French designer Philippe Starck, better known for interior and product design, is getting into fashion, though Starck would rather not call it that. Working with Scottish cashmere company Ballantyne, the S+arck With Ballantyne line will release 30 cashmere pieces for men and the same number for women, all of which are “non-photogenic,” Starck told France’s Le Figaro at the line’s launch last week in Florence. “But intelligent people will know to discover us.”
What’s Starck trying to say? For the last couple months, he’s been railing against the fashion industry and the vicious cycle of consumerism it encourages–as well as material, energy and monetary waste–as consumers try to stay current with the latest trends. He includes the fashion press in his list of offenders.
In January, he told The Guardian: “Let’s hope fashion in design will disappear. There is a lack of respect when the media says, ‘You must be dressed in pink,’ and some poor gril dresses in pink, and six months later, when it says, ‘You must dress in green,’ she’s a monster in her pink dress. We can’t accept this kind of manipulation.”
By contrast, Starck’s line offers nondescript, waterproof cashmere pieces with a contemporary cut and multifunctional features like detachable waistcoats and dual-position collars. The pieces are designed to transcend trends, leaving wearers no reason to move on to the next season’s styles. It’s sustainability by removing the desire to consume.
Starck’s “intelligent cashmere” line is slated to arrive in Ballantyne’s flagship stores as well as other select retailers in October, defying fashionistas to abandon their high-turnover wardrobes for dark cashmeres accented with flourishes of fluorescent textiles. As Starck sees it, it’s a win-win for consumers and society: “We are starting something that cannot not work, and that will be followed.”