In our State of the Industry series, fashion's most respected critics, editors, designers, publicists, and entrepreneurs discuss the biggest challenges and opportunities facing the industry today. Here's Ed Filipowski and KCD's summer interns, in their own words.
Ed Filipowski: "I think the interesting thing is that it’s self-defeating for arguing against New York Fashion Week being too inclusive, because culturally, through social media and through the way we live, our whole world is becoming inclusive. So, why wouldn’t we want fashion, which is a reflection of the way we live, to not be as inclusive? The people in this industry say we should be exclusive, that we should pull back, that we shouldn’t have so many shows — but that’s not how the world is right now. The industry is just keeping pace with what’s happening culturally."
Bryanna Vera: "I read a Man Repeller article that came out about the criticisms of New York Fashion Week; a lot of people are saying that New York is too commercial, but they kind of twisted it in an interesting way, saying New York is more relatable, especially for a lot of people our age who can’t afford Chanel or Givenchy or some of the brands that are showing in Paris. Maybe that relatability is a good thing, because young people, or people who can’t afford couture, are seeing those things on the runway."
Julia Luciani: "I also think there’s increasingly more room for more shows because with social media, we can go through a show in two seconds, just clicking and seeing a look and going to the next one; it’s so easy to not attend every show and still see what’s happening. I feel like that brings up a good point: We don’t necessarily need to come back on the number of shows, but instead diversify how we share them and how people view them."
EF: "The industry needs to transform the way it presents its collections. There needs to be new, innovative ways to do things that haven’t been done before, and I don’t think this industry ever — maybe I shouldn’t say that — is not moving fast enough. It’s not moving at the pace it should be, and I think that would help with the schedule. How many of you think it’s important to see clothes in person?"
Margaret Litzlow: "Working this job specifically, we deal with clothes that come right off the runway. Being able to hold an Alexander McQueen dress, to look at the detail, the work, the effort, the stitching, and the tailoring that goes into it, gives you so much more of a connection and appreciation for it — it’s an experience. Anyone can follow McQueen and then go through the McQueen Snapchat or McQueen Insta Story and see every single thing behind the scenes, but that also doesn’t really allow all people to experience the full effect of what fashion and clothing is."
EF: "[Working] here at KCD gave you firsthand experience of what it is to see clothes, and a lot of you said that you felt that you needed to see clothes in person even before you interned here. A lot of you don’t shop online, which was interesting. I just sense there isn’t this wall that’s being created, blocking a new generation of people from seeing clothes in person. It’s not a social media wall that you can’t get over. I was surprised that this generation wants to see clothes in person. People at the head of this industry right now have seen such a transformation with social media that maybe we’ve lost a little bit of perspective, maybe we’re traumatized — it’s been traumatizing over the last ten years. We sort of have to talk to people to understand that foundation for what really matters for clothing exists, and it’s pure and it’s appreciated."
Li Dong: "I think seeing clothes in person at Fashion Week is the same thing [as] seeing anything else in person. Would you rather look at a picture of a celebrity or actually meet the celebrity? Would you rather see pictures of a beautiful city or actually go to it?"
Charlotte Jones: "When I was working the entrance to the red carpet at the CFDA Awards, I was really amazed by Elsa Hosk. She was wearing a very pretty dress, but it wasn’t until she twirled around and it flew up in a circle [that] I knew it was my favorite look of the night. It proves how seeing the movement of a dress affects your opinion of it. I also think a large part of the difference between social media and seeing something in person is the level of engagement. When you’re watching a show on Snapchat, I think most people our age just flip through it so quickly — you’re looking at it, but you’re not really experiencing it."
EF: "'See-now, buy-now' makes sense for how we think and live. I never thought about 'buy-now, wear-now,' through the eyes of people your age. I always thought about it just for my age, but it makes sense."
JH: "I think it all plays back to the New York culture, and a lot social media is about now, now, now. It almost seems unfair to our generation that we have to wait this extensive period of time before purchasing, and for us, six months is an extensive period of time."
EF: "You have a choice to go to a Fashion Week show, okay? People say there are too many shows. You don’t have to go to every show. But let these people start their businesses and show what they want to show. This is America — this is what New York City’s built on. The calendar’s too crazy for you? Don’t go. Edit! You’re an editor. Edit."