Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Why those with nothing to lose still won't risk it all.

New York Fashion Week started yesterday and continues through the 14th of February. The current layout of the fashion industry is to begin with the public unveiling of seasonal collections presented roughly six months prior to retail shipment. Those presentations are followed by exhibitions to buyers and then lastly to press. All of this occurs over a roughly a two month span. The current layout is hardly current as it began in 1943. Seventy years is a long time and yet the fashion industry has reacted to the massive changes that have occurred in our times like a traumatized rescue pet first set loose in it's new home. We spend most of our time hiding under the bed and "researching" with our senses without actually risking any harm to ourselves. The rise of celebrity designers followed by the influx & influence of corporate money that began to flow into fashion in the late 1980s has created a very entrenched and rigid culture. The seasonal system defined above is a symptom. Even if it increasingly no longer makes sense to do it this way the industry continues to use it because it works just fine for those in power. Fashion is a game and there is one set of rules play by them or lose. 

Except that the internet has now offered those on the outside a brand new way to play. In my time in fashion I have seen extraordinarily talented designers who also had great work ethic either fail or barely survive because they were not connected to those in power or didn't have access to enough money to get their attention. They want to make their art not go to parties and kiss ass. They understand precisely what the price of that approach is and they pay it, not cheerfully but they'd rather not be fake. There's an amazing amount of young fashion talent in NYC right now and most of them are struggling along. I know many if not all of them. We chat often, I visit their studios and recently I've been trying to get them to listen to me regarding what's possible for them via the internet. If you've read my last few posts or talked to me you know that I'm convinced that a huge wave of change is headed our way. There will soon rise a few internet made fashion designer brands that are making very, very good money. Any if not all of these struggling designers I spoke of can become those stars. But they keep trying to bash their way into the old system. A system in which they are clearly not welcome. Why?

The answer most likely is twofold; first, is that it doesn't fit into the dreams they've had in their head since they were young. It's hard to shake those early pillars upon which we base our dreams. Secondly, is it's what the whole industry conditions them to believe. Young people lack the conviction that comes with context based on experience. They have yet to have that stunning moment when they realize that what they've accepted as true is bullshit. So what is the solution? Ironically enough it is for those that see what I do to keep doing the same thing we've been doing. If we trail blaze, if we help create those first examples of success the rest will take care of itself. If you make your living supporting creative people chances are that you love them. Though they may drive you batty on a daily basis and break your heart, yet you still believe in them and want success for them. You can no more stop that than they can stop creating. Please believe me when I say we are on the absolute edge of a massive change in the world of art & design. Devote yourself to understanding the coming changes, try to convince those you support of the new way forward that is unfolding. The readiness, the readiness is all...

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