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, Style.com, Vogue.com, 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 Style.com 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?

Follow this blog with bloglovin

Follow Design Matters

Total Pageviews