Maximalism and minimalism are the two ends of a pole, however, the line between differentiating the two is kind of blurry. The terms are quite subjective which is why are perceived differently by everyone. This makes it an intriguing topic to know more about fashion aesthetics and evolve our knowledge about their role and stature in the fashion world. And where we lie on this spectrum of fashion with our personal preferred fashion choices.
Minimalism in terms of lifestyle, interiors, and other aspects of life is all about living as per needs and only focusing on the absolute essentials. A minimal lifestyle focuses on a healthy route which is said to induce better physical and mental health, as your consciousness is clear about what your body and life need and gives you a better perspective on other things. It’s also about being practical rather than giving in to desires and wants. Whereas maximalists believe in indulging your wants, needs, and desire, which is focusing on your sole happiness and cravings, which need not necessarily always be healthy. Though there are many different theories about where both these lifestyle lie, this is the basic understanding of the terms as we see them in the big picture.
When it comes to interiors, it is very much about design, of course, and also fashion. Minimalism, it’s about subtracting anything that does not serve a purpose, while maximalists go all out with what brings them joy. Minimalists often lean towards structured, geometrical shapes which are basic to cut through the monotony or texture is often seen in most minimalists' interiors with monochromatic colors, often black, white, grey, and neutrals. On the other hand, maximalists fill the space up for personal pleasure and are often bright and rich with many elements.
Now, we will not be discussing maximalism vs minimalism lifestyles and interiors in depth, but rather focus only on minimalism and maximalism understanding and presence of the two in the field of fashion today. The first thing to flash in our minds when we think of minimalism is “less is more”, and it’s the most accurate way to explain the term. It’s about subtracting the unnecessary and only keeping the essentials. Minimalist fashion enthusiasts mostly focus on a capsule wardrobe with only basic need-based clothing. While the philosophy behind maximalism is “more is more”, which is all about exaggeration and excitement. The wardrobe for a maximalist is all about trendy, bright, and over-the-top clothing and accessories, in short, the minimalist opposite.
Minimalism came about as a revolution that rebelled against maximalist art in history and was also a result of the circumstances of the time. It started as focusing on the functionality and quality of the clothing rather than the visual aspect of it and later flourished as an aesthetic in the field and was adopted by many designers and brands of the time. The minimalist clothing of the time mainly focused on geometrical elements in a subtle way and add some sharpness to the overall look, keeping a monochromatic color palette. Designers and brands like Calvin Klein, Yohji Yamamoto, Donna Karan, and Issey Miyake, especially Christian Dior’s New Look showcased a lot of the minimalist aesthetic.
Now, maximalism is said to have come about from the idea of Art Nouveau a style of art that began in the 1890s. Over the years, maximalism evolved and is often termed to be a “fad” or “trend” which means that it’s only a passing style. We last saw maximalism in all its rag in the early 2000s when Y2K hit and it was all about the bling Juicy tracksuits, low-rise jeans, thick embellished belts, bright colored DIY clothing, and other trends that were all about over-the-top elements in your fashion. Today, we are witnessing the comeback of Y2K fashion with the bejeweled extravagance and popping colors, exaggerated silhouettes on the runways, and otherwise. We observe that it is a result of the pandemic circumstances where most people had to curb their desires, wants, and excitement which is now coming out in a full-blown force through fashion, amongst other things. Versace, Yves Saint Laurent, and Valentino with its PPPink Collection of exaggerated silhouettes and the popping pink color, and many other brands and designers showcased hints of maximalism in their looks. It’s definitely a refreshing experience after the simplistic, need-based, comfortable clothing that we all settled into during quarantine.
Though today, we are living in an era that is witnessing both aesthetics instead of the maximalist vs minimalist debate. As global warming and other hazards to the environment multiply, there are many that have shifted to a minimal lifestyle in all aspects including clothing as well. Restricting only to basics and light clothing, and subtracting aka taking out anything that is not needed. Whereas some maximalists are all about hoarding the trendiest styles and want more of and in everything. A post-pandemic era where the taste of freedom is expressed in exciting and over-the-top clothing! However, it’s to each their own aesthetic, and we are loving both maximalism and minimalism living together in this era.
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