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The Latest Non-Trends of Avant-Garde Fashion

Year after year, fashion trends change, leading to a continuous adjustment of what is considered popular. However, a lot of fashion trends tend to come back and, with the downfall of fast fashion -- and consequently the rise of slow fashion --  the intellectual audience is starting to deem the whole idea of trends and season-based collections as out of style. So, to recapture attention, fashion shows are reinventing silhouettes giving them a contemporary avant-garde touch, defining the aesthetics of our time.


Those who show an interest in style and have come to regard fashion as an intellectual effort have also developed an awareness of the environmental and social issues that surround the industry. Trends have turned into subtle ways of showcasing your personality, without having to renew your outfits every season.


In this BARBARA I GONGINI editorial, let’s discuss this year’s predictions in what is considered fashionably relevant and see what’s sticking around for 2019 and from now on.


Avantgarde Final 1 See more BARBARA I GONGINI women's tops here.


How Trends Manifest in Avant-Garde Fashion

Based on a forward-thinking (and unorthodox) mindset, avant-garde fashion pushes new and unconventional designs and encourages risk-taking, experimental creativity and the rejection of the mainstream. This approach allows BARBARA I GONGINI and other avant-garde designers, brands and artists to confer a specific tone which is unlike anything else in the fashion world. Those familiar with the current have come to understand it as a lifestyle and a unique way to express oneself.


Avant-gardism, by definition, rejects the notion of trends, conventions and anything that involves a lack of originality. This is why fashion designers often avoid what is considered culturally popular and surprise with designs that are not only meant to last but also express who you are.   

Discover more on avant-garde fashion and its roots in this Avant Garde Editorial that explores important marks in its development.



Fashion is time sensitive and a society concentrated style such as avant-garde is always morphing into different forms. What will shape the way garments are crafted is based on each designer’s individual approach and also how willing the industry is to push things forward.


BARBARA I GONGINI is not a trend based brand so by definition it ignores the mainstream culture. But, as Barbara puts it : “The avant-gardists have their own expression and that comes in their own terms. For us, it’s a question of continuing an exciting collection and developing existing ones. But always bring a contribution, have an “Under Construction” Mentality.” In terms of what contributions will be added soon, Barbara says that: “We need to put the focus on the average consumer, to offer the incentive that a piece will always serve a purpose.” So, the essence of offering multilayered, multifunctional pieces of clothing is still and will be strong at BARBARA I GONGINI.


Factors that influence avant garde fashion trends

There are several factors that can influence the way trends and style evolve. Fashion draws heavily from social and environmental surroundings. It is also based on each designer's values and understanding of the elements that spark creativity.

Here are some examples that influence how we, at BARBARA I GONGINI, structure how we create garments season after season:



We believe that what people look for in a brand is directly related to the values that make it unique and appealing. For avant-garde designers, the most prominent feature is the anti-consumerism drive that sets them apart from other commercial, mainstream fashion brands.


Values are deeply rooted in the way craftsmanship is approached. It was the avant-gardist architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe who said that “Less is more” and the concept has become a cornerstone for avant-gardist designers ever since.


Simplicity is another value that comes to mind when discussing fashion avant-gardism. The aim is to produce simple pieces that feature subtle intricacies. What seems to be a simple piece of clothing can feature a variety of designs which you can style according to your creativity.

Discover our collections of versatile avant-garde garments designed in the spirit of simplicity and craftsmanship.

Political & Social Environments

Politics can have a significant impact in the fashion and creative world and thus can be of major influence in what is currently relevant. The artists’ need to create freely means that the political climate contributes directly to their work.


Similarly, the social environment, society norms, and pressures can shape the creative process. For example, a highly environmentally conscious society will put emphasis on how garments are manufactured. Sustainability is a major topic of discussion amongst fashion retailers and avant-gardists are the first to line up and take a stand. New ways of crafting garments have pushed forward the techniques and the materials used.


Direct Influences

The direct influences that affect designers in crafting their pieces are the result of their personal preferences, experience, and study. Many avant-garde fashion designers are influenced by the old school Japanese aesthetic philosophies. Other significant influences are background, education and artistic drive.


In Barbara I Gongini's case, the avant garde fashion influences come from the vastness of the Faroe Islands, which trigger the large space design she practices. Using heritage as a personal influence, she is able to conjure unique canvases of creation that speak to the singularity of her work.


Explore our collections of avant-garde garments created with the quality and attention of Japanese craftsmanship.


Avantgarde Final 2

Explore more men's coats and jackets from BARBARA I GONGINI here.


Non Trends in Fashion: How Avant-Garde Breaks Stereotypes

Breaking stereotypes involves a level of risk taking that is only specific to avant-garde designers.

The only way to constantly create evergreen trends is by focusing on what really matters and trying unconventional approaches.

Here are some of the creative movements that are here to stay and how they influence the current state of avant-garde fashion.


1. Fashion that’s Dedicated to a Sustainable Approach

Another instance where the avant-garde fashion movement refuses regular conventions is the focus on a sustainable and responsible way of producing garments.

A number of avant-garde designers are limiting their impact on the environment and actively promoting sustainability through their process of procuring and using materials. While large, mainstream brands focus exclusively on profit by using what some would consider unethical ways of conducting business (sweatshops, cheap labor and materials), avant-gardism promotes responsibility in every step of the production process. Having a low impact on the environment is an important part of BARBARA I GONGINI’s brand DNA. Not only in the way the items are made (dying, processing, manufacturing), but also in the designs and their longevity.


At the heart of the sustainability initiatives is the Zero Waste Concept - BARBARA I GONGINI only uses leather and fur that is 100% a bi-product of the food industry, in order to discourage the leather industry where animals are grown and killed for their skin. The leather used in garments mainly comes from cows, goats, and sheep.


Read more about sustainable and ethical fashion here.

2. Multiways & Evergreen Designs

The avant-garde concept of styling a piece in several ways is rooted in the movement’s ideal to provide simple but useful garments.

Unlike commercial fashion outlets, BARBARA I GONGINI cleverly designs its pieces to give the wearer the possibility to style them in several ways and for a longer period of time.

This approach is called “multiway design” and supports the idea of clothing longevity and evergreen products that can serve you longer.  

The freedom of expression and versatility of multiway clothing design and evergreen products also serves as a crucial point in the sustainability initiatives.  


3. Evergreen Colors

The use of monochromatic or two-tone colorways in avant-garde clothing has maintained its value for a long time now.

Black is the dominant color and its power sits in the versatility that it allows. Noncolors such as black and white are not only easy to match, but also emphasize simplicity and a state of mind in tune with the values of the current avant-garde movement. Moreover, the use of noncolors creates room for a variety of possibilities for multi-way garments, which can be creatively modified into several other pieces to mix and match.


BARBARA I GONGINI’s preference for noncolors and neutrals stems from typical Scandinavian design that is deeply rooted in its unique climate. Although blending in, our garments help the individual stand out by reflecting the inner strength of the Nordic environment.


4. Fashion that Respects Social and Ethical Concerns

Another fundamental concern of avant-garde brands is the value of the human condition. Human equality is crucial in emphasizing the strength of the individual, regardless of sex, background, social status or sexual orientation. True creativity comes from freedom of self-expression and, to be able to do this, all working parties must feel comfortable and involved in the crafting process.


Besides challenging societal fashion norms, BARBARA I GONGINI’s view on ethical fashion includes the social aspects of our production processes and store concept. We make sure to work only with suppliers who follow ethical principles and comply with their national laws and regulations regarding workers’ rights.


Along with our beliefs, ideas and influences, our concern for social and ethical propriety shape the very essence of the BARBARA I GONGINI brand.


5. Non-binary Clothing

Many avant-garde pieces appeal to a broad audience regardless of their sexual identity, because most of them are crafted to be gender fluid. The brand strives for extreme versatility, a concept opposed to the mainstream idea that genders have fashion restrictions. You may express yourself in any natural form you desire without having to think about following the rules.


Again, this versatility is a direct opposition to the conventionalism of mainstream brands who are gender oriented. By offering the wearer more possibilities you enhance their style experience and give options.


BARBARA I GONGINI’s approach to fashion looks beyond gender and sexual orientation related stereotypes and aims to create unisex androgynous garments that promote inclusivity and creativity. Strong geometrical cuts and soft ovoid silhouettes meet in both Man and Woman collections leaving the wearer the freedom to mix and match them to best reflect their personality.

Break down norms and stereotypes with our latest avant-garde clothing designs.

6. Non age-specific clothing

Versatility is noticeable through the fact that most avant-garde clothes don’t have an age requirement.

They can be worn by anybody, as long as the wearer is able to identify with and feel comfortable in them. Avant-garde fashion is addressed to an intellectual audience which does not have a specific age. Older and middle-aged, style sensitive people can wear the same garments as young ones and vice versa. Utility and freedom of expression are the goals and those are independent of age.


7. Fashion that Upcycles and Recycles

The initiative to use recycled fabric as part of an eco-friendly approach to doing business also shows concern about offering a more sustainable product. All textiles are approved by Oeko-Tex®. We urge our suppliers to test them for substances that might be harmful for the health of the wearer, as well as reduce water usage and wastage to protect the environment.


Furthermore, our approach to sustainable and ethical fashion aims to comply with the highest standards of the international code of conduct by relying on three pillars: recycling, upcycling, and byproducts. As such, while fast fashion encourage a throwaway mentality, in avant-garde-ism he undistributed stock is upcycled and given new forms in order to create multifunctional pieces that are better than their precedents. Constant evolution from the same essence, based on functionality and sustainability awareness, rather than trends.

Read more about fashion upcycling here.



Behind the scenes of The Weather Diaries, the traveling exhibition by BARBARA I GONGINI


BARBARA I GONGINI’s Take on Avant-Garde Trends

BARBARA I GONGINI doesn’t regard itself as a trend-driven brand, so it tries to distance itself from what is seen as fashionable and cool.


The conceptual approach of BARBARA I GONGINI Collections presents a different take on crafting garments.

Faithful to the core of avant-gardism, designers try to break stereotypes with non-trends -- ways of creating that contradict contemporary currents. This can consist of several approaches starting from the concept behind a piece, to the details on garments up to the way that materials and textiles are produced.


By isolating and singling out new ways of crafting, the pieces become works of art in themselves and cannot be framed in a category. Unlike many traditional fashion designers, BARBARA I GONGINI has its own construction process that instills the avant-garde essence from start to finish. Everything from materials, design, and production is created with the purpose of utility.


Products don’t just “go out of fashion”, they are meant to last for a long period of time and to be used in multiple ways. In this spirit, the core of the BARBARA I GONGINI collections is centered on individualism, freedom of self-expression and not on normative pressures and contemporary trends.  


Our Creative Process in Designing Fashion at BARBARA I GONGINI

The craftsmanship starts out with a 360° view of what the final product will be and how it will be of use to the wearer.


Expression and personality are two of the central elements in conceptualizing each piece. Pieces often include geometric cuts, asymmetric fabrics and spectacular silhouettes that are focused on versatility and utility. Traditional tailoring plays a major part in the creative process.


While fast fashion instills a throwaway mindset, we aim to contribute to fashion awareness while discarding trends, focusing instead on longevity and sustainability of garments. We regard our wardrobing as center piece to creating a sustainable, yet still fashionable, wardrobe.


Our collections are designed in numerical order where each piece of clothing, from any collection, can be mixed and matched across seasons. This way, wearers can build up their wardrobe with few items they can style in multiple ways all year round. We create our garments with high quality and strong design and personality in mind, instead of high volume and mass consumption.

Explore our collections of versatile avant-garde clothing that will suit any sustainable wardrobe.


What is Officially Out of Style in Avant-Garde

One thing that is definitely out of fashion in the avant-garde world is the idea of trends.

This cutting-edge movement works outside the logic of the seasonal fashion market, which seeks to create a hype every half-year by focusing on a particular set of characteristics. 

Avant-gardism rejects trends and value judgments based on popularity, so anything that is tied to the mainstream current will be of little interest to the avant-garde fashion wearer.


While some designers will continue to try to break into the mainstream, the essence of avant-garde will always be distant and indifferent to popular opinion. Any garments that are the result of past influences, such as the current 80s revival trends, do not belong in the cutting-edge, forward-looking fashion realm.

Constant improvement is the goal, so what clings to the past will no longer be relevant to an audience looking to experiment the contemporary. This doesn’t mean that avant-garde disregards the past, but rather that it is constantly anchored in and mirroring the present.


Get acquainted with our collections and discover the true spirit of avant-garde fashion.


ImageMichael Maximillian Hermansen