The supply chain is rather dodgy and designers are just not getting their business models to work. That’s if they even have business plans to start with. For the most part, I doubt they do.
We have a relatively young industry that still struggles with many things, including its own identity. For this reason, even though it has become a lot better these days, fashion directors and editors struggle to find (or sometimes even get) locally produced fashion to put in their editorials.
However important these points may be- in my books anyway- what I’d like to tackle here is what I encountered this past week with a True Love fashion spread that I believe should have never made it into the pages of a magazine that we have all seen rising from fashion mediocrity to being a respectable (in some respects) voice in the industry, thanks to its current editor Sbu Mpungose.
I’ve often complained about the level of content space that magazines and even the media at large afford the industry and I can’t see how anyone could dispute that True Love was addressing this in their own way.
In their August issue, however, I was dumbfounded when a friend of mine pointed out that one of the fashion spreads was a cut ‘n paste of one done by American Vogue creative director Grace Coddington, about 18 months ago.
The shots, the poses, the entire story behind the shoot, were an almost literal remake (rather than being a take) of Coddington’s shoot. Some have pointed out how there is nothing wrong with referencing global magazines, and I have, rightfully, defended the concept of referencing. In doing so, however, one does have to differentiate between that and copying. What True Love did here was to copy and claim Grace Coddington’s concept as that of the stylist responsible.
This is rather disappointing and a blow for the integrity of the fashion editors’ profession, but beyond this- for me- it highlights a failure to cultivate South Africa’s rich heritage and storytelling traditions in conveying our talent for using fashion to tell stories, as I believe any good fashion editor should do.
I believe everyone in the fashion industry, for it to grow to its full potential, should be held to the highest standard, be it designers, stylists, fashion editors, publicists and even us, the fashion media and blogosphere. No one should be immune to criticism and we should often exhibit our love for the industry by participating in forums of discussion to evaluate and improve whatever it is we do.