Accidental Icon: Feeling Blue…but Good
This week all the news in fashion is about fashion shows. Big shake-ups have been announced by Burberry, Tom Ford, Paul Smith and Vetements. These brands have decided to show their clothing twice a year and aim to be ready to sell immediately after. Vetements will be producing clothes first and showing them later. Burberry willl be showing men's and women's collections together and Paul Smith is merging his men's and women's design teams. These brands are adapting to the "unsustainable" pace of the current system and addressing concerns expressed by consumers and creators. Consumers do not want to wait months to buy clothes they see in shows and creators want time to be creative. These decisions have been announced in the same breath as the utterance "the fashion system is broken". It's over, it's done, it's just not sustainable as it currently exists. Such statements are never as simple as they sound.
I facilitated a fashion show at my University this week. It's over, it's done, for me its not sustainable. Somehow it became too much like the work I do in the academy each week. The kind of work I was seeking some refuge from. Like my academic life, the best part of the event for me was watching and interacting with the students: the models, the ones in my classes who came in support, the make-up artists-to-be, the thoughtful undergrad journalists and my very smart and self-contained intern. Their young, restless energy seems to match mine since I have been in this period of reinvention and second adolescence so to speak.
When something is over that you have spent more than a few days investing in there is an inevitable feeling of the "blues" even when the outcome is a success and you are ready to move ahead. The blues came on when my daughter left for college, after her wedding and when I finished my Ph.D. I have the blues today. I thought perhaps if I found a way to combine Accidental Icon with my other life it would somehow become more sustainable. It is clear to me now this is not so. The big events in my life that were followed by a bout of the blues always resulted in something entirely exciting and different to fill the space left behind. Not a new configuration of what had been before, not just an easy substitute.
Some very smart fashion pundits are putting forth the view the instead of saying the fashion system is broken that one could say that the destabilization of the system is offering many new opportunities. I think this is true for me as Accidental Icon and I should not make the mistake of thinking it is a substitute for anything. Tim Blanks, a highly respected fashion writer and commentator said, "There’s never been a better time to be in fashion…" Somehow I feel this is right and somehow I feel there has never been a better time for Accidental Icon to be in fashion. Let's keep seeing where she goes when she's not at school.