12 Jan 2020

Doris de Pont on the 2010s - the decade of leggings

From The Weekend, 11:45 am on 12 January 2020

The 2010s have been declared the decade of leggings.

That was coined by US fashion writer Maya Singer in which she says about half of New York women seem to be wearing them out and about not just in the gym. They're comfortable she writes, and versatile and just cool, epitomising the rise of athleisure.

Doris de Pont, who created the Fashion Museum a decade ago, told Lynn Freeman the rise of leggings represents a casualisation of fashion and a shift towards comfort and function.

“It’s a shift away from a canon of fashion that dictates how we should look. It’s a sort of anti-fashion statement.”

She says that where leggings would have only been acceptable in a gym or a yoga studio, fashion is now less rules-bound and more open to different looks.

“What has shifted hugely in fashion in the past 10 or 20 years is the diversity of what’s acceptable. At Fashion Week last year, they had models of different sizes and body shapes. There’s an opening up of a new reality in fashion and fashion marketing. Anyone can wear leggings or tight jeans, or anything they want.”

That shift is also reflected in the growth of second-hand clothing, a trend that de Pont believes will remain through the 2020s.

“There’s a new emphasis on sustainability. For young people designing now, that’s absolutely a priority.”

She says the television show Project Runway recently had a challenge where contestants had to visit an op-shop and produce a new garment out of old clothes.

“Even in that rarefied area of design, there’s an understanding that this is what we need to be doing.

“I think the thing we’ll see going forward is a recognition of value in what we have – having less, and having garments and pieces that have meaning and value.”