Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Questions & Answers with Fashion Journalist Sofia Bak.

As part of an assessment for my University work I had to write a magazine feature - I chose the topic "The Ever Changing Fashion Industry". Below is the question and answer style interview I did with the lovely Sofia as part of it...

- What's your opinion on how fast new looks come in and out of fashion? And do you think people will still continue to follow fashion, even though it changes so often?

There's a lot of pressure on designers to create something new. Influential fashion industry professionals, like A-list press, have seen it all, so it's easy to bore them and get a bad review. In addition, the consumer naturally demands something fresh, not many people want the same thing they're wearing now only newer...unless you're Diane Pernet, whom I sometimes channel when I go through periods of wearing nothing but my favourite black t-shirt, black jeans and black boots. But for everyone else, new designs will be created every season, or at least a designer will attempt to create something new. Some trends leave quickly because they're too obvious and date easily, and no-one wants to look "soooo last season". 
However more classic ones will stick around until another strong trend takes over. For instance, skinny jeans have stuck around for years, not seasons...
Of course people will follow fashion trends, they always have. Fashion is the fun part of life and a form of escapism for many. Trends are a dual phenomenon, however, on one hand they're hated because people don't like to think of themselves as fashion victims, and we do know that they're created by the marketing industry, rather than fashion industry...to sell a lot of product every season - simply because it's "in". But on the other, trends are a form of inspiration and allow for creativity within your look. 
Personally I dress however I want, but  once in a while I'll see a trend and think - wow, I didn't think to do/wear that, it looks great...and I'll go out and buy whatever it is. last season I was obsessing over python dresses and shirts as well as anything galaxy...this season I dip dyed my hair blue, it was just a great idea for a change I've been meaning to make. 

- Where do you see the fashion industry heading in the next couple of years? Do you see the way it runs changing, or do you think it will continue in the same way?

It will probably evolve in some ways, like anything else...for instance it's evolving a lot in terms of technology right now. The industry has hugely submerged into social media, everyone from Hilary Alexander to Melanie Rickey are tweeting from front row...so you can find out what's happening on the runways as soon as it happens, not 3 months later when Vogue comes out. 
There's also a relatively new phenomena of fashion film, Gareth Pugh has done a fantastic one, and I just saw a great one by his ex-protege Ada Zanditon. Diane Pernet now has a respected fashion film competition which turned into a festival in Barcelona. 
There are new technologies such as fabrics that filter air to make it cleaner as you walk. I met a designer named Jonathan Hawke at fashion week who is working on a concept of something which will download his designs and digitally create shoes in the comfort of your own home. It's mind-blowing. I will be interviewing him soon. 
Personally, I'm hoping that the fashion industry will change faster towards more eco-friendly materials...because it's contributing to a lot of harm in the world. But, I think it's a well oiled machine that will stay pretty much the same for a while, as far as doing business goes. 
- What are your favourite new trends for spring/summer 2012?

Spring/Summer 2012 are current trends, even though it's not even spring yet. The NEW trends are the ones we're watching right now in world runways - Autumn/Winter 2012. I think everyone in the fashion industry gets asked this question by everyone who interviews them. So what I'm trying to say is - I wouldn't ask it, because everyone else does and it's going to be answered in lots of other media anyway. 
I'd rather the press talked about something more important, for instance your question about innovation was great. We should talk about how we can improve the industry, make it cleaner, more ethical. This is not a criticism, by the way, but advice. 
I'm going to say this about trends however - there's a lot of them that get recycled every year - florals, brights, prints, lace etc. London especially, frowns upon trends, we are trailblazers, not followers, people who follow trends are already behind, because as you know...by the time the trend that we've seen on the runway makes it into stores, it's already been worn so many times, it's almost like you're copying someone. In fact I wrote an article about last years trends stating that the trend is - there is no trend. 
We were obviously boycotting trends in London, the designers were showing so many different things it was hard to distinguish one. If you think about it, the most distinguished London designers don't show trendy things - McQueen (original), Westwood, Charlie le Mindu, Louise Gray, Meadham Kirchhoff - they are the reason world press travels here, and they are fashion troublemakers, if you will.
Like I said, trends can be fun, but I wouldn't care so much about what's next, unless you really love it, of course. New York just showed a prominent trend - black and navy, and already all the London street stylers that I was shooting for Italian Vogue were wearing it. I couldn't even photograph them because it was the same jacket on everyone. Who wants to see the same thing over and over again on photos? 
I would almost be embarrassed to dress like everyone else. What are we wearing, a uniform? It's much better to wear something that flatters your body-type and skin/hair colour, something you feel confident in, something that you love and makes you happy...even if it is dated...it's your confidence that makes you beautiful, not trends. 

(read the article containing this interview in my next blog)

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