Monday, January 28, 2013

Why we don't support the arts.

Trying to generate funding for my dream project,, has made me confront in a more serious way something I've been just lightly talking about for the past year. It is an inescapable truth that US culture does not value the arts. There are actual funded efforts to defund government support for the arts which is alone conclusive evidence of our attitudes. There is one critical cause for our dismissive feelings towards the arts and towards those that try to make a living from their creative talents. Our nation does not know what value the arts has to our society. Put bluntly, we don't get, what we get from art. Let me make it clear to you, my fellow countrymen why you should in fact be giving every free dollar you can to art & artists.

To lay a foundation under my aim of persuasion let me start with the fact that people are born with extraordinary abilities to express themselves artistically. It happens constantly and is an undeniable truth. That truth alone is intriguing but when it is coupled by the reaction of those who are exposed to the creations of the gifted it begins to become urgently compelling. There is a practical reason for art. When people see a Van Gogh, hear Mozart, watch Shakespeare or read Neruda they become emotionally overwhelmed. They cry, they laugh, they become furious. More than that they feel that stirring that is so intense it manifests as physical. There is created a feeling of being impelled & empowered. You are gripped with a desire to, "do something". That is a spiritual reaction, and it is why we say, "I was moved". You are not the same after you are exposed to artistic brilliance. The creation and viewing of art makes human brains develop. It causes ideas to come into your mind that are superior to what you could think before you saw the art. Those who expose themselves to great art become more capable people. They make better decisions, are better at work, and are better in relationships with their fellows. In short, art is a mechanism of evolution. It allows us to take those non-logically based leaps that improve us as a species. Being exposed to creative brilliance will cause you to leap ahead of your competition. In this cash and symbol obsessed country of mine I say to you my fellow citizens that those that take time to support and see great art will generate ideas that allow them to make more money. We will become a more prosperous nation the more we invest in artists and their development. Now give me $25 dollars and let me get to work on your behalf

Seth Friedermann

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The critical function of couture

Our definitions of what fits into any positive artistic quality are not fixed. They evolve, grow, and more often than not are forced to expand by brilliant artists. This has become the role of the twice yearly couture shows in Paris. The designers who are selected to participate by the Chambre Syndicale de La Haute Couture Parisian are being given a grand stage to display what they are capable of when unconstrained by the demands of the marketplace. The opportunity exists for designers to create magnificent flights of fancy and imagination. I would argue that it is in fact absolutely imperative that they embrace that approach. Anyone who levels the charge, "that's ridiculous, who would ever wear that", at couture creations is revealing ignorance. Without bold experiment and fearless innovation fashion stagnates. If fashion is allowed to wallow in the low gutter of market forces alone culture will suffer. It is the agressive artist who pries open our concepts of beauty, glamour, and elegance, propelling us forward. When I see a couture show treated as a hackneyed tease for RTW it makes me anxious. You are supposed to be one of the finest minds in fashion. You were given unlimited budget and a magnificent heritage and that's what you came up with? Thank goodness for the many designers this season who were fearless and inventive. 

Alexis Mabille Spring Couture 2013

Iris Van Herpen Spring Couture 2013

Armani Prive Spring Couture 2013

Stephane Rolland Spring Couture 2013

Serkan Cura Spring Couture 2013

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The American fashion industry needs to be honest about what's happening to American designers

Say there is a rising powerhouse company in the world of video games, and said company had generated a lot of press and created years of astonishing products. They further had been selected for several major awards and had received great press about those awards. Now say they had more support, and attention on them then ever before and had a scheduled launch of highly anticipated new products. If that company failed to deliver those products, abandoned all of the support they had been given and completely withdrew from the public eye. Then finally they were replaced by a less lauded video game company. Don't you think the press that covers the video games industry would write about it? Question it? Don't you think it would be a bit of a scandal? 

Do a Google news for the designer Christian Cota. Now check WWD, the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal,,, and the Business Of Fashion. You will find zero mention of the fact that not only did Christian Cota not produce a Spring 2013 Collection but he actually shut down his website, left the supposedly sought after CFDA Incubator and was replaced by Johnathan Simkhai. Christian Cota is not just another rising American designer. Since his debut collection in 2007 he has won the FGI Rising Star Award for Women's RTW and was a Vogue Fashion Fund Finalist. Personally speaking I've found his designs to be among some of the most extraordinary works to come out of NYC in the last ten years. I'm very fond of Christian and we're friendly. I sent him an e-mail a few days ago to try to find out what's going on and see if I can help. So far he's not responded but if he does I promise I will amend this post to include anything he wishes me to share. 

In a way it doesn't matter because whatever is going on with Mr. Cota isn't the point. The point is that the media that covers the American fashion industry is a complete failure as a source of actual news. I can't for the life of me figure out why this is? It could be because people are afraid of getting snubbed by designers PR but if that's the case you're far to cowardly to be an actual reporter. Granted since I started working in fashion in 2005 I've seen very few examples of rigorous journalism. This is an industry wherein I know for a fact that one of the major writers at once copied the show notes for the first paragraph of her review and still not only has her job but a great reputation. The powerful unspoken truth here is that this calculated silence and lack of actual criticism isn't doing us any favors and is most certainly damaging the quality of work that is being produced by the less seasoned designers working today. The abdication of the role of serious critic by reviewers and reporters shows a complete lack of understanding of what the role of an art critic is. Our job is to push the artists to be their best. As the legendary Kenneth Tyanan once said, "A critic is a man who knows the way but can't drive the car. ..."At the moment no one is driving the vehicle that is American fashion. And those who were tasked with driving have gotten us hopelessly lost. 

Will we ever see his work again? Why don't we know?

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