fashion/media – double kiss

Every season is a little bit different – and of course, I am not talking about the clothes.


Cathy Horyn sees an industry transitioning between old ways and new values, when she reflects on the real importance of fashion shows. No, she is not talking about the clothes – “…is the show and our almost compulsory attendance really about something else, about preserving distinct power bases in the face of their rapid erosion?”

There is a reason why Horyn is the reigning voice of reason in the voyeuristic void of fashion journalism. She cuts right to the bone.

In the tent, we don’t just watch the models and the clothes; we watch the faces across from us, picking up clues from who is sitting where and what their faces betray. In the media lounge, we don’t just focus on reviewing the runway – we study eachother, we see who is working and what they are working on, who is talking to who, and always keeping an ear cocked for anything worth overhearing.

In a small tent like the one in Nathan Philips Square, the clues of change are laying in the open for everyone to notice – and if you need confirmation, check Google. The big news? The newspaper and magazine writers are blogging harder than the fashion bloggers. NOW Magazine, the National Post, FASHION Magazine, Fashion Television, Flare Magazine, and others were doing it daily – posting that is – if not show-by-blow live-blogging it.

It seems like the past few seasons of blogger infiltration (infestation?) have inspired established sources to step up their game. With more more people, more equipment, more photos, and paycheques, the professional journalists had their chance to show that they can do it faster, shinier, and more extensive than any blogger.

Now that the hurricane has died down and we can count the survivors, we can also see the evidence of what got posted and what did not, and maybe who came out on top, if anyone did.

I think L’Oreal Fashion Week itself was a clear winner; a hot frenzy of coverage connected designers of all levels to the attention of everyone who reads the news and checks the magazines.

The readers and watchers receive a mixed bag of benefits and bombardment. Fashion mediaphiles like myself were treated to more stories in their feeds than we had time to read – and some were exceptional – I found myself glancing through a lot of information with less interest than usual. It wasn’t just because I was attending – I didn’t see all of it and I was curious for other perspectives – it was a combination of time, duplication of information, and a certain unsatisfying lack of insight that happens when the post button gets pressed too quickly.

The quality of blogging fashion week is not measured just by stopwatch and quantity. I love to read a considered point of view, a level of observation that transcends a recording, a soundbite, an immediate reaction. A story from someone who experienced it.

So I am trying little media projects, striving for something a little different. Like the Haiku Review and Rags and Mags.

For Final Fashion, I try to post only when I have something to say or show. I am not here on the internet to compete with anyone, only to offer what talents I have towards this thing called fashion.


At the Fashion Week Drake Salon, a few fashion week survivors were treated to something fascinating – a panel of insiders candidly discussing the week with eachother and an intimate audience. There were many empty seats in a very small space – apparently fashion week is fatal for most people. Still, this was a moment that I thought many of the designers who showed this week should have been listening, taking notes and asking questions. There were very few.

Many of the panel’s most fascinating moments were the contributions of Barbara Atkin, Marlene Schiff, and David Livingstone.

The most strong impression on me was left by Barbara Atkin. She rejects all the usual excuses from the Canadian Fashion contingent. She is so right – merit speaks for itself. Being Canadian is not an alibi. Canada is a small country in the world, and yet we have produced a few world class fashion designers; and it wasn’t because the designers were Canadian, it was because they were talented, persistent, and borderless.

Bitching is so over. Complaining does nothing. If the scene sucks, its our responsibility to learn from our mistakes and our choice to make it amazing. It is possible to create a scene we are proud of. I see a lot of smart people around me who are striving towards something amazing, and every time I see them they get closer and closer.

These are not the only thoughts that I am processing right now. L’Oreal Fashion Week for Fall 2008 was an inspirational one for me. It is going to change how I approach the months leading up to the Spring 2009 collections.

I want to bring more new ideas to every season. I love to see fashion move forward.

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4 thoughts on “fashion/media – double kiss”

  1. Thank you for remaining a voice of reason in all of this mayhem. I am certainly experiencing information saturation. Its funny as the culture of “more, more, more” information takes over fashion we become less inclined to consume it. And yet people keep spewing out more content as opposed to stopping, studying and deciding what is worth saying. I remember Phil and I discussing the attention economy even two years ago and yet it has taken until now for people to realize that we don’t have unlimited time and those that succeed will do so because people will eventually limit their consumption to what is worthwhile.

    Perhaps its the CPM model of advertising that is doing it to all of us, everyone is focused on getting more traffic as opposed to getting better traffic.

    I for one couldn’t be prouder to see the interesting new takes on new media that you are producing. Its nice to know that even us old guard still have a few new tricks huh?

  2. Ah, great for you to bring up the Cathy Horyn piece. I remember talking with some ppl during the shows, and I liked how her seating point manifested differently in the Toronto shows.

    Sure, we all have assigned seats and the front row was def reflective of the analogy she makes for seating representing fashion biz hierarchy, but for the most part so many of us ignored that because we don’t have a clear-cut hierarchy and you know, the show runners never ever knew where your seat was anyway.

    Which offers a telling crossroad for the industry – maybe we don’t take ourselves that seriously enough, which I find refreshing and an example of the democracy that can exist in our loose fashion community. I like how we don’t have our stern Anna Wintour authoritative figure, but you know, an out-there character that goes out on stage with her dress half-zipped.

    While I understand the need for us to have formalism and follow the conventions of typixal white tent fashion weeks, it’d be interesting if we encouraged more off-site action with the shows/parties. (Of course, this might just be me wanting to see a revival of Studio 54-esque shows with girls dancing in Charles Jourdan heels or spinning around in Issey Miyake-F.I.T.-ed circles.)

    And the blogging thing – well, it’s a bit of a misunderstood catch up from the old guard, isn’t it? Shame they can’t seem to be creative about it.

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