Thursday, May 24, 2012

New York: Making Things Happen

It shouldn't be a shock to anyone at this point that New York City is just one of those places where you're bound to see things you'll only see in a handful of cities in the world.

My many years in the fashion industry has exposed me to many possibilities of scenarios, so shock at this point is sadly, a bit rare. And yet....and yet.

While taking a respite for an espresso I became part of two waves converging, the popularity of cafes and the continued desire to "make it". Meet Marisa, a budding designer.
As I was also interested in catching up with e-mails I looked for a more secluded, quieter area. A second floor seemed ideal, and it was. As I turned the corner I immediately realized "fashion" was happening. After all, I'd seen it once or twice before.
I discovered a young lady "presenting" a series of garments to a woman and her assistant. I knew the woman wasn't a buyer as I have also seen a few of them in my time.

I followed intently with a grin on my face, witnessing what I soon came to understand what was a meeting between designer and her model maker.
Once the presentation was done I introduced myself. The young designer was packing the remaining garments after giving some to her model maker to take back to her workshop. She said her name was Marisa and I concluded of Eastern European origins. Pleasant but in a rush to her next appointment, who knows, perhaps to select trimmings, I thanked her and encouraged her on.

She left get working area spotlessly clean as she headed down the stairs while I contemplated how we all adapt on the way to "making it"...thank you Starbucks.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Fashion Star on NBC, Another Unreality Show

It's that time again where one more reality show I'll be asked about is about to premier. Fashion Star on NBC  will invade America's homes tonight as yet another "reality" show that is anything but real, but let's not get lost in the facts right away.

Wanna-be-designers will compete for the privilege of being selected to have one of their garments chosen by buyers from H&M, Saks Fifth Avenue and Macy's each week as explained in the shows preview.

As in any "reality" show there's nothing real about having one's life in from of lights and cameras, but then there are the particulars of the specific shows. One can't truly present the life and mindset of a survivor when that "survivor" has a safety net which is that he knows he doesn't risk starvation and death because the show's producers will always be there to ensure that doesn't happen.

As a disclaimer let me say that I have not seen the show, I am commenting based on what has been presented so far and my considerably vast knowledge of the fashion world having worked in it my entire working career. I would also like to make clear that at the moment the only thing I can say about the participants is that I understand their wanting to be part of this show as they will get a huge leg up on any of their counterparts in the real world.

So, what is so unreal about this show? Everything!

Starting designers do not get John Varvatos as a mentor. They do not get pattern makers, sewers, make-up artists and stylists at their beckon call. They do not get the opportunity to show their collections to the type of buyers they are talking about here, let alone being able to show any buyer a single item as they are doing on Fashion Star. You would never see these stores participating in any way were it not for the incredible amount of publicity they will receive and have already received by being part of the show. Like all other "reality" shows the amount of publicity received by the participant and/or product would be utterly unaffordable and so good, bad or indifferent they are automatically elevated superficially.

So, what is real? The viewer's insatiable desire to be a voyeur, to be a spectator to a car crash, that is real. There will be real people in unreal situations with plenty of drama generated by drama queens and expert editors that will keep you glued to the TV. There will be enormous desire to want to suspend disbelief to the point of even criticizing me for showering you with the truth because reality is a harder pill to swallow. And because we have gotten to the point where as a society we know not about much of the topics to make our own educated determination as to what is or isn't reality.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Emperor And The Designer Have No Clothes.

I'm ready, go ahead and tell me that I just don't get it. but before you do hear me out.

The Fashion industry and the world at large is certainly ever evolving as it should be, we apply words to objects, concepts, entities and so on. We use words so that we can understand each other when we communicate. If we were to use the word "car" we know that we're talking about an automobile, we understand that two cars may look different from one another but we still know they are cars. We wouldn't and shouldn't call something that isn't a car a "car". If and when a car evolves into something beyond what our original definition stands for it should be called something else that more appropriately reflects it. If you invite me to go see a movie, I don't expect to see a play.

You get that? Good!

So, with this in mind I believe that we should re-evaluate Fashion Shows, break them down to no less than two categories and perhaps more and appropriately named them as to appropriately depict the difference between them.

Certainly we can agree that there's fashion shows that exhibit clothes that will actually be produced and sold in clothing stores and then there's fashion shows that exhibit conceptual clothing that look more like costumes in a theatrical production and that at best will only be sold in considerably modified versions of the original.

Here are some examples of what I'm talking about using two Fall 2012 Collections, Thom Browne (top two) and Giorgio Armani (bottom two). Strictly concentrating on the clothing (hair and make-up aside),

it's obvious to see which designer designed for theatrical effect and which one designed with practical salability in mind. I'm not criticizing, I am making what I believe is a valid point.

These are not quirky outfits in the collections, these are very representative of what the collections are.
 I get the role of both, I just don't think they should be labeled in the same manner. After all,  you wouldn't want to be served meatloaf if you ordered a cheeseburger would you?