The Journal

by (re)vision society

The Pace of Fashion

The Pace of Fashion

Raf Simons in the Studio. Image Via Vanity Fair website

Raf Simons in the Studio. Image Via Vanity Fair website

Raf Simons’s departure from Dior last fall occurred in the midst of much change in the fashion industry. Less than a month after Alexander Wang showed his final collection for Balenciaga and a week before Alber Elbaz was released at Lanvin we heard of Raf’s leaving. The three creatives made it clear that transition was in vogue for noteworthy fashion designers in 2015.

Yet unlike the reasons of Alexander and Alber, Raf spoke of his leave as “personal.” His chat with fashion critic Cathryn Horyn before his announcement to leave Dior explains his experience of the fashion system—the unending need for time and the consistent cultural pressures that often come at the expense of inspiration.

The conventional creative process in fashion has become enervating, as Raf noted: “When you do six shows a year, there’s not enough time for the whole process. Technically, yes…but you have no incubation time for ideas.”

Raf’s leaving was a polite statement of opposition against the pace of the fashion system. He realized his need to be inspired, his need of moments to read, to talk, to see, to think, which, sadly, are moments unavailable to many artists who are leading fashion. It’s a bit backwards, really. Artists need to be inspired to maintain a lucrative career, to produce their work in the most effective and intentional way. Yet this essential component of their work is something often unobtainable due to systemic demand.

What struck me as rather significant was the relevancy of this concept across all domains. There is hardly a field of work, or a lifestyle for that matter, that seems immune to today’s fast-paced climate. Further in their discussion, Raf considered our cultural reliance on immediate satisfaction. Our need for immediacy, as Raf notes, seems to affect our view of diligence. We have grown accustomed to acquiring items and information with ease, thereby often altering our understanding of hard work.

“Everything is so easily accessible, and because of that you don’t make a lot of effort anymore. When we were young, you had to make up your mind to investigate somethingbecause it took time. You really had to search and dig deep. Now if something interests you, one second later, you can have it. And also one second later you also drop it.”

His worries merit consideration. Raf left one of the world’s most successful brands owned by one of the most renowned conglomerates, LVMH, in order to escape the conventions we have socially constructed, especially in fashion. And it’s interesting how he sees our immediate and constant need for accessible things to also reflect the value in which we give a product. An idea quite worthy of reflection.

Raf’s departure, however, does more than solely heal himself. His esteem in industry draws attention and forces us to ask, what are we doing here? And how can we alter the system to function at a more viable state?

Cathy asked an important question: “In any age, isn’t the point to master the changes around you?”

And perhaps this is where our focus should lie as we start 2016—not necessarily with worrying how our societal system of quick-paced living has created a set of unrealistic standards, but with the opportunity we have to master the changes of our times. The changes, and challenges, that technology has presented us. The changes of our work ethics. The changes of our expectations and market demands. The changes in industry, all in which we can influence.

Because if our current standing has evolved from past customs, then we have the opportunity to alter our present ways in order to change the path of our future. We can choose to not become complacent with our current situation, and to instead adapt and benefit from the only constant in life, which is change.
Written by Kristin Agnes

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