“Fashion critics have morphed into marketing journalists” by Liroy Choufan

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I’ve read this interesting Op-Ed by Liroy Choufan, a consultant and reporter based in Israel. The idea that the columnist develops is that the democratization of fashion (affordable clothes, less elites and more affordability etc.) would automatically lead to a decrease in creativity and production.

Liroy Choufan particularly targets “fashion journalists” that she now considers as marketing journalists, simply diffusing press releases prepared by PR agency, talking about market and business, more than creativity, talent, and production.

What’s even more interesting in her paper is that she tackles the fake speeches on freedom & rights, that are promoted by main brands today.

“Either way, even if it serves to promote romantic ideas, there is nothing democratic about H&M’s capsule collection, or about fashion as a whole, which itself has nothing to do with democratic rights (or human rights, if you favour a pathos-filled version). In fact, the mere combination of the two terms is degrading to both”.

There are really good reasons to agree with this brilliant essay:

  • there are extremely few real “fashion critics” in the fashion corner: a lot of the people who write fashion articles are just…interns, maybe with an interest in fashion, but with a very little culture about it. Most of them wanted to be into politics or international affairs, not in a press-room, interviewing a Korean designer that they don’t know. I don’t mean that what they do is crap: I just think that, except in few magazines and online publications, the human resources are here to produce news in order to generate traffic, not to develop a qualitative approach
  • key players like H&M trust the media attention with capsule collections; it’s probably cool to provide a wider access to the consumer to a certain idea of fashion. But for the Martin Margiela collection, I was very surprized in-store: you don’t have that much explanations about MM; you don’t have archives, history, deeper explanations. If you’re really curious, you had to spend a huge amount of time browsing online why these items were picked. Whereas in a democracy, you need to “teach” the citizens on why a topic matters more than another one, it’s not – yet – the case in the business of fashion. Missed opportunity!

In the meantime, I also tend to challenge few of her ideas:

  • democracy is about the structure (government, associations, laws etc.) but mostly about the people. To a certain extent, the fashion scene has never been that opened. And to a certain extent – again – there’s a growing maturity of fashion bloggers, designers, when it comes to telling great stories; some of them are – indeed – rooted in a certain idea of democracy, and it works. On demand collections; sustainable development materials; promotion of a know-how. It’s still very young, but signals are reinsuring
  • what if fashion critics were no longer made to be internalized within traditional magazines and publications? A lot of good columnists are freelancers, slashers, part-time writers. I guess that this pervasive “loop” can suit up fashion criticism and analysis

And you? What do you think?

 

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