Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The State of Fashion

The mixed reactions that are seeping in on the social media circuit, following SA Fashion Week, left me gobsmacked AND they're well worth following. People complaining about minute detail and some congratulating on pulling off what was meant to be a disaster and and and... It's all very overwhelming to me - as I did not attend any of the shows; had to tend to friend-duties, death is never fun! - and I obviously try to keep abreast of the happenings, even in my absence.

Leading the pack is Sandiso Ngubane and a Facebook status by A-rated stylist Felipe Mazibuko which read "[he] is so tired of all the bitching about SA fashion week.. if you gonna bitch , start your own fashionweek or create your own fashion label... lets see how great you are" which was followed by a comment he made which read: "[I am] so livid with the fake instant wannabe fashion critics... have substance and historical knowledge of the local industry... FashionTv and Colourful Skinnies dont entitle you to vast criticism."

It started off with what a friend described as an excellent fashion week package: a small conference-setup where designers, fashion writers and buyers would meet and interact - this will facilitate in the growth of the designer's business AND increase the profiles of all involved. An excellent idea! This is the crux of fashion week! Not just the glitz and glam of walking down a ramp and being idolised and making a designer a celebrity - it's about business!

The venue was set up, key role players were invited and noise-makers were allowed to witness the art that was to be presented.

The big issue, as Sandiso (alias: Blkseed) points out, is that SA fashion week's focus has shifted or more specifically, the fashion writers worshipping designers to a very disturbing level, even going as far as fibbing to generate interest! The currency has become bribery over displaying art; the finishing, the talent, the creativity, the workmanship, the practicality (or what could be translated to being practical) and above all else - communicating your view of the cloth that covers our backs! Editors and Writers behaving like celebrities, loosing their unbiased and objective opinion over an (expensive) gift that, no doubt, covers their eyes to the reality of what is on the runway. Young designers' opinions and talents being muted because their businesses cannot afford to lubricate the right hands. So where do they run to?

He asks; Does Fashion Journalism really exist? A question that reversed all effort of pretoxing as my eyebrows hit my hairline! The resolution he offers, which is also my stance on the matter; is that fashion writers need to erase all efforts of creating "demigods" out of fashion designers and be responsible in reporting what was seen and what we should look forward to that season; the RAW TRUTH.

On the issue of "wannabe critics," I wholeheartedly agree but stop at the point where the general public are not to have a loaded opinion on the trends that will make their way to the the consumer's (general public) wardrobe. Ultimately, the consumers are the ones who are expected to buy into these brands (otherwise the "South Africans do not support South African brands" argument will resurface) and it is unfair to suggest that their opinion should be meek and ignored. Consumer's may be represented by the buyers but the buyers need to know what the consumers want or expect to find in the shops - otherwise buyers are doing consumer's a disservice. I am not completely antagonising the views presented by Felipe - I just rather feel he's being harsh on a subject which is rather sensitive.

I personally acknowledge the work that goes into creating a collection - but in the end, the garments presented on the ramp will measure the success of a designer (for that season atleast) - Knowledge of the industry and the technical know-how are important as this elevates the appreciation of the fashion industry but this, in no way, should dictate the response to what is on the ramp. To the consumer; the uninformed person who has to buy the work , the aesthetics are all that matter (perhaps they should be the ones telling the story?)

Fashion is unforgiving! The industry is for the thick-skinned and bless all those who put their concept of art on the ramp - - - I salute you!

No comments: