26 August 2009

Direction: al.

Word on the street is that i-D is going bimonthly ... or is it quarterly? Can someone more informed than I confirm?

Whatever the case, trust i-D to put out this killer cover for September (they are calling it the 'Autumn 2009' issue, does this suggest quarterly?)!

I am so totally enamoured and wowed by this cover (shot by Emma Summerton and starring Chanel Iman, Sessilee Lopez, Jourdan Dunn and Arlenis Sosa) that no matter what i-D decides to do, I will continue to love them (so long as they stay in print!).

Evidently, things are afoot in the industry when a magazine as renowned as i-D is lessening it's print run, when the painfully cool LOVE is putting unknown teenagers on the cover [Model covers: so last season? Celebrity covers: past passé?], and when the likes of fashion blogger/commentator, The Imagist, is saying that the 'the zeroes are dead', and speculating about how we might escape the 'tatters' the zeroes have left us in. All this after what seemed such a promising decade ten years ago. What are we to do?

It seems strange to think about the noughties being almost over, the world has changed immeasurably in all respects, and fashion has been party to that change as much as anything else. The question is how to continue to make fashion (design, photography, magazines, modelling, editing, advertising, etc.) relevant in the new decade. I feel like we must see unprecedented change in this industry or it risks becoming so incestuous that it eats itself up, inside-out.

Interestingly, as I see it, fashion's problem is analogous with that of democracy: it is essentially stale. It is so self-referenced, so bureaucratic, so un-democratic, so tokenistic, so surface-skimming, so uninspiring, so bland (behind the façade of newness), so much lead by the same sorts of people, saying the same sorts of things, so obsessed by its own image, so intent on spreading that image as widely (and thinly) as possible, so fearful. And, thus, it cannot possibly move forward.

But how can we enact the fundamental change that is necessary? I certainly feel helpless, apathetic and, to be honest, probably content to remain in my little bubble; wearing the designers I love, admiring the photographers who inspire me, reading the writers who interest me, etc., etc. But is this sustainable? Is 'fashion', as we know it, sustainable? And I don't mean that question in terms of that ridiculous 'eco', 'green', 'enviro' lingo, I mean: Can fashion be sustained indefinitely as an industry, as a profession, as an interest, as a way of life, without its changing in some drastic, (r?)evolutionary (and I use this term very carefully) way?

Think about the way we advertise, the things we see in magazines, the way fashion is written about, the sorts of people who supposedly represent fashion (read: 'celebrities'), the things the industry espouses as having value or meaning. Are these modes sustainable, I wonder? Fashion's current crisis is deeply embedded in all of those fundamentals. We have to acknowledge this before we can move forward.

All this seems self-evident, and certainly the acknowledgment of it alone will not bring about change. But, the more people who are thinking about these things, pushing for change, pushing for new modes and ways of thinking, pushing to be excited by fashion again - in short, the more people we have on our side - the better fashion's chance is of making it through the next decade and coming out looking a hundred times more fabulous (darling) than she does right now.

It is beautiful, fun, truly new covers like i-D's Autumn 2009 issue that fashion needs to see more of. It is these that are leading the way into the new decade, monthly print issues or not.


Anonymous Kevin Wong said...

Hey Eleanor, this is Kevin from London (ex i-D now) i-D will be 3 issues each season, Sept, Oct, Nov and Feb Mar April.

The logic being that advertisers are not spending during the "off-season" months.

Anyhow, I have left i-D, and freelancing in London now. Hope all is well with you!! xx

07 September, 2009 18:53  

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