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· Fashion Notes: Talking Heads

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Fashion Notes: Talking Heads
by The Kindly One

Despite ragging on J. Crew in last week's post, I found this interview with J. Crew CEO Miller Drexler, Narciso Rodriguez, Elle editor-in-chief Robbie Myers, and The New York Times's Cathy Horyn interesting and informative, with 90% of my interest being in Drexler and his observations on the business of fashion. Really, in a group featuring Cathy Horyn, Robbie Myers, and Narciso Rodriguez, who would have thought the CEO of J. Crew would be the most interesting person there? That said, his insights on fashion as a business, and a heavily industrial one at that, are what kept me tuned in for forty minutes.

Fantasy vs. reality: in this case, using reality to inform the fantasy of Vogue.

At an hour long, this interview with Vogue's Sally Singer* left me with a lot to think about, not all of it satisfactory. It's clear the audience is not heavily invested in fashion or has any real knowledge of the industry, only of the perception of it. As such, the questions raised are highly judgmental, and Singer ends up speaking to judgmental presumptions as much as to the questions themselves. I'm not sure she's entirely successful on either point. As someone who checks fashion news sites the way some people check baseball scores, I know who she's talking about when she mentions Thakoon. I know the context of the comment that a $700 dress is reasonable. The audience is unfamiliar with these ideas, however, and without providing the proper context for them, I doubt Singer made fashion seem any more accessible, reasonable, or even related in any way to the audience's worldview. That said, it is still interesting to watch, particularly when Singer discusses her own road to Vogue. I was surprised at how normal and down-to-earth Singer is, given the penchant to promote Vogue contributors as somehow otherworldly. It seems Singer is still strongly connected to her younger self's understanding of fashion as fantasy, a sort of playground for identity. I wonder if that's what keeps her from making more compelling points in this interview; she can't step outside of that paradigm well enough to speak "fashion" to the masses.

Finally, for those truly interested in the business of fashion, you may be well pleased to check out this website of the same name. The website features original content focused on business strategies, deals, and international news, and compiles fashion business news from a host of other sites. The website's original content and point of view are what keep me coming back. Extending beyond the typical soundbites from Marc Jacobs and Miuccia Prada, the website features incisive analyses of business strategies and aggregates behind-the-scenes information and interviews unseen on other sites.

*Sorry-for the life of me, I can't figure out how to embed this video.

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