Here, the Feel the bern Sanders mittens shirt besides I will buy this fashion industry must undergo a reckoning. Watching so many fashion films without a purpose or clear message made my head spin. For a long time, logistics were the easy out: It would be too difficult to fly people from outside the fashion community to a brand’s H.Q., so collaborations were kept insular. Now, anything could be possible with technology—why not invite new voices into the fold? Dior Men showed a beautiful collaboration with artist Amoako Boafo; Prada made interesting films with three lesser-known (at least in fashion) artists in addition to two well-cited photographers; and Thom Browne and Moses Sumney collaborated on a transfixing short film made in Asheville, North Carolina. The rush of significant editors into Alba’s studio after McQueen and before Ferragamo was a testament to the not entirely Bond-fuelled truth that this long-warming designer is entering a hot window of opportunity: the wider world is close to catching up with his slow-fashion, high-quality, just-feel-that-hand point of view. Alba’s independent house is an extremely small one in the wider Milan landscape, but with the right allies and partners that could change. Daniel Craig also deserves props for dressing a character against whose lucrative but many limitations he has so publicly railed in garments that give him room for growth rather than imprisoning him. These felt like exciting opportunities that expanded the circles of the fashion system. Everyone also loved the “show in a box” (yes, ace idea!), but what I really enjoyed was the 24-hour Livestream that showed people in the Loewe universe from around the world: the artists and artisans in Spain, Japan, England, and the United States that make Jonathan Anderson’s vision real. That’s the other thing many liked about digital Fashion Week that I found a little lacking. Revealing the behind-the-scenes workings of a brand is interesting, and while none did it better than Maison Margiela’s fantastic film by Nick Knight, there’s something a little unsettling to me about what is shown and what is concealed. Even “peeling back the curtain” can feel like well-articulated P.R., showing only the glamour and hiding the ugliness, stress, and mania that fashion contains. Osman Yousufzada was the only designer to include factory workers as a part of any content this season; his video filmed in Bangladesh asked factory workers to imagine the women who would wear the clothes they produce. A nice BTS video is only part of the true story of how fashion is made.
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In many ways, this season felt more like dictation than a dialogue. The most exciting part of watching real Fashion Weeks unfold online prior to the Feel the bern Sanders mittens shirt besides I will buy this pandemic was the digital scavenger hunt of putting together the various perspectives of a show from the people who were there: a more 360-degree picture compiled from critics’ reviews, influencers’ social media posts, young journalists’ Twitter feeds, photographer’s backstage and street-style images, and snaps from models, stylists, hair and makeup artists plus everything you hear in the back of a taxi (or in a group chat) between shows with friends, colleagues, and strangers. Having all these voices together, sharing their own views of a live event, made Fashion Week interesting. The conversation of fashion is just as important as the clothes themselves, and in this digital week, it felt like most of what we had to go on was the message the brands were selling us. The number of people with access to designers, to physical shows, to the clothes themselves, and to what’s really happening behind the curtain is still quite small may be smaller than ever, considering what was once hundred-person shows are now Zoom panels with just a dozen editors. I hope that when IRL gatherings are back, and while digital shows continue, the access and ability to be a part of the conversation will be more shared and democratized. Zoom may be the big hit of lockdown, but it quickly became clear to me that it’s a poor substitute for a real-life studio visit. The fuzzy display is fairly useless for showcasing detail. As I sat through a month’s worth of video previews, I had to marvel at how designers managed to build their collections virtually this season. It must’ve taken extraordinary patience and determination not to mention confidence in their teams. It made me respect the work that was being done and the care that was taken to do it even more. You’d be shocked at some of the things teachers wear when they’re at school and the students aren’t, particularly in those days right before and after the school year… the “set up” and “clean up” days. Things like sweatpants, wildly inappropriate graphic tees, low-cut tank tops, and yoga pants aren’t uncommon. It’s usually hot in the classrooms during those times, because it’s the beginning and end of summer, and setting up and cleaning up the classroom is hard, dirty work, so teachers dress for it.