29 big new ideas of fashion month

What inspires you? It’s one of the most asked questions during Fashion Month, and also one of the least helpful for truly understanding why designers actually create what they create, or — more essentially — why we wear what we wear. For most people, clothes are a product of utility and often anxiety, too; they’re what we need to put on in order to move through the world with least resistance. But capital-F Fashion hasn’t been designed with “most people” in mind. Fashion Week can oftentimes be a play-world where real-life rules whiz out the window: everyone can afford anything, everyone is the same size, and the biggest concern isn’t about safety or survival, but whether a ball-gown is chic enough.

But that veneer has cracked. Though the runways have always reflected the times in some way, 2017 has been an especially oppressive year. Forget inspiration. It’s more about what motivates — what wills you to push forward, do better, and make something that propels others out ahead, too. Many of the collections this season didn’t just show us the necessarily uplifting fantasies we can always depend on for dream-weaving; instead, designers did it within the contexts of the world we live in, in all its humbling ways.

And frankly, Fashion Month is better for it — because the more it recognizes that fashion needs to have a genuine purpose before it can inspire, the more interesting — and more wantable — the clothes can be. This past season did a pretty good job at addressing our needs while tapping into our wants. And so, with a few weeks to reflect, we’re capturing the 29 biggest moments we think are the real inspiration, shaping so much more than just trends.

Read more at Refinery29.