are looking for users to contribute, so if you have any hidden away vintage patterns – dig them out!)
There is a short description of the garment accompanied by a beautiful image of the patterns front cover. The classic style of each period becomes apparent and I began to feel as if I had morphed back in time through the space time continuum. Key trends and features are visible and I took note of the adapting hem lines, changing silhouettes and structured tailoring.
The essence of each era is also conveyed through the stylised pattern front cover. For example, quirky illustrations with photography gradually being introduced decades later. I know a lot of designers look to the past for inspiration which is then re-interpreted with a modern twist. This resource hub of thousands of out of print patterns represents each era telling a story of beautiful style and imagery through each decade.
I often browse through for inspiration and to keep myself updated with contemporary fashion trends. I have been coveting this Luella coat (image above) from the 2009 spring collection for a few days. Browsing the wiki archives I came across a vintage pattern (image above) with some resemblance. I began to copy key items to my desktop from the vintage archives and within minutes I has put together my own “little dream list” collection.  I’m not saying the trends are replicated in their entirety but some elements cross over – illustrating that style transitions and is constantly moving forward and evolving.
It also conveys how involved people were in the construction of their clothing, as ready to wear clothing was in limited supply or cost a lot of money the only alternative was to make your own. I think we can take note and use this example when updating our wardrobes for the new season. Things can be updated and adapted through a tweak of a hemline or by altering a neckline.
I am definitely going to try to re-create some of the beautiful patterns at some point or use them as a reference when seeking out new clothing. I only wish my grandmother had achieved her clothing as nothing conveys the era better than an original.vogueluella