by Chrissy Iley
Just round the corner from where I live, I passed what I thought was a vintage shop. Strange and eclectic mix of looks. Some vintage 1930s, 50s and 80s, and some modern pieces. All of them statements, even though some of them not statements I would ever make.
Pieces that you might want to wear to your party once. And then I realised that’s exactly what people do. I had entered a fashion library. Once you’re a member you basically pay to take out clothes on short or longer leases. You never have to own them.
Particularly appealing as I just had a massive cupboard-emptying experience giving and selling clothes that I don’t have room for.
I love the idea of an ever-rotating closet – looks that you borrow but never own.
In its manifesto, library says it offers ‘an alternative to capitalism and the capitalist ideas of ownership, taking the focus away from the personal possession and placing it instead on community sharing.’
As well as offering clothes they offer vinyl and books and art.
As a concept the idea resonates. In the future, when there’s no high street and all the big chains have collapsed, no one will own clothes. We will all be forced to rent them or wear fewer and fewer if we decide not to exploit India and China and that no one can ever afford designer.
But for the now, there are fewer pleasures in life than lusting after, say a pair of shoes, taking them home in the box, displaying and playing with them and knowing that they are your shoes, or top, or jeans, or whatever.
I love the idea of sharing but I enjoy ownership too much and in the same week as being intrigued by what the Fashion Athenaeum Library had to offer I was more excited at what Prabal Gurung had to offer at Target, particularly the shoes – really well made, quirky, and high fashion flying off the shelves at an average price of $40.
One day they too may be in the fashion library, but for now they are on my feet.
Library: Fashion Athenaeum. 1071 N Fairfax Avenue, West Hollywood, CA 90046. library-fashion.com