What lesson are we to take from this evidence of profiteering from human servitude in the foundational years of Brooks Brothers? This is a question that other American institutions are being asked recently. Perhaps due to their nature as loci of inquiry and self-reflection, many universities have been on the forefront of exploring their connections to slavery and atoning for the ways in which they profited from the labour and sale of enslaved peoples. Brooks Brothers, and other for-profit entities, have not.
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.
‘The system is what it is and fashion can’t change that. Are you going to change the world with fashion? I don’t think so. Fashion is just a reflection of society at large. We live in a culture where poor people can dress up in nice things for cheap, and where rich people want to know that they’re the only ones to have what they have. That’s not new. Some people have yachts in the Caribbean; others have a shack to sleep in if they’re lucky. My point is that we need everything – ultimately it’s about balance.’
Adrian Joffe in the first part of a long narrative interview conducted by Anja Aronowsky Cronberg for Vestoj ‘On Failure.’