January 18, 2010

TESTing Fashion's Structure

Everything is getting more accessible these days, whether it’s fashion or celebrity. Now everything is within our reach, which is why consumers are becoming fascinated with the process. It’s something that was previously hidden away...I think what we’re seeing is a move towards a more inclusive and open fashion universe.- Jaime Perlman, Art Director of British Vogue
I read this interview with Jaime Perlman, who started her career at American Vogue, on The Business of Fashion today and was much inspired by her forward thinking and openness to embrace change. As someone who has worked her way up the ranks over the years, and now holds a position of influence, Jaime is not threatened by the changes in the field of fashion photography and publishing. Instead, she's embraced the challenge to fashion's "rigidly hierarchical environment" and created a online magazine, Test, where "people at all levels have a voice." What is amazing is Jaime's analysis of how these two things that she works on complements, rather than opposes, each other.

Another must read interview!

[Above, an image from Test.]

January 12, 2010

Everyone worth knowing...

I do like that about photography - it is that day, at that time and you’re never able to go back there again. The next day, you’ll be a day older.
I had no idea who Venetia Scott was when I interned at Marc Jacobs years ago when she would come into his 72 Spring Street studio days before the shows to help style the looks (I was so naive, I didn't even know that shows had to be styled by someone other than the designer!).

This really great interview at Ponystep not only covers Venetia's background and influence over the years, but also her views on a host of fascinating topics such as the peril of fashion magazines shooting "full looks" and the changes in her creative process over the years.
I find magazines less and less interesting - I don’t really buy magazines or look at magazines. I mean I’ve got a twelve year old and we were talking about it yesterday - she’ll go on the internet and probably look at something like your magazine more. She would not ever go to a newsagent and buy a magazine. And even here when we get sent ones that I’ve got work in, she’s not really interested in it. In a way I’m doing less editorial because it seems a bit tired now.

January 7, 2010

Counterfeits Etc

In WWD this week, there was an article about the research of an M.I.T. professor, Renee Richardson Gosline, on the issue of counterfeiting. Gosline, who actually used to be a Brand Management Associate at LVMH Moet Hennessey Louis Vuitton and has a PHD from Harvard Business School, found that a good percentage of consumers who buy counterfeit products eventually end up buying the real thing.

I find this research fascinating, because on the one hand this conclusion absolutely makes sense, since the people who are out there buying fakes are also the ones more likely to care about brand recognition and prestige. Therefore, if they find the counterfeit item to be poorly made or insufficiently authentic to others (or themselves), then it makes sense that they will later on splurge on the original.

On the other hand, I wonder whether it's actually financially so possible for so many people to actually PAY for whatever luxury items at the retail price. There is a big difference between a $15 Canal street purchase and a $1500 bag that comes inside its own logo'd cloth bag, inside a crisp logo'd shopping bag with the beautiful rope handles. Even if one came to the conclusion that buying counterfeit items fools no one and is unethical for a host of creative and economic reasons, that's a lot of money.

Furthermore, I have personally seen hundreds of shoppers buy and wear counterfeit items absolutely without irony or true awareness of the original, particularly while traveling in Southeast Asia. Having the counterfeit, in some ways, IS the status symbol in those cases...because at least it cost more to purchase than a plain (no logo) comparable. There is no pretense involved.

Above, a counterfeit and a genuine accessory paired together - a visual from my MA project. Below, a passage on authenticity and the reproduction from the same project, just as some food for thought...(all quotes from Walter Benjamin)

In principle, all artworks have “always been reproducible,” the important difference is that now they are mechanically rather than manually reproduced. Faster and more affordable to produce, a “technical reproduction can put the copy of the original into situations which would be out of reach for the original itself,” changing the way that one interacts with artwork. Ultimately, Benjamin believes that even a perfect reproduction of an artwork lacks what he describes as “its presence in time and space.” Accordingly, what “withers” is “the aura of the work of art,” or its authority.

Have you ever bought a counterfeit item? If yes, how do you feel about the purchase now?

January 4, 2010

Happy New Year!!

My style resolution this year? To try harder to show my taste off in a visually comprehensive package. It sounds really silly but I've always favored comfort over drama in the way I dress (I'm not a risk-taker like Susie Bubble or a frequent shopper like Jane Aldridge and while I appreciate design details and have a passion for beautiful construction and unusual silhouettes, it doesn't always show when I put it all together. (It doesn't help that I'm quite petite, limiting the amount of exaggeration I can tolerate on my frame...no dropped croch pants or clam diggers for example!) I would also love to add some more neutrals to my primarily black wardrobe.

What are some of yours?