Role of the Designer

Discussion in 'Fashion... In Depth' started by Fulton St Critique, Nov 25, 2020.

  1. Fulton St Critique

    Fulton St Critique Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2020
    Messages:
    52
    Likes Received:
    100
    I was watching a short documentary today on the future of fashion titled "Where the future of fashion is headed". In this 50 minute video the topics of sustainability, technological advances, craft, and "fast fashion" were discussed in great detail. Midway through the film the writer and associate professor at Parsons Otto Von Busch provide his interpretation of the current fashion system and how it relates to excess and self-deprecation of the individual. Von Buch spoke on the consumer's relationship to fashion in today's climate stating, "We need to find more wholesome ways of being with clothes and we need to make people feel that they don't necessarily need to buy it as fast food." He goes on, "Look at the role of the designer. I am dependant on you feeling bad about yourself. I need to continuously undermine your self-esteem that you are not good enough so you need to come to me to buy my clothes to feel good about yourself..." (Source: VPOR documentary Where is the future of fashion headed).

    I find this view of the designer extremely condescending and dismissive. While there have been countless claims of advertisers selling products based on forcing the customer to view themselves in a way that is subpar, I was puzzled how this related to the construction and design of products. I see "high" fashion as a place laden with problems, yet, also as a magnificent escape into a world greater than oneself characterized by beauty, wonder, and sophistication. For example, when I buy a pair of Prada trousers, it is not because I hate myself or need to prove anything to anybody, but instead because I love the materials, the creative director, and the storied quality behind the brand. I know it will last, fit, and look sharp. Otto's comments were directed to the industry at large. His dismissive tone on the "fast fashion" brands of the world (H&M, Zara, etc.) definitely carries some merit in the sense that their cheap prices undermine the quality of the clothing and make the goods more commercially available. Despite my being in agreement with this point, I do not believe it is possible to hold designers in a negative light based on the nature of the business. Selling a well made, quality item or product is not meant to damage one's ego or slight their view of themselves.

    I know I am one person in a world of 7 billion people, but his comments have been stuck in my head all day and I wanted to share this with the forum and read your thoughts. If I am totally off, please let me know and help me improve my thought process behind the current role of the designer.
     
    dior_couture1245 and Phuel like this.
  2. Phuel

    Phuel Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2010
    Messages:
    3,694
    Likes Received:
    2,078
    Interesting.

    I’m not mad that Otto’s perspective is so broad, cynical and the equivalent of designing for shoppers at any homogenized, corporate brand hustled at any given mall/outlet. it’s the state of fashion and its industry at the moment. From luxury brands to hype beast streetwear, the obnoxious influx of logos/monograms on every basic item at exuberant prices is exactly as he stated: A brand is your identity because you have no identity.

    It’s a whole generation of clout-chasing influencers who are quickly capitalizing on their 15min of fame before they’re immediately replaced by the next gimmick: Tomo Koizumi. Christopher James Rogers. Matthew Williams all come to mind. 10 years ago, these 3 would have been laughed out of the industry with their very basic skills and juvenile designs. But in 2020, they’re the ones leading. I was looking at new releases for designer books— and still desperately wishing Meisel had secretly released his tome without any fanfare. And not surprising, Virgil already has a few books out, and Tyler already has his out. These relatively newcomers are pushing all their merchandise asap— while a Master like Meisel hasn’t even released a book, and a visionary like Gaultier has only released one book in his 40+ years influencing fashion and design.

    It’s very telling that high fashion has stopped to fast-fashion in this era. Otto’s not exaggerating sadly.
     
  3. Fulton St Critique

    Fulton St Critique Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2020
    Messages:
    52
    Likes Received:
    100
    Thank you, Phuel.

    I am in 100% agreement with your take on the influx of cheap, mundane, and inauthentic merchandise flooding the market at the moment. If you ever want a good laugh, read Vogue's or WWD's review of the latest Givenchy collection or that of Rogers. The lengths these journalists go to prop these "creatives" up and establish them some level of credibility is truly humorous.

    My thought process behind his take on the industry was how he discounted the true fashion fanatics and lovers of the craft who have a passion for clothing and design. I think of designers such as Peter Do or Isabel Benenato who, while relatively small, have established themselves through an original identity that continuously shows in their work. Having now come off of one of the weakest fashion months in recent memory, pouring into brands or labels that truly stand behind and appreciate the design process is of most importance.

    I find myself scrolling through Tumblr at night wishing we could be back in the 1980s or 1990's when designers such as Miuccia, Azzedine, and Calvin showed focused, disciplined work. Some of the pieces I come across are truly breathtaking. I think of the Comme Des Garcons Fall 1992 collection often and am still in awe every time I pull it up on Youtube. These people understood and APPRECIATED fashion in a way that is hardly seen today. Instead, we get distracted by how many followers a brand's Instagram has or how many Tik Tok views they receive. Maybe the wild growth the industry has had has come at a cost that is so high it detracts from the origins of the process.
     
    modela, aracic and Phuel like this.
  4. Phuel

    Phuel Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2010
    Messages:
    3,694
    Likes Received:
    2,078
    Frankly, it’s not just Otto and Parsons that’s discounting the devotees of design. All of them-- from once strong design innovators, to visionary fashion bibles, to the conglomerates that once push for inventive individuals, are all now pandering to the commoners.

    I don’t agree with Otto’s pandering of course, but I get it. He and Parsons— and the critics, are just trying to survive and keep their jobs, so being critical of the hand that feeds you isn’t a wise move. There have always been trendy kidz that go to a prestigious school for the clout and for the networking without learning much. it’s no different than Ivy League fraternities/sororities that exists for members to network nd maintain the status quo: How many of these privileged students are there solely for higher learning? The faculty at Parsons is after the trendy kidz who pine for fame and fortune since there are more of them than the ones who are committed to the craft and passion of design. It’s no different then the comic industry that was once very subculture: its devotees generally frowned upon by pop culture as pathetically in a state of arrested development manchilds… until the explosion of those awful Marvel cinematic universe movies that became a pop culture phenomenon and made nerd culture mainstream. And with mass acceptance, even the comics have been dumbed down and pandering to the trendy causes of the time: Now comic storylines and characters are proSJ and proSJW LOL This direction caused a huge backlash amongst the diehard comic community because comics— much like the strongest and best of high fashion, is an escape and an alternative to the real world, not a literal and depressing reflection of it. And the comic conglomerates, mostly DC and Marvel, didn’t care about their loyal customers that supported them from the very beginning. Instead, they wanted to expend, attract a new mass demographic by pandering to them with the trendy causes of the time. Sounds familiar to what’s what’s happening in fashion, no…?

    Otto and the likes of him have to aggressively adapt to this dreadful fashionscape where imagery and design has become so quickly disposable and cheap-- and sadly, secondary… to a gimmick/cause. They need to sell the role of the designer to a generation that’s growing up with Insta/TickTock/Youtube experienced on an iPhone. It’s cheap mob rule.There’s no longer the time and investment to cultivate, nurture and develop new talent into creative visionaries anymore— let alone educate a new generation to invest in craftsmanship, artisanal discipline and the time-consuming sacrifice of experimentation in fabrication and construction. Kidz don’t have the attention-span for this.

    And despite what they hype, this is not a revolution. It's just mob rule. These are the shallowest, most superficial, most banal times fashion despite the industry attempting to say otherwise. I find it phonier and more fake than ever: Designers that get the attention have become (business) wolves in (everyman’s) sheep’s clothing, comes to mind. And this is even before we get into the socio-political reasons why the industry has become so dire and basic LOL
     
  5. jeanclaude

    jeanclaude Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2012
    Messages:
    1,425
    Likes Received:
    2,198
    The role of fashion designers nowadays is being ignored and tossed away.

    Because no matter what you create, all that people is going to care about is what celebrity is going to wear it.
    They don´t care if the item has a concept behind it, as long as they can flaunt the fact that they are wearing exactly the same as their beloved celebrity.

    Customers behave like acolytes from a sect, where celebrities are their gods (and marketing their sacred scriptures).

    This is the democratization of fashion: "Eat s.h.i.t! One million flies cannot be wrong!"
     
  6. Fulton St Critique

    Fulton St Critique Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2020
    Messages:
    52
    Likes Received:
    100
    JeanCalude, Happy holidays I hope all is well!

    Well of course. I was in Nieman Marcus this afternoon and I could not believe the amount of clothing that was just hung on the racks, lifeless. The sheer amount of garments that we produce is unimaginative. Rows and rows and rows of utter nonsense. However, when walking past the Prada or Balenciaga store, with the limited amount of ready to wear pieces they offered, I noticed no one would touch these pieces. They were much, much more interested in accessories ridden with logos. In fact, the only store that seemed to draw in a slight audience was D&G! Shocking, isn't it! I must say though, with the amount of consumerism that dominates our current world, the fact of the matter is that as long as one can save up enough cash to buy a Gucci fanny-pack, or some other "hot" accessory, what is the point of purchasing a knit piece or pair of trousers? Especially with the minimal amount of effort going into the design process, frankly, do you blame them? It is interesting to see how the actual fashion industry works in a real-world setting (Being in quarantine means I have not been out much in the past 9 months). I lost count of the amount of Golden Goose sneakers I saw or how many Louis tote's were slung around the shoulder. I almost laughed when I saw a woman with a Moncler jacket, Balmain T-shirt, and chunky Gucci boots that of course featured the double-G logo near the tongue of the shoe. I am not a judgemental person typically, but it was in such poor taste.

    My point being, who out there in our current environment is dedicating to reviving fashion? Natacha being the latest designer ushered out for poor financial results ( I am assuming) proves further how faceless this industry has become. As fashion continues to grow, my view and scope shrink considerably. I will always watch with a hopeful eye for the new and exciting, yet I believe there are only a few creators willing to take on the task of reviving the twisted system.
     
    YohjiAddict, aracic, donyan and 2 others like this.
  7. jeanclaude

    jeanclaude Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2012
    Messages:
    1,425
    Likes Received:
    2,198
    Thank you Fulton! I hope you are ok too; and happy holidays!! :lucky::santa:

    I think the industry wants fashion to be kept in this "zombie" state, because this way (and as long as it works) they can make easy money with zero effort.

    They don´t need to innovate, to investigate; and to experiment (all risky things from a financial point of view). All they have to do is launch remakes of archival pieces.

    And if you look at the film industry you can also see they are making exactly the same (remakes and more remakes).
    It seems laziness is in the air...

    Add to all this the fact that your average fashion customer is brain-dead, buys by impulse only; and is only interested in easily recognizable status symbol items...and here we have the state of fashion industry near 2021!
     
  8. Phuel

    Phuel Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2010
    Messages:
    3,694
    Likes Received:
    2,078
    ^^^ I wouldn’t put the blame directly on the customer. Even during better eras, shallow types that only invest in instant-status logo/monogramed adorned basics always existed. They always have and always will: That’s what the diffusion and accessories lines were for. And in general, the cheaper basics sold well and were a stable profit for brands. It’s unfortunate that these days, the industry is being controlled by people that come from that diffusion line/mass-market/consumer-oriented background, with the sole interest in maximizing profit by pushing the basics front and centre. Thus the basics of the diffusion line are now the mainline— complete with the ridiculously expensive price. I always wondered WTF would pay mainline price to wear a Burberry duffle coat that has the brand name plastered on it like a roadside signage???

    From experience on the marketing/branding end, people like myself who’s creative skills were once valued are pushed out, unwelcomed by these mass-marketing/consumer-oriented types that have daomainted teh managing.lead roles and only want to surround themselves with similar people. They’re only interested in the latest marketing strategies to optimize brand profile and maximize brand profits at any cost. It’s a short-term trajectory of slash and burn, always rebranding to suit the latest SM chase of always pleasing these “braindead” consumers. These environments are an absolute contradiction of “inclusivity and diversity”. If you’re a senior creative working in the industry, you know exactly what I mean when I say that it’s as if the bankers and the share traders have taken over fashion.

    If it’s any consolation, these basic, banal, boring days will pass— as is the nature of the fashion cycle. People can claim all the want that they’ve revolutionized the industry with whatever wokeness and reckoning they believe they’ve fought against and won. But truth is, the industry will move on from one gimmick to the next new one. And it’s the next new one is usually the result of the reaction against the current status quo: So… true creative and visionary talent will triumph over the gimmicky, shallow and hollow PC ones; designers that champion craft and skills over ones that chase clout and money; photographers that have rich, worldbuilding and dreamweaving stories to tell rather than ones that are only relying on their one-trick representation; and creatives that aren’t afraid to provoke, offend and challenge… and all done to the highest of standards. All this will return... eventually.
     
  9. GERGIN

    GERGIN Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2010
    Messages:
    3,135
    Likes Received:
    1,290
    I hope you're right :lucky:
     
    aracic and Phuel like this.
  10. Fulton St Critique

    Fulton St Critique Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2020
    Messages:
    52
    Likes Received:
    100
    I must admit, I have purchased a few diffusion-line products from the likes of Marc Jacobs, Comme Des Garcons, and Jil Sander, so in that case, I cannot hold that against the fashion types on a budget, lol. Of course the uber-famous accessories and successful diffusion lines help prop up the larger brands and create a strong source of revenue for houses which enable them to create and fund ready to wear lines. I guess my only dilemma with that is that these company's create these products that then represent to brand entirely, almost as a way to pick up for the slack of the creative director. I was scanning over Gucci's financials from 2019 when I noticed that only 13% of the company's sales were generated through RTW. Now, for a label that generates $9 billion in sales per year, that figure is telling. The remaining monies pour in from hand bags, footwear, and fragrance which is all well and good, but what does that say for Michele and his cast? Either way, I love the last paragraph of your post. History repeats itself, in time, the industry will turn around and new creatives will emerge. Fake and vacant minds will disperse and light will come from truth and beauty.
     
    Phuel and jeanclaude like this.
  11. jeanclaude

    jeanclaude Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2012
    Messages:
    1,425
    Likes Received:
    2,198
    Yes, that´s true! But I think the main difference now is that the fashion system is targeting these brainless customers more than ever.

    And the industry is even trying to "hatch" and mold them from the very beginning, when they are young and easily impressed, to try to force them the fake idea that this is what fashion is all about. This way they can make money easily, with zero efforts and risks.
    In the 90s it was odd to think about luxury brands trying to lure teenagers, the way they are doing it these days.
     
  12. bc collector

    bc collector Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2006
    Messages:
    285
    Likes Received:
    605
    Really? Which designers did he have in mind, exactly? I'd like to know...
    I have heard something along these lines quite often lately and I always wonder who they have in mind, other than some old school caricature of queeny, vicious couturiers shouting at their clients...

    The real innovators, in my view, have always been very respectful of their customers: YSL, Armani, Elbaz (and so on), however different from a stylistic point of view, were always deeply aware that the destiny of a piece of clothing is to be worn and make the person who wears it feel more confident: which does not necessarily mean that they are desrespecting said person's self-esteem or undermining it. The thing is, when you have THAT talent, a dialogue is established between you and your clientele - it doesn't matter if they are 10 or 10.000 people - and dialogue aways means mutual respect.
    The problem, as has been stated above and in other threads, is that today fashion is obsessively profit-driven and marketing-led and the audience has become too broad and generic: what dialogue can there ever be when you want to address everybody and nobody in particular?

    Also, if we want to be honest, fashion has always played the aspirational card, especially from the 80s onward (just think how the licensing business boomed at the time), and it's always chased the insecure logo-maniacs of the world to rustle up easy bucks and secure a nice bottom line. But at the same time it made sure that designers were free to experiment and create new concepts at the top of the pyramid.
    Now that is no more. There is no top of the pyramid and everything is watered down to the level of taste of a semi-literate 12 yo.
     
  13. Phuel

    Phuel Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2010
    Messages:
    3,694
    Likes Received:
    2,078
    ^^^ The big houses no longer care about investing/nurturing/worldbuilding the individual POV from a designer to inspire the customers, and rather go for instant clout and prestige of their brand with a hypebeast-mentality of tribalism that brings everything down to the level of the masses. I believe that’s what Otto may be referring to in general when he speaks of a “designer” who’s become a ringleader. The rise and rise of hypebeast attitude that simply wearing disposable logos/monograms is more important than the actual investment in design of clothing, sadly is in the proof of Otto’s statement these days. Look at the successful hype of Fear Of God: Their pricepoint jumped by an increase of at least 100% after just one year of their success. There’s no reason why their basic design with the most basic fabrications/constructions jumped from streetwear pricepoint to high-end pricepoint in just a year, other than they knew they could get away with it because their young, very impressionable, uneducated customer will pay to wear their label.

    It’s this design-by-committee mentality, where the image of a designer is just the mascot of a brand. Look at how Kim Jones has been pushed by his handlers to be the image for Dior— and soon for Fendi: The man is simply not charismatic. He lost weight and dresses like some Return of the Mac 90s-throwback to appeal the hypebeasts. Or Maria Grazia and her feminism-lite 101 that’s the mentality of casual SJW. And both just churn out basic designs that are indistinguishable from the general high-end department store in-house label. And factor in the latest issue of American Vogue, where the coverline is “By The People, For The People. The United States Of Fashion.” So high fashion is FUBU now???? WTF… This era is seeped deep in pandering, commerce and accessibility to the masses; traits that are anything but about the individual’s POV. This sort of pandering to the masses creeps me now that it’s infiltrated the realm of HF (more offensive since it’s blatantly for profits) since it’s that brand of propaganda that Communist China/Russia/Cuba would plague their population at the start of their reign of Totalitarianism— eventually, systemically eradicating any signs of individuality and creativity. (Which enforces the likes of Haider, Olivier Theyskens and Yohji as the few talents that remain true to their own creative visions in these extremely commercial and consumer-pandering days. I’d include Tom Ford since his brand of design is much more in line with my dress sensibility. Cherish them— cuz it’ll be a while before the next era comes around LOL)
     
  14. Fulton St Critique

    Fulton St Critique Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2020
    Messages:
    52
    Likes Received:
    100
    "I have heard something along these lines quite often lately and I always wonder who they have in mind, other than some old school caricature of queeny, vicious couturiers shouting at their clients..."

    That was my original thesis or thought on his point of view. His idea was clear, but does this not carry across most consumer driver markets? From cars to real estate, even something so simple as a smart phone, one can always make the point that the average consumer purchases out of a need to fill some void wrought with insecurity, uneasiness, and envy. But, in my opinion, that is only one side of the coin. If we were to focus on Balenciaga for a minute, it is simple to glance at the last collection and understand how pointless and unenthusiastic the design processes behind the ensemble was. You do not need a degree in fashion history to connect the mundane references from Demna's Vetements to his Fall 2021 collection for Balenciaga. But that is only one brand out of hundreds or even thousands across the globe. Through time-consuming research and an innate interest in seeking our quality, time-worthy talent, finding the REAL, EMOTIONAL, and PASSIONATE creatives is as easy as spending a weekend or two compiling lists of creative directors that are worth-while. Shying away from hype and noise helped me understand there is so much more out there that no one talks about. I have enjoyed scrolling through Toyko Fashion Weeks as of late to rekindle my love of the industry and thanks to some brands that are barely covered I have found a balance and excitement that translates into anticipation once again, something that I cannot say I feel when waiting upon the next Dior flop, I am sorry I meant "Show".
     
    JohannesL and bc collector like this.
  15. fakeawake

    fakeawake Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2020
    Messages:
    79
    Likes Received:
    123
    Nobody lives a luxurious life these days. People buy designer goodies and think they’re Angelina Jolie.
     
  16. fakeawake

    fakeawake Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2020
    Messages:
    79
    Likes Received:
    123
    I think we are on the precipice of a 2nd Renaissance. Soon Alotta Fagina won’t be able to get a job cobbling together scraps of Nike.
     
  17. fakeawake

    fakeawake Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2020
    Messages:
    79
    Likes Received:
    123
    Lol parsons ? Who cares what this guy thinks. He’s a nobody. If he was a somebody he’d be Karl.


    Soon you’ll realize all these teachers are just bitter revenge of the nerds style weirdos. Of all walks - all educators are just failures. Sorry. You can’t tel me Otto wouldn’t want to be at the helm of Dior or Chanel. He only hs these opinions because he’s like a child who didn’t get the toy he wanted.


    Thank god I never went to fashion school. And I’ve always thought people at parsons were hacks. I mean didn’t they produce MJ?


    Fashion school is a joke and always has been. Who needs to be taught how to draw? Hellen Keller??? If these students really cared about fashion they’d learn at home just like Gaultier and Karl did. None of the people any fashion school has produced created anything of consequence.

    I’m including John and Alex in this bc at the end of the day they’re basically the same. Remixed Edwardian costume-lite. Because they went to central st martins. Like the amount of McQueen and galliano that resembles each other is not a good thing. I think the same season they both did backwards tuxedo blazers. Alex as a suit and John as a dress. Uh. That’s bc they went to fashion school. Karl has never done a backwards tuxedo dress bc it’s banal and he knows it. He doesn’t need a long line of tripe about how it’s the reversal of the male ideal or whatever crap these people invent to explain why their clothes just aren’t good. I love John and Alex but I see their drawbacks - which are big.

    I’ve always thought their struggles as designers come from their college education. Non college educated designers don’t have meltdowns.
     
    #17 fakeawake, Jan 11, 2021 at 7:35 PM
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2021 at 7:44 PM
  18. Phuel

    Phuel Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2010
    Messages:
    3,694
    Likes Received:
    2,078
    LOL If the only acceptable standard is someone like Gaultier, then the industry may as well pack it in cuz there will never be anyone close to his level of design ingenuity and creative vision— at least not in this lifetime-- and definitely not to be found in the new generation of kidz weened on the mediocrity of Virgil/Maria Grazia/Alessandro.

    So let's lower the standards a tad. Even those "hacks" Marc/McQueen/Galliano are acceptable...
     
    fakeawake likes this.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice
monitoring_string = "058526dd2635cb6818386bfd373b82a4"