Throw together a Japanese silk kimono, sheer tights, some leather heeled boots, and a colorful handbag, and 50 years ago you may be asked if you got dressed blindly. Yet today, mismatching patterns and textures, loud statement pieces, the trend of being “extra,” is ever more fashion forward than fashion disaster: maximalism.
In recent years, as we scroll through Instagram, shuffle through fashion magazines, and stroll through the streets, we come across plenty of clean cut, sleek, uni-colored outfits with an emphasis on simplicity: minimalism.
Yet, minimalism’s standardized designs and motto of less is more is slowly being replaced by maximalism’s emphasis on audacity and a new slogan, more is more. With a focus on absurd and extravagant designs, several brands have helped disseminate a new philosophy through their bold products.
As with any any fashion trend, the clothes we we wear affect how we think, how we feel, and how we act. This concept of enclothed cognition, the systematic influence of clothes on our cognitive processes, explains maximalism’s promotion of experimentation and adventure through style.
Maximalism encourages a sense of individuality, empowering us to be creative and let our true selves loose. For some, this trend is frightening as it breaks the safety of minimalism, while for others, this trend is liberating as it lifts the constraints of uniformity.
Maximalism’s driving force is difficult to pinpoint, however, it may be reflective of several societal shifts including advances in the widespread acceptance of self-expression. Or maximalism may simply be a direct response to minimalism and its long run influence on the fashion world.
Maximalism and enclothed cognition can be seen on Duke’s own turf. Duke is notorious for being a “well-dressed” campus. Students head to class clad in dresses and jean skirts, polo shirts and Ray-ban sunglasses rather than the stereotypical sweats and a t-shirt. By the terms of enclothed cognition, this may play a role in shaping the Duke student body’s unique flavor as an active, involved, and energetic community. As maximalism seeps into the campus culture, whether at excessive themed parties or extravagant spirited sports games, Duke too, is gradually welcoming this new trend and leaving minimalism behind.
– Words by Renee Weisz and Fernanda Herrera
Photography: Kayla Carlisle
Models: Morgan Smith and Emma Landis
Style Editor: Lucy Cao
Senior Stylists: Sonia Fillipow, Mallissa Vuong, Claudia Choi, Juliana Caravalho, Katherine Guo
Junior Stylists: Samantha Busch, Chiara Settineri, Cliff Tang, Renee Weisz, Caroline Doherty, Reeya Gupta, Emily Fechner, Allison Wu
Hair: Hannah Yehudah
Makeup: Julie Arditti and Daisy Cephas
Production Assistant: Alexandra Davis