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The State of the Fashion Union: As Part of the Ever Expanding Image Industry, is the Business Side of Fashion Squelching the Less Profitable, Wildly Creative Side of La Mode? FASHIONTRIBES FASHION BLOG & PODCAST


PODCAST: The State of the Fashion Union: As Part of the Ever Expanding Image Industry, is the Business Side of Fashion Squelching the Less Profitable, Wildly Creative Side of La Mode? FASHIONTRIBES FASHION BLOG & PODCAST - MP3 File

State_of_f_union_madonna_at_gaultier State_of_f_union_madonna_paparazzi_frenz

(Photos of Madonna at the Gaultier show & the paparazzi frenzy surrounding her arrival by Giovanni Giannoni, Delphine Achard & Stephane Feugere for WWD. )

To welcome the Fall 2006 Fashionweek, Fashiontribes.com & Almost Girl are hosting a two-week blogging Carnivale & extravaganza about The State of the Fashion Union. Bloggers from all walks of the Fashion & Lifestyle Blogosphere will be weighing & having their say. So make sure to visit each day to find out what the bloggers are saying!

The most exciting moment at the recent Spring 2006 Couture shows in Paris? Apparently it was Madonna causing a paparazzi meltdown when she appeared at the Jean Paul Gaultier show. Even WWD concurred, commenting that: "Despite some fabulous fashion moments this week, in its current state, the couture season...is somewhat of a snooze," (Razzle-Dazzle 'Em, Thursday, January 26, 2006).

Yikes. The couture, supposedly fashion's premier idea & creativity lab....a snooze? Is fashion in that much trouble?

State_of_f_union_gaultier (Gaultier Couture, Spring 2006)

Part of the problem is that fashion is a business, and a business has one raison d'etre: to make money. It's not enough to be wildly creative; as a designer, you're responsible for keeping the bottom line black.  However, a larger part of the landscape is that fashion actually falls under the umbrella of yet a larger money-driven juggeraut: the Image Industry. The Image Industry incorporates a few main areas:

  • State_botox_shot Botox-by-the-Billions Celebs & regular folk alike all partake in "upkeep" - plastic surgery, workout routines, diet, and various cosmetic procedures. (Photo from SpaTrade.com)
  • The Business of Styling A key part of being a celeb is how you look. If you're a singer, it's no longer enough to have a great voice. In fact, how you sing is secondary to how you look. Same for acting - the craft takes a backseat to charisma and fashion.  So celebs no longer take chances with image - they hire wardrobe & image professionals to keep their image profitable.
  • State_before_and_after Extreme Makeover Mania From your face to your life, it's no longer uncommon for your friends and neighbors - both in TV land & in regular life - to try a complete overhaul.  The Swan was a particularly heinous, but good, example. Photos by Carol Kaelson (left) for ABC & Tom Queally (right) for ABC).

State_lack_of_privacy What is causing this race to perfection that drives the Image Industry? I believe it's the fact that no one has privacy anymore. From your credit card slips to security cameras to your phone calls, every move you make is documented.  As a result, you can't hide anything, so people have begun to resign themselves to the fact that they live out in the open. (The "Millenials" - those born between 1980 - 2000 - have grown up knowing privacy is a myth, so it's no surprise they are the first large social group to blog & record all aspects of their life & post them on the web for millions to watch & comment on.)  And life out in the open means all your flaws are evident. So what to do? Get rid of them.  And with the human genome fully mapped, it only points in the direction of yet more varieties of extreme makeovers. (Illustration from CNN.com)

But back to fashion. Fashion, as a growing industry, is trying to figure out how to be profitable within the greater umbrella of the Image Industry, and yet, fashion designers - the good ones - are not by nature business types. They are the funky, wildly creative John Gallianos of the world & didn't get into the business to count their cash.  Fortunately, the internet is making it easier for smaller designers to affordably set up a website & actually make money selling their designs online. They are the vanguard of how fashion will come to terms with the fact that, yes, it's a business, but one with a lifeblood of creativity.  It would seem that the solution is to divide and conquer - find a really good business partner & leave that to them. Typically creativity & business don't mix....nor should they.

- Lesley Scott

January 27, 2006 in Fashion, PODCAST, Pop Culture, State of the Fashion Union, Weblogs | Permalink

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Comments

Excellent point - this is especially true with jewelry designers right now on the web.

Posted by: Tammy | Jan 29, 2006 1:41:33 PM

Remember when flaws were either to be artfully camouflaged or embellished and turned into our own personal trademarks? Diana Vreeland was a huge proponent of the latter course, but today, she'd have her ears pinned and her nose done, and she'd look liek everyone else.

The same is true of fashion--you don't need a master cutter to disguise a woman's less fine points, you need a plastic surgeon. There's so little art because there's so little need for artifice, in the true meaning of the word.

Posted by: KateCoe | Jan 29, 2006 4:07:18 PM

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