Fashion Comes for Books

In his 1967 classic critique of late capitalist society, “Society of the Spectacle,” the French philosopher Guy Debord posited that the West has reached a new stage of relations between commodities and people. Whereas before the laboring classes were alienated by capitalism from the product of their labor, now they were also alienated by it from their entire lives, from their surroundings, and most importantly from each other. He posited that during early capitalism the process of alienation occurred only during the workday. Once the factory lights were out the worker could at least go home and engage in his or her communal life. Now, however, leisure time became completely monopolized by what he called “the spectacle,” a mode of life in which fetishization of commodities has “moved the focus of existence… from having to appearing.” If that sounds like Instagram to you, you are not wrong.

StyleZeitgeist Podcast: The Fashion Media Landscape And Its Discontents With Luke Meagher, Mario Abad, and José Criales-Unzueta

On this episode we speak with three young fashion media people – Luke Meagher of the YouTube and Instagram channel Haute Le Mode, Mario Abad, the fashion editor of Paper magazine, and Jose Criales-Unzueta, a regular contributor to I-D, Them and the Business of Fashion about the challenges they face and the problems they see with the current fashion media landscape.

Op-Ed: Fed Up With Fashion? Try This.

“The real issue is that in the fashion business, it’s almost against the law to tell the truth, and anyone who steps behind the silk curtain to show how raw the business is can expect a rough time. Designers go to grotesque lengths to exaggerate their concepts to the press. And the press is just as guilty when it swallows the bait and spews forth huge headlines. The self-importance of our profession is appalling.”

So wrote John Fairchild in his 1989 biography, Chic Savages (quoted in Teri Agins’s book, The End of Fashion). Fairchild being the publisher and editor-in-chief of the Women’s Wear Daily for decades, I see no reason not to believe him. Another reason not to believe him is that over the past ten years I have increasingly come to feel the same.