A Take on Fashion: Sally Singer

March 7, 2021

Sally Singer is the Head of Fashion Direction for Amazon, the e-commerce giant based in Seattle, Washington. Amazon recently launched its Luxury Stores platform, which carries designer wares. Prior to taking this role in late 2020, Singer had been a longtime editor at American Vogue, progressing from the magazine’s Fashion News Director to its Digital Director; in this capacity, she helped to relaunch Vogue’s website and significantly boost its readership. Singer also served as Editor in Chief of T: The New York Times Style Magazine. She is renowned for her ultra-intelligent yet relatable prose and vision, capturing the sartorial zeitgeist like few others are able. 

What is a trend or item that reflects women’s style at this point in time? 

Wearing a mask! It is the obvious answer and is, of course, not about fashion or trend. It is about life. Other items that seem especially relevant right now? A fantastic, long-wearing, protective-in-all-climates piece of outerwear. Flat shoes in which to walk and bike fearlessly for miles. And these are not boring choices, or they certainly don’t have to be. I am especially inspired by women who wear bright saturated color or mixed bold patterns head-to-toe, even for a (masked!) market run. Optimism and utility!

How can fashion as a form of individual and free expression play a role in our changing societies? 

People play a role in their changing culture—everyone gets dressed in the morning—and so personal style is always there on the front lines of every social movement. But it’s my view that great fashion, and great designers, have aesthetic impulses that are both of their time and just ahead of their time. And there are moments when those special visions allow us to essentially “costume” the coming moment. When you change the length of a hem or the height of a heel, for example, you change a woman’s stance in the world. And fashion can also encourage us to think beyond the times we live in. I remember seeing an haute couture show by Christian Lacroix in January after the attacks of September 11. It was a collection of staggering, unexpected beauty. It felt like a protest against ugliness in every form, and it made me dream of better times ahead.

How does the current crisis impact people’s relationship with clothing and fashion?

I think everyone is thinking hard about what is essential, for their families, their communities and the planet. Everyone going forward will buy less and buy better. People want clothes with real value, to wear and love and keep. And so along with all the usual attributes (utility, trend, etc), every piece, to be relevant, must deliver emotional power.  And these are big love stories: when you buy a fabulous dress or coat or pair of boots, it’s now a marriage and not a one-night stand. Women are investing in pieces that they will cherish for a very long time. And that’s new, and not a moment too soon.

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