It was a busy Friday afternoon at the office. However, being the nifty little millennial that I am, I was, of course, simultaneously checking my various social media feeds. While aimlessly trolling Instagram, I stumbled upon a picture that caught my attention. As someone who loves fashion, seeing the new Versace Fall 2016 ad campaign posted by Yolanda Hadid was hands down the highlight of my social media splurge! Seeing it as an ode to her supermodel daughter, Gigi Hadid, I was in awe of Gigi’s beautiful stature and wind blown tresses, but after looking at the photo a bit more closely, my “insta-happiness” suddenly transformed into utter frustration.
MANUS x MACHINA, Fashion in an Age of Technology, is this year's highly celebrated Met Costume Institute exhibition. And along with that comes the beautiful spectacle/fundraiser that is The Met Gala. With Apple as its corporate sponsor and Sir Jonathan Ive as its cohost, the tone deafness which both the fashion and tech flock drown each other with praise can be is breathtaking. The idea at the center of the exhibition is a fascinating one, that of exploring “…the emergence of a distinction between the hand (manus) and the machine (machina) at the onset of mass production,” exploring the “ongoing dichotomy, in which hand and machine are presented as discordant tools in the creative process.”
Welcome to the wonderful world of entertainment technology. This is it folks! It's a vertical on a website that hopefully gets instant articled and re-whatevered on social media. Oh, the horror. We thought we were so important. We thought we would work forever in niche media and then trickle it down to the masses slowly and on our schedule, predetermined by the fashion calendar and the whims of a creative happy few, chosen by us. Wait! When did we become just a category?
Here in the Culture Crush studio, while preparing our latest issue for the presses, we continually discussed the difference between the best design practices for print and for screens and a few important ideas kept bubbling to the surface. It takes a real deep dive into the print process to be reminded of the origins of some thoughtless regurgitation of design tropes, where editors and designers mercilessly parrot web and print trends without a lot of consideration of their context or meaning.
As the CFDA doubles down on a broken system with yet another branded fashion week dreamed up to accommodate none other than the store buyers and press firms, it seems retail has a pretty big puzzle to solve. It has to be more than closing stores or rebranding and or trying to shove a new yet tired concept down everyone’s throat. They have to serve another purpose.
The mission behind The Culture Crush print edition is to experiment with print and capture some of the peculiarities of the analog process; from printing everything out to arguing about the difference between thumbtacks and pushpins. Of course, I have been working on print magazines from long before there were computers in art departments, so many things that come naturally to me were very hard for the next generation of editorialists to understand.
Robin Lewis is the co-author of The New Rules of Retail and editor-in-chief of The Robin Report. He stopped by our Flatiron studio in New York City to talk about everything that’s wrong with the direction of the very complicated and broken system that serves as the middle man between the fashion industry and the consumer.
As critics and enthusiasts battle it out for the bragging rights of correctly predicting the outcome of Apple’s continuing foray into the new digital lifestyle business, many on both sides of the argument have come to the conclusion that the gold watch program and the $10,000+ price tag is pure marketing.