I was recently reading issue 15 of 125 Magazine and came across the following quote by Albert Watson.
[Americans] seemed to want fasion to be more of the people, more of the mass. Chairman Mao had all the Chinese dressing the same, and from a different base in America they arrived at something not to dissimilar. And you can take it on to looking at the success of companies like The Gap and others, where in the headquarters they make a decision that then rolls out across the country. Someone decides ‘let’s do cargo pants again, we haven’t done it for a couple years….so this year we will put two buttons on every pocket.’ Then they proceed to make 16 million pairs of these … and they go all over the USA and all over the world. All the same but you can choose from six colours. there is a certain sense of Chairman Mao and his style for the masses in the American philosophy around fashion, if arrived at through capitalism rather than communism.
…. The mass-way of approaching fashion in America makes for a very different outcome. Americans would come to the collections, the buyers from the stores etc., would look at the shows and then say something like ‘it is all very well – but I wouldn’t wear it.’
I never realized that it was an American vs European thing. I just thought – “Wow that fashion I see on the catwalk is so weird that no one would ever dress like that.” But I never realized that it came, in part, from living in a country in which everyone wears the same thing.