spirituality-inspired fashion: trend

Its logo — the zinnia flower — “symbolizes lasting affection, goodness, and daily remembrance,” according to fashio and home furnishings company Garnet Hill. And clearly, with its new line, Zinni(TM), GH hopes to capitalize on  the young and affluent’s steadily growing interest in spirituality — especially the idea of cultivating a healthy mind and a healthy body.

Zinni is Garnet Hill’s just-launched line of yoga clothing for women inspired, the consumer is told, “by the relentless pursuit of balance, [and] stylish practicality.” Clothing may be practical, but they are — if we take Garnet Hill’s word for it — part of our spiritual life and identity. The modern tendency to idealize “balance” is portrayed in the yoga postures (and the healthy, natural and largely cosmetic-free looks) of its models, not to mention the clear sky and the Southeast Asian landscape of the photo shoots.

The Zinni collection features loose fitting clothing with textiles patterns: floral and ethnic-inspired, in light colors. The Zinnia flower is also used as a motif in the textiles design.

However, Garnet Hill isn’t the only company thinking about patterns that we associate with a more spiritual, simpler way of life. Drawing together lifestyle (including actual activities such as Yoga) and fashion (the inside and outside, we might say) is a good idea. People don’t just want to express themselves, they want to feel that their lives are in “balance,” and that all the pieces are coming together.

We also increasingly want to feel that the choices we make are ethical (think of the Starbucks campaigns to convince us that an ethical percentage of the profits of their Moccachinos and Cappuccinos actually make it to the coffee bean farmers). Not unlike the Buddhist lotus and the Yogic lotuses (which it’s probably meant to evoke), the Zinnia flower was a good choice for a logo, automatically suggesting that Zinni is an ethical, spiritual company.

Yoga is integrating into fashion elsewhere, and not surprisingly. If you walk around any city you’ll see plenty of young women carrying yoga mats, often along with office work. Other companies are taking note. Controversial fashion company American Apparel has used Yoga in its advertising. And Victoria’s Secret model Miranda Kerr has given a free Yoga lesson on line.

But it’s not all Yoga.

US womenswear company Rodarte introduced textiles to their 2012 collection, not just to add surface interest, but, it would seem, to give their clothing an ethical dimension (or perhaps the company would say that the ethical aspect was simply how Rodarte works). Their 2012 collection used textiles prints inspired by Australian Aboriginal culture. (Incidentally, the word “aborigine” comes from ab origine, meaning of the first, from the beginning, the earliest, etc.)

Rodarte took the unusual step of commissional an actual Aboriginal artist,  Benny Tjangala, from Alice Springs-based Papunya Tula Artists association, thus avoiding the scandal — and law suit — that plagued Urban Outfitters last year after they launched a line of clothing that they called “Navajo.” Representatives of the Navajo people filed suit,  saying the word and imagery could not be used without permission.

With Navajo, Aboriginal, and Yoga prints already out there spiritual themes and motifs look set to become a much bigger part of big fashion.

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