My Editorial Comment as it appeared in the
Thanks for the fun, inspiring, good-to-be-alive article ["The Cosby Effect," Dec. 13]. One little thing bothered me: " Or, says Seattle Central Community College apparel design instructor Hisako Nakaya, maybe it's just a telltale sign that the days of a top-down, monolithic fashion industry determining what's in or out are over."
I think we need to back up her point by a few decades. The top-down fashion dictates were smashed by Brando's white tee, leather jacket, and jeans in the '50s On the Waterfront; when the '60s popped, so did minis and boutiques—rock inspired—while the top designers were doing Jackie O. suits and pillbox hats, until they realized the huge market they were missing. Enter the bohemian look of the '70s, and Yves Saint Laurent made news with his rich hippie looks. Lagerfield tried doing $2,000 grunge; it was short-lived but obviously street up. My last example is the skull of '70s punk making its way to the Neiman Marcus Christmas catalog ('06) along with the Juicy label doing their version of skull and wings on the back of a hoodie. No, the great ideas from the street have been snagged by designers for quite some time, and the creatives who inspire don't often get the rewards.
Alright, so why did I feel the need to respond over a little misconception? I reacted to the illusion that constructs and maintains a paradigm that is repeated in most walks of life (wearing Manolo's) It is a classic hierarchal concept that certain people deserve a position in society because they are worthier than others. It supports the illusion that talent and hard work will be recognized and rewarded with steps up the ladder; therefore the ladder is worthy of maintenance by all.
But wait a minute:
Design stars are needed to generate profits throughout a fashion industry and a star must produce and when ideas are RIPE they are copped from the streets-then repackaged to support the top down mythology. Why?
I think it goes back to a time when only the wealthy were educated and then they could use the public for menial labor and say things like "the lower classes, women, slaves, immigrants etc are so ignorant," which stroked their egos and kept competition limited to those who played by the rules they of course got to write! That changed with public education or did it? A good education was to get a good job....working to create even more wealth for those in power. Funny thing is they need us way more than we need them; which probably explains all the historical edits. Wow, you'd think after that much arrogance and face saving of a paradigm we would get over it and grow. It's hard to evolve, create dynamic change and listen to the voice of being when conditioned to fear loss...of face, position, status, power and all the other facades we humans have erected to live in denial of mortality.
So let's move along and ask all of life to the party. Let's see what we can learn and how very possible we can be; lets embrace the life we have and recognize the place we share in the whole: now that sounds like fun!
And fashion, fashion will evolve to embrace personal and sustainable ethos. Yeah I have faith in art, design, intellect and life -and all the other contributing elements of good style. I still love fashion, its just been transformed.