As an industry, fashion has the difficult task of building a bridge to the future while operating the shaky infrastructure that already exists. While this can be confusing and sometimes frustrating, it is undoubtedly exciting. In the absence of an already defined path, the most curious and creative designers launch into furious processes of experimentation, tracing the path that others could follow towards a future fashion that is less expensive, more equitable and, above all, more daring in terms of ideas, craftsmanship. and style. The secret is not to go back.
“Change is easy to overestimate,” observes Babak Radboy, Clemens’ partner at Telfar, referring to political and social convulsions. “Fashion, but not only, would like to convey the idea that the goal has been achieved, when in reality, if we look at who holds power and how things work, there has been only a minimal change”. And Clemens adds: “After two years of high-sounding declarations of intent, everyone has figured out how to go back to the old business model without making people angry.” Too bad that the old business model is no longer viable.
A new language is emerging from an old lexicon. This is the state of fashion today, a situation in the making. With our eyes on the horizon, we join the designers in this portfolio in celebrating the opportunity to explore new territories.
DEMNA – Balenciaga
Demna is arguably the most influential designer of her generation. At the helm of Balenciaga since 2015, he reintroduced couture there after a half-century hiatus and reinterpreted fashion in his own image and likeness, mixing flights of fantasy and mirror interpretations of tailoring and streetwear with marked social implications. At the recent Balenciaga show held on the New York Stock Exchange, the tailoring was represented by a selection of Demna’s archetypal silhouettes, i.e. dresses and overcoats with enormous proportions and dropped shoulders, while carrying the streetwear banner was a reworking of the iconic three-stripe pattern by Adidas. In March, while fighting was taking place in Kiev, the fashion house’s autumn / winter 2022 2023 fashion show began with the reading of a poem in Ukrainian by the Georgian Demna. “We live in a terrifying world,” said the designer. “And I think fashion should reflect reality.” MS
TELFAR CLEMENS – Telfar
The founder of Telfar, Telfar Clemens, prefers not to give interviews and, when organizing an event, he tends to do it in his own time. For years, the brand has been snubbed by the fashion establishment, even though its experimental streetwear has found acolytes in the art world. Starting with Babak Radboy, artist, then creative director of Telfar and then partner of Clemens. “I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we won the CFDA / Vogue Award a year after Trump’s election,” says Radboy of the moment fashion caught sight of Telfar, whose style had evolved in the meantime. into something much more accessible. The duo laid the foundation for an independent business model, which includes direct sales to consumers, and launched Telfar TV, a QR code launch platform for product distribution. The brand’s popularity continues to grow, especially among shoppers once ignored by the mainstream. “I feel a lot cooler now,” says Clemens. “I know now I’m drawing for real people.” MS