#TIEDTOGETHER – Make fashion (actually) great again

Last night was about virtually following the fashion caravane from London to Milan for the ready-to-wear shows. Before that there was New York. And after the big 4 fashion cities there will be a Fashion Week happening almost every single day somewhere in the world… But paradoxically fashion seems to have lost a lot of its meaning over the past 20 years, for what or who is now trendy will be out of the spotlight in a few minutes/likes. So last night was about taking a break from this frenzy, and trying to find out what could currently bring back some sense into this crazy spinning fashion bitch.

Since the inception of the digital age in the 00s, in addition to a fast globalization going on since the 90s, many people are now aware of fashion and its big names : empire brands (Giorgio Armani), petite icons (Kate Moss), feared editors (Anna Wintour). And yet, when the world seems to know it all by heart or by Iphone, the true meaning of fashion seems to have lost its way.
Because there was a time when fashion was an actual revolution tool. In the 18th century, the renowned fashion influencer that was Marie-Antoinette decreed to quit the heavy dresses for a more natural and « countryside-shepherdess » look, thus freeing many women from their stuffy corsets. And therefore allowing them to love or flee whoever they wanted (Sofia Coppola beautifully painted this switch of fashion and sexuality in her Marie-Antoinette biopic).
Later the French Revolution (yeah, the French used to be very fashion-forward (:-) ) allowed women to wear pants in order to be in combat without being raped every other minute. There were all feminists back then too…

Marie Antoinette by Sofia Coppola, 2006

More recently, there were successive waves of young designers who made their little revolution  : notably the French in the 80s (agnès b., Jean Paul Gaultier…) the English in the 90s (John Galliano, Alexander McQueen…) , the Belgian in the 00’s (Martin Margiela, Dries van Noten)… All of them had a deep knowledge of fashion history, a sharp eye combined to a sense of humor and craftsmanship, plus they always loved to put on a good show, equally glittery and meaningful. Sometimes it had an artistic meaning, sometimes a political one (think Hussein Chalayan and his naked models in 1998) but all in all it had a purpose above fashion.
The clothes were not always easy to capture or to understand, but they were meaningful : about the people, the world around or the dreams the designer had… And wearing them was kind of a statement.

Hussein Chalayan 1998

Now it seems that it is all about selling, out and fast : « see now, buy now… » Efficient, but empty.
It seems that it is all about putting on a paced show that will not move too fast in order to be photographed and Instagramed well. Make sure to make the video of the finale, where the models now all walk at the same speed and on the same straight line from show to show (they really ARE an army !!). If you have a blur at the end of the day (or a couple of drinks) and look back at the videos, mostly you won’t be able to tell which is which…
It seems it is all about praising the advertisers instead of speaking one’s mind aloud, in fear of losing the brand’s money into your magazine’s advertising (and the 3 granted Bs : champaign Bubbles, Bags, Business class)… Now when a show is crap it is « well-done », and when it is great, well it is « to die for » (having told the truth this time ?… )
Of course I am painting the dark side of the picture here. And of course there are some exceptions to the global marketing rule. But it is fair to say that despite the efforts of a few white knights, fashion is in serious danger of a snap creative death. The fast-forward way the industry has taken is certainly not going to slow the process down…

New York Fashion Week FW17 -Nice shows but same finale…

Unless we manage to inject some meaning into fashion again.
The worldwide context is urging us to take a stand, not a seat. On the contrary to what some brands keep on pretending, the ecologic Utopia has already sailed away : who can be sustainable while still pursuing mass production ? Fashion can be drawn to be responsible, but will NEVER be sustainable. Hard but real.

New York Fashion Week FW17 -Nice shows but same finale…

So let’s make the ideas pop as strongly as the champaign bottles. Let’s make statements ring as loud as the show’s soundtrack, in a way that people will actually LOOK at the clothes and LISTEN to what they actually have to say. So that after the show people REMEMBER it for more than a second, because it stood out for someting else than just clothes and pictures.

New York, London, Milan…Designers, models, influencers #TiedTogether

Fortunately, there has been some moves in the industry lately. Business of Fashion’s editor-in-chief Imran Amed has urged fashion to react against the excluding measures taken all over the world, and lately in the U.S, pointing out that the fashion industry had kept quiet while other influential creative fields (namely the tech industry) were the first to openly protest against these measures.
That is how the #TiedTogether movement was born. It’s not about but above politics, sales or money (if you wish to donate, then, your choice). It is only about fashion, inclusiveness and solidarity. How we are all tied together. Especially in our modern world where an information or a bomb can reach anyone at any time… Each of us depends on the many others to keep our futures open.
And of course this also works on the tiny fashion scale, for fashion has always welcomed people who did not fit into the usual standards (gender, social, others, many others…), and often gave them the opportunity to sit on the first row, if they had the strength to make their way to it. That is also how fashion has managed to stand out over the years, so let’s keep it that way.

Business of Fashion Team- #TiedTogether

#Tiedtogether is a simple and powerful fashion gesture : tie a white bandana somewhere, photograph it and share it on Instagram with the proper tag. This way you will have given 5$ to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) or to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). As easy as that… Many powerful fashion figures have already gone « white », including Tommy Hilfiger, Raf Simons for Calvin Klein, Jonathan Saunders for Diane von Furstenberg, Donatella Versace… And the digital models have embraced it with grace, such as Gigi and Bella Hadid, who put their millions of followers into the balance.
Actually, #TiedTogether kind of took the industry out of its sleep. Now videos #iamamigrant are spread, and brands take some minor stands here and there in order not to look selfish… And of course to be a part of the trend (:-)But we all know who started it and where the statement came from… So let’s follow the source and go #tiedtogether, in all fashion week spots and beyond, and make it last more than a post.

Model Bella Hadid @Versus show in London

The conclusion of this meaningful shock to fashion?
Imagine the combination of meaningful fashion images with the speed and reach of digital…Instead of generating likes, it could create miracles. And maybe change the world? Or at least people’s minds… And that’s already something big.So let’s turn off the calculator for a minute and open our fashion (or other) minds. Together we can both act and shine at the same time. How revolutionary/trendy/great is that?

#TiedTogether – Business of Fashion @bof – https://tiedtogether.businessoffashion.com

 

Paris is smiling

This was written a year ago in French, it was the day to try to put it in English…

Every year, a magical day happens in Paris. After a grey and cold winter the sun finally comes out, parkas are opened, wooly hats are taken off : it’s time to come back to life. Parisians don’t run home as they used to, their ears plugged and their scarves up ; they will rather stop for a drink with colleagues or friends, generally on a café terrace in order to enjoy the last ray of light and the new beginning. And for the first time in months, everyone has a smile on their face, waiters included. The wine sparkles with sunshine, the wooden tables and the moods are heated. This day of rebirth is the first of many to come, and is therefore well-celebrated. Even the tourists going around Paris are invited to the party, for they for once find Parisians surprinsingly nice to them. They give up their crazy race between museums and monuments to take part in this exceptional happening : Paris is smiling.

paris-france

Friday, November13th, 2015 : Paris is crying, in the dark, tainted with blood, sweat and fear.
Saturday, November 14th : Paris is in a grey coma : no more cars to be heard, all the stores are closed ; the terraces and public parks are deserted, the rare and stupefied people who dare to walk the streets do so to give their blood or to light a candle, while thinking about those, unknown ot not, who are gone.
Sunday, November 15th : the sun is back, so is life. The children are out at play, parks and tourist buses are full.

Monday, November 16th : Paris awakens in a state of war.
At noon, a minute of silence strikes the brave: the ones who painfully went back to work and the ones who haven’t stopped for three days : the doctors still operating, the police still chasing after those who hit the heart of our freedom.
Paris receives love and support from all around the world, for the nostalgia for this first-day-of-spring terrace is not only ours to feel : in all threatened countries, Paris still embodied an open window of innocence, nicely blowing up hair, short skirts and long ideas. In Israel, in Turkey, in Lebanon, Paris-lovers mourn the moment of freedom they still sought for in a country not so far away. They had always hoped the City of Lights would never stop twinkling, and that a fearless lifestyle would be as engraved in Paris fashion as the nonchalant hairdoes or the die-hard smoking habit.

In countries where attacks hit daily, where fear has been tying knots in stomachs for years ; where life is only livable because one has agreed with the possibility of an unpredictable and brutal ending … People there set us up with the example to follow, as they gathered in bars or cafés to talk about what happened in their beloved city of Paris. They listened to artists, French or local, singing out their sadness ; they danced the night away, until they had forgotten about the constant threat still hanging over their heads. And finally they kissed goodbye, comforted to move on.

peace-paris

Now it’s our turn to act.

We now share their reality. Winter is coming, and with it the icy fear that this horror could happen again, tomorrow, the day after, in a month or a year. And that everyone of us could walk out the door for the last time.
Despite the cold and the dark, we need to get back. We can’t give to the attackers what they were looking for. We need to learn vigilance as well as the first-aid techniques, but we also need to find our quickest way back to the heated terrace, the loud concert speaker, or to the old velvet chairs sprinkled with popcorn in a crowded movie theater.
And finally, we will look at a sunset after a beautiful day, with the certainty that it is not the last one, nor the last wine glass, we’ll share.

All these moments we stand by each other, smiling like the first day of spring. That smile should still be our pride.

Intro

Welcome ! To begin with…

ABOUT LAST NIGHT :

  • Unusual people
  • Surprising places
  • Objects of affection
  • Whimsical stories

The night is dark and full of wonders

Daria Werbowy by Cass Bird, T Magazine, 2011
Daria Werbowy by Cass Bird, T Magazine, 2011

 

NOT ABOUT LAST NIGHT :

  • Selfies : I won’t show my face (nor my butt) as much as possible. I believe others’ (faces and butts) are more interesting.(see below)
  • OOTD : I love fashion, especially worn by someone else. That way you can comment it all you want, and I won’t get flattered or sad.
  • My daily routine : I believe our lifes tend to be similar during daylight : wake up, do what you have to do, think about what you would like to do when you’ll be done with your shit. And then the sun goes down and the actual story begins, your routine must fall in ruins. That’s why there will be no regular posts.
Daria Werbowy by Cass Bird for Maiyet, 2013
Daria Werbowy by Cass Bird for Maiyet, 2013

 

ABOUT LAST NIGHT’S OWNER :

French writer who is sometimes tired of French-writing,

Paris-based, but keeps on moving,

In love, but keeps on practicing,

Not old, but keeps on aging,

Sharp at night, but dull in the morning.