Archetypes and their forms and rules – who cares? Such is the attitude of the Eclectics. It may be tempting to call them iconoclasts, but really, you’d have to be against rules to be one. Eclectics aren’t that way, however; they just don’t bother. Instead, Eclectics create their own set of highly personal, haphazard, and often unconventional rules. They freely pick and choose themes, items, and looks from all over the fashion spectrum to construct what others would call a statement ensemble, and what the Eclectics would call simply “what I like and how I like it”.
Don’t mistake Eclectics for being bold eccentrics, though. The line between them and someone without any sense of coordinating outfits? Sensibility. There is always a thought process behind what they put together, whether it’s a fixation with floral prints, or an experiment with texture. Like artists, Eclectics express their creativity through the canvas of their get-ups, and while they can be difficult to understand, they always look stylish. Some designers have taken the Eclectic ethos onto the runway to great success, with a great number of them coming from Japan. This can perhaps be attributed to the conflict between their Eastern identity and Western influence within the Japanese culture, and most certainly their gifts in taking art forms to the extremes. After all, isn’t fashion art?
AN ECLECTIC’S PROFILE
An Eclectic is most likely involved in some way with a creative industry, and enjoys different forms of art and fashion. Most of them are passionate about self-expression, not because they wish to oppose society’s trappings, but because they feel an innate need to do so. They are people with little to no inhibitions, a strong personality, and possess a superb gift of creativity. Eclectics tend to have a natural knack for knowing what works with what in terms of an outfit, and can pick up items they instinctively know will complement what they already have. What with the fashion world constantly chasing the next hottest trend and mass producing “style”, Eclectics often find themselves making their own pieces of apparel, and shopping at flea markets and other unconventional places.
There is order in the chaos – this is perhaps the most fitting description of an Eclectic’s outfits. There is usually blasts of color, patterning, decoupled parts of one conventional ensemble fitted with those of another. There is always in all that a unifying theme, which can be a color, a pattern, an evocation of a certain archetypal look, an idea (such as futurism/sci-fi) or a texture. Needless to say, every variety of these colors, patterns, textures, and parts is fair game to an Eclectic’s artistic eye, and none are spared when he’s dreaming up his next ensemble. Since the Eclectics are so individualistic in their style, it is hard to find any defining or dominant attributes amongst them, except only the randomness they share and celebrate.
WHO IS IT FOR?
Along the spectrum of style archetypes, the Eclectic is the most inaccessible of all. With its demand for a natural eye to detail and a distinct personal style, the Eclectic archetype is not for the everyday guy. Furthermore, since it’s so highly personal, if your style is not already somewhat kooky, you’re probably not an Eclectic at heart and will find it hard to pull off Eclectic ensembles. However, if you frequent pop-, abtract, or installation art scenes, think stripes and dots don’t clash, and have no qualms being stared down the street – this archetype may just suit you fine. If you’re a fashion or costume designer, all the better!
TIPS TO GET YOU STARTED
Follow your heart – a true Eclectic’s lookbook is always somewhere in there. If you’re doing it for the first time, try to mix a variety of textures and colors together. Throw away the rules you’ve learned over the years, like how black pants must be worn with black shoes, and get creative. Lay out all you have and randomly select items, try them on and tweak the look from there. Good luck.
BRANDS TO EXPLORE
- Kit Neale
- John Galliano
- Nozomi Ishiguro
- Comme des Garçons
- Check out the streets of Harajuku, Japan!