The relationship between advertising (brand) and editorial (publication) in fashion has never been straightforward. As journalism scholar Lynda Davis argues ‘editorial is perhaps the most valuable form of media content because it is perceived to be unbiased and believable. Its ‘‘purity’’ (precisely because it is not advertising) derives from its aura of authority and neutrality.’ We examine the notion of editorial transparency, and how four different publishing platforms – The Business of Fashion, Nowness, Porter and The Talks – are dealing with the issue in relation to their respective funding models.
As publisher and director of Dazed Digital, Jefferson Hack oversees an editorial and media empire that now incorporates AnOther Magazine, Dazed Digital, AnOther Man, NOWNESS (funded by luxury conglomerate LVMH) as well as Dazed & Confused. On their website, Dazed Digital boasts global brands like Armani, Chanel, Nike, Swarovski and Dunhill as key clients. Given this, Dazed Digital is unequivocally embedded in the mainstream fashion system, making the political-sounding rhetoric and graphics of Hack’s latest offering We Can’t Do This Alone seem empty to say the least.
Many are those who today speak of the necessity of a ‘fashion revolution.’ Certainly there are some fundamental issues in the way fashion currently functions; the pressure on brands (high and low) to distribute garment collections at a faster pace, the question mark over the role of fashion weeks in the current climate (and the fashion show as the optimal model for displaying clothes), and the flux that the role of the ‘creative director’ of high fashion brands is currently undergoing – not to mention the ethical concerns that have dogged the industry for decades. In T Magazine’s ‘These Two Guys Are Changing How We Think About Fashion,’ Alexander Fury talks obliquely about rules that need to be broken, and implicates ‘the editors, the designers, the corporations’ as the manufacturers of these rules. But if the fashion system at large is at fault, what role does Fury and T Magazine (the editors) alongside Michele and Gvasalia (the designers) of Gucci and Balenciaga (the corporations) play?
A two-part collaborative project between the National Gallery of Victoria and Vestoj, we explore the often-unseen spaces of a gallery archive with photographer Adam Custins and writer Winnie Mitford. Following a selection of garments assembled by curator, Paola Di Trocchio, each unique with its own provenance, maker, wearer and cultural context.
This is the curious thing with garments from the very distant past: the more we speculate – bring them forwards with our clumsy words, tie together loose stitches and reverse the processes of time – the more they erase themselves, in silent defiance. We lose them in our own imperfect memories, whispers misheard, glimpses misread, illusions mistaken for the real.
Our relationship with dress and fashion – as individuals and as a cultural collective – is guided by the necessary rules and edicts that reinforce what we should, or more importantly, should not, wear. These form like the repeated lines of opposing graphics in a print or pattern that carefully divide one visual element from another, separating positive and negative values in space.
Dressing the body is an act of covering nakedness – the fashioned figure’s opposition. In this sense, nakedness is a blank canvas, with no signifiers of social and cultural context, and from which the process of concealing (and sometimes revealing) occurs.
From the exclusive realms of haute couture, to traditional systems of dress, there are processes that – although they sit as cultural polar opposites – share common themes. Cutting is a technique that creates form on the body; be it of the skin or fabric.
How we understand fashion is a collection of infinite possibilities, projected images and representations. At once enigmatic, desirable, glamorous, festive, authoritarian; dress is a multi-dimensional concept that might be described and observed a countless number of ways, from anthropological costume to the revered fashion image.