The world of fashion was shook with shock when it found out that well-known creative director, Raf Simmons, signed a deal with Calvin Klein that pays $18 million annually.
2015 seems to be the year that the fashion world completely fell apart. Alber Elbaz left Lanvin, Raf left Dior, NYFW is set to challenge the whole seasonal system, adopting a ‘show now, buy now, wear now’ mantra. Like all art forms, fashion is made of masterpieces with ripped edges, but lately, the world of fashion seems ripped apart and completely out of order. ‘Fast Fashion’ is no longer a niche, rather an entire storm that has shaken the industry to a halt. Zara’s annual turnover was £13.2 billion in 2014; H&M’s clocked in at £13.5 billion; by contrast, Louis Vuitton’s was £6.7 billion.
It truly isn’t about the art form much at all anymore, rather the exposure. Magazines like Vogue now see golden opportunity in scandals and create further exposure in a way that no “fashion” magazine has ever done before. It’s now all about engaging in content at the most profitable time, regardless of anything else at all. In most magazines now, it seems that the roles of Editor in Chief and Advertising Manager are very confused.
The content within fashion just isn’t as meaningful as it once was. What Donald Trump is to politics, Kanye West is for fashion, and the Kardashian impact has done nothing but cheapen and disregard the foundation of fashion. The biggest question of all could be if talent is even rewarded anymore, and if the tradition of designing clothes is really lost for good. Modeling agencies now look into how many followers’ models have on Instagram before signing them. Modeling in general has been completely debilitated and dismantled into a vast marketing scheme, and diversity is about as rare as originality.
The Bigger Problem: White Models Only Still Exists…
Despite the noise that front-runner Donald Trump has been making over race these past couple months, America has been addressing the issue of racial diversity on the runway and magazines for years. We have come from a society that has “one black model” per collection, to shows with multiple models of multiple ethnics walk done the runway. This has impacted fashion’s acceptance of culture clash, and NYFW has become as multicultural as it’s ever been. All this is good news, but it’s a little concerning that it took this long.
Models like Joan Smalls, Ajak Deng, Maria Borges, Liu Wen, Soo Joo Park and others to name a few, have been dominated runways all throughout each A/W collection this season. Yet, designers like Demma Gvasalia (Vetements) still feel the need to go out of his way to ensure his collections are “white models only?” Then he still asks Kanye West (someone who has taken action on racial discrimination in fashion) to sit front row? How is it that a brand can be so one minded. The collection and brand that Gvasalia has created are simply revolutionary to fashion. His clothes are seen on celebrities from the Kardashians to Rihanna. But still, somehow, he is so out of touch with reality that he dares to send such a message. As if the New Yorkers who have been buying clothes from Vetements to wear as Street Fashion are all one ethnic… how was this even allowed?
Racist people will never be inexistent. There is unfortunately no way to change every person’s perspective on “who’s cool” and “who’s not.” Gvasalia’s sad, uneducated perspective isn’t what is so painful about this whole thing, but seeing how easy it is for people to jump upon the bandwagon when it comes to racial issues… but then promote it without even knowing it… is what is most painful of all. Vetements is praised by people everywhere of all sorts of color, meanwhile deep down we are still buying into the one-sided mind of someone who is against anything that isn’t white-blooded.
Is this what is to come of fashion? Fashion, like most industries, has always been a business. Profit with elegance so to speak, but today it seem that designers are not looked on as people like they once were. Even still, retailers are hesitant and uncertain, international markets are uncomfortable, and brands’ profits are all over the place. It’s much easier to support something when you don’t have to do any real work to support it, and unfortunately this microwaved version of art form in fashion is the perfect example of supporting the opposite of what you believe in.