This week’s lecture by the founders of Eckhaus Latta made room for a very passionate conversation during recitation. I might even go so far as to argue that it was an excellent recitation to end on, as it was driven by differing perspectives, disagreement and insight–all things that we will undoubtedly have to deal with as we move through our careers in the fashion industry.
This semester has proven that there are so many ways to study the fashion system. For me, it was pleasure to be in a classroom with MFA students, who helped me to understand and appreciate more concretely the thought process and skill that is often negated when we think about, look and consume fashion. It is something that I will definitely keep in the back of my mind as I continue to critique the industry as a fashion scholar. More relevantly, their presence helped me to navigate my issues with Eckaus’ Latta’s lecture.
I will admit that the lecture was bit confusing for me. I couldn’t quite grasp the brand’s identity, its marketing techniques or what the designers wished to provoke with their alternative collections, shows and presentations. However, the MFA students helped me to understand the fluidity from which some designers approach their brands. Sometimes, they argued, they just create, and even after completing a collection, they still don’t necessarily know what the message is or what’s the intent.
Tangentially, this provoked in me a slight consideration of the ways in which we critique fashion shows, designers’ collections, etc. As a point of reference (but should not be mistaken as a generalization), I considered Rick Owens’ fashion show in which he invited steppers to serve as his models. The show has been widely debated with a thin line dividing conversations on appropriation and appreciation. However, with the MFA students’ considerations in mind, I added another element to the debate, questioning whether or not Rick Owens, as a designer, just created and the result was a controversial show we continue to complicate, but can’t reach a satisfying decision.
Which leads me to my final point: satisfaction. From lectures and conversations on the victimization of clothing to the current state of fashion, we’ve had to grapple with the fact that while as fashion scholars we critique the fashion system, we also willingly participate because it brings us a certain level of desire.