Opinion

The Antihero’s New Clothes

The Antihero’s New Clothes

Moral and sartorial dilemmas in UnREAL

While initially the difference in ‘UnREAL’ between those dressing for the part – the reality TV show contestants ­– and those who dress them for the part, the producers, is quite clear, as the series progresses the boundaries become more loose, and the characters’ ethical concerns – or lack thereof – are reflected in their fashion choices.

READ MORE

In Parts and Pieces

In Parts and Pieces

How women appear #mycalvins

Calvin Klein’s heritage as a brand that attempts to push the boundaries with controversial, sexually-explicit advertisements has seemingly made a return this season with a campaign that serves up a well-worn narrative of ‘men act, women appear.’ The agenda of the brand’s new Spring 2016 campaign is clear: the trope of woman-as-objects sells, particularly through the lens of the campaign’s gritty, filmic aesthetic. It might sound like something we’ve heard before, but the reaction to the campaign – which, amongst other images, sees model Kendall Jenner presented as a collection of Polaroid body parts – has been alarmingly docile, prompting us to reignite the discussion since it’s hard to believe so little has changed when it comes to the portrayal of women in mainstream fashion media.

READ MORE

‘The Revolution Will Be Branded Vetements’

‘The Revolution Will Be Branded Vetements’

Examining the reporting of the Vetements Phenomenon

The story is an old and familiar one: young, upstart outsiders take on a sedate and conventional system and turn it on its head in the name of authenticity, edginess and cool. Popular culture thrives on this narrative, and in the fashion industry this storyline is a well-worn one. ‘Real’ fashion is thrust, from the street, upon the unsuspecting bourgeoisie, and the bourgeoisie go potty for it.

READ MORE

I’M A VIRGIN (BUT THIS IS AN OLD SHIRT)

I’M A VIRGIN (BUT THIS IS AN OLD SHIRT)

Reflecting on the slogans and celebrities of L.A. retail chain Kitson

If the placement of an object within a museum’s archives is enough to make it a relic, the Juicy tracksuit is now ancient history; having been filed alongside the ‘real’ clothes at the V&A, California’s pinkest cover-up turns iconic. As much a part of history-for-her as the Wonderbra or the Pill, its immortality is assured. Less vaunted by far is its earliest, starriest stockist, the LA store Kitson, whose reputation is as the primordial soup-bowl of do-nothing fame, and whose seventeen American outlets were shuttered this January.

READ MORE

Gods and Kings

Gods and Kings

Dethroning the fashion designer as creative genius

There is a tendency, across fashion exhibitions and publishing, to portray the fashion designer as a creative genius. The ‘Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty’ exhibition at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum in 2015, for example, emphasised its demonstration of ‘the extraordinary talent of one of the most innovative designers of recent times.’ Such a depiction positions the designer outside the realities of the fashion system, as a uniquely autonomous figure of otherworldly measure: as god, or king. While this mode of representation may be customary, even habitual, it is deeply misrepresentative of the designer, and the contemporary fashion system in which their work resides.

READ MORE

Between Words

Between Words

On our expectations of fashion journalism

Filled with mentions of Renzo Rosso’s personal relationships with political and religious figures (the Dalai Lama and Shimon Peres are ‘proud to call Renzo as a friend’), sartorial anecdotes (Rosso’s home-made pair of bell-bottom jeans) and charity philanthropy (‘He helps people help themselves.’) Colin McDowell’s gushing recent profile of the OTB industrialist leaves the probing reader with the distinct feeling that the Business of Fashion article has a hidden agenda. But what is it?

READ MORE

Between Words

Between Words

On ‘The Maddening and Brilliant Karl Lagerfeld’

Historically, fashion has an uncomfortable relationship with critique: mainstream media coverage by newspapers and magazines often shy away from rigour and analysis on fashion’s output of events and collections. This is a dynamic that is constantly repeated in its discourse. References to other cultural disciplines, namely art and literature, are used to legitimise the domain of fashion, and suggest that it’s an industry that fails to measure up to a similar level of intellectual rigour.

READ MORE

The More You Subtract, The More You Add

The More You Subtract, The More You Add

On Disempowering Women Through Fashion Advertising

As far as I know, I was the first person to study the image of women in advertising. I started collecting ads in the late 1960s, tearing them out of magazines and putting them on my refrigerator with magnets. Gradually I began to see a pattern in the ads and to see certain themes emerging – such as the tyranny of the ideal image of beauty, the dismemberment and objectification of the female body, the obsession with thinness, and the normalisation of sexual assault and battering.

READ MORE

Fashion Writing: On Fighting the System

Fashion Writing: On Fighting the System

It’s an open secret in the industry that advertising brands dictate editorial content, sometimes explicitly, often tacitly. Stories of reporters being banned from shows after unfavourable reviews belong to fashion folklore, but accounts of PR people demanding final approval of articles, interviews being cut short after an uncomfortable question and designers bringing their own recording devices to interviews are surprisingly common.

READ MORE