We would like to announce our collaboration with Vestoj – the Platform for Critical Thinking on Fashion. Through an ongoing exchange of articles about recent fashion developments we will aim to delve deeper into the state of fashion and the fashion media today. In our first exchange we share reactions to a major piece published in T-Magazine of the New York Times. Stay tuned for the response from Vestoj to the article below.
Feature and Op-Ed articles
Capturing the nineties moment as a young, skinny, intimidatingly cool, raw, isolated, and underground night rider, Robbie Snelders was in the right place at the right time. Some 20 years ago his life took a dramatic turn and landed him in the then-emerging menswear brand, Raf Simons. He represented then, and still does now, the essence of that era and everything that the brand stood for in its early days. Fashion being the mirror of the zeitgeist and of tendencies within society, Snelders’ style became a trademark for youth culture around the world.
Buying and selling designer clothing by collectors and fashion enthusiasts on the Internet is a longstanding practice. Fashion forums like Supefuture, Styleforum, and StyleZeitgeist, where these enthusiasts tend to congregate are invaluable assets for hunting down that long-coveted piece, called “the holy grail” in the forum parlance. The forums, however, are, first and foremost, places…
This past Paris fashion week the young label Vetements headed by Demna Gvasalia was the talk of the town, and their instantly recognizable logoed raincoats and sweatshirts were seemingly everywhere. They were mostly worn by the young, self-conscious, well-informed fashion insiders and were instant fodder for the street-style photographers, who themselves tend to be young, self-conscious, and well-informed.
So, I finally went to the Paris women’s fashion week (and liked it). I arrived fashionably late and missed a few shows that I would have loved to see, but I got to see a bunch. Everyone warned me that the women’s fashion week is more hectic than the men’s, but I did not find it so. If anything, it seemed more relaxed because spread over a longer period of time.
A little over two years ago Ann Demeulemeester announced her retirement from her signature label. After the initial shock subsided, the question of succession inevitably came up. That’s when Sebastian Meunier, a Parisian designer who has had a long tenure at Margiela before joining Ann Demeulemeester, stepped out of the shadows. Meunier spent two years at the label before Demeulemeester’s departure and has worked closely with her. But the big question remained; how could anyone fill the shoes of a designer whose style was so clear and who was so inextricably linked to her label? In other words, could there be Ann Demeulemeester without Ann Demeulemeester?
It’s no longer news that Instagram has become fashion’s most embraced Internet tool. It has created a myriad of self-made, self-promoting starlets, turbo-boosted the rise of street style photography, and has fashion executives biting their elbows trying to come up with ways to market and sell products on the app. But, perhaps most importantly, it has influenced fashion design itself.
These days the fashion press that still bothers writing about fashion is filled with two types of articles. It’s either opinion pieces decrying the broken fashion system, or news about individual designers taking change into their own hands.
Some of the woes befalling the fashion systems, according to the “broken fashion system” articles, is that the stores demand deliveries too soon and put them on sale too soon, and that the fast fashion system produces knockoffs at far cheaper prices and put them in stores before the real stuff hits the racks. Supposedly, the latter necessitates the former, but designers don’t like to be rushed, and the additional stress put on them is the other reason for the fashion system being broken. We have fall clothes filling the racks in the summer, and summer clothes in the winter. Everyone shops on sale.
This past men’s fashion week was marked by a sense of schizophrenia more than anything else. Half of the shows in Paris were held in opulent palatial spaces and the other half in basements stripped of everything but their concrete foundations. The reactions of critics and buyers were similarly split. The editors I spoke with mostly shrugged shoulders and talked of consistently lowering expectations, while buyers thought the season more than solid.
This year is drawing to a close and a lot has happened in fashion, most of it not so good. I am not talking about the departed: Raf Simons from Dior (good for him), Alexander Wang from Balenciaga (good riddance), and Alber Elbaz from Lanvin (good lord!). I am talking about the arrivistes: namely, Gucci under Alessandro Michele and Vetements under Demna Gvasalia. And not just about them, but about the reaction on the part of the fashion media to their work.