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South Africa seems to be setting some trends over in Delhi as they’ve followed our lead and launched two competing fashion weeks in direct competition over the same days. That’s Delhi Fashion Week and Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week. At least here we wait for one to finish before the next one starts. Then of course there is Lakme Fashion Week taking place just as they end in Mumbai. Eish. At least we’re setting some catwalk trends somewhere…

The couple of articles I read on it sound oh so familar for example Hurt Couture (India Express)

Ifashion has a post by Milisuthando Bongela from Flux Trends on the rise of video presentations via the internet of collections. Its an interesting thought that fashion designers have also figured out that they can sell directly to consumers via the web and save costs substantially. However I don’t think we should be writing the obituary for the fashion week just yet. If anything fashion weeks are expanding – certainly we can see this locally but also there is pressure on the major fashion weeks to also expand particularly in the US. I think what we’re more likely to see is online presentations happening alongside Fashion Weeks rather than replacing them completely. There is a huge difference after all between seeing something in real life and in a small screen on your desktop.

Listening to a couple of the interviews with buyers on the Vogue podcast it was interesting to hear how many of them mentioned they go and check out video and photos online after the shows (one mentioned she’d stopped taking notes completely as she can just hop onto vogue.com). Really though the fashion set may whinge about treking to all the fashion weeks every six months, but try and get them to cancel their international jaunts round New York, Paris, London and Milan and I suspect you’ll have a riot.

I certainly agree that all the online coverage of fashion weeks and new collections is democratising fashion – which previously kept fashion weeks locked behind closed and carefully guarded doors. Maybe the real threat to fashion weeks is rather that consumers will like the collections they view online so much they won’t want to wait for the season to come around and will nip down to a savvy retailer like Zara to get hold of the looks sooner. I think its also worth mentioning that as online becomes a more important platform for the industry there is also a similar migration happening in the media – as a legion of bloggers (some journalists some not) ofter instant analysis. As much as some designers might like to  there is no bypassing the media in the internet age if anything there is more comment.

The video at the top is from Viktor & Rolf which is interesting but not universally adored see the New York Magazine’s review… Viktor & Rolf’s Online-Only Spring 2009 Show Premieres

Junya Watanabe’s (Japanese designer) collection at Paris looked vaguely familiar with his strong African influnces this could have been off the ramps at Joburg Fashion Week. No doubt some locals will mutter bad things about african fashion not actually being represented by african designers… but nobody said fashion was going to be fair. Sun Goddess should get their own back and do a kimono collection next time round.

The good news is Africa keeps coming up as a fashion influence almost every season in one way or another. Also interesting to note is that artists like Vampire Weekend, Esau Mwamwaya and M.I.A have all made Africa totally hip (for the next 5 minutes) in London and New York. You’ll have to google them yourselves though as i’m late and need to get out out of here.

Happy Fridays.

Gavin spilled the beans on plans afoot to launch a Graduate Fashion Week over on his blog. Whether this is a good or bad thing is kind of dependent on how its run, who its run for and what people really plan to get out of it. Sadly for the students I think the reaction from most to viewing student work en masse is akin to being invited to amateur dramatics: its the kind of thing you only go to if you’ve got a (close) relative involved in and you weren’t quick enough with a good excuse for your absence. I’ve sat through a couple of graduate events and its a bit of a painful experience to be honest. That’s not to diss the students, there is undoubtedly some great young talent, and far be it from me to hinder their experience of putting together a collection and staging it. The problem is though most people would like the students work to go through some kind of editorial filter, so they don’t have to sit through hours and hours of student work in the hope of uncovering the occasional diamond in the rough.

I think maybe of more value for the few students that do have the talent to showcase publicly are events like Elle’s New Talent awards, the Vukani awards or the young talent showcases at the various fashion weeks. Maybe what we need is something along the lines of London Fashion Week’s Fashion Fringe competition (chaired by Donatella Versace this year) where finalists are mentored during and after the event rather than left to fend for themselves.

If you’re interested in this it’s worth a visit to the website of Graduate Fashion Week in the UK.

It’s always Fashion Week somewhere in the world, a comforting or hideous thought depending on your perspective. The New York Times did an interesting piece on global fashion weeks. Apparently last count there are 152 of them (and i’m betting they missed a few, Mitchells Plain Fashion Week maybe?). And yup they have noticed South Africa:

Some countries, like Australia, Brazil, India and South Africa, now have multiple Fashion Weeks, which expose local designers to a global audience and catapult some of them to bigger stages in New York and Paris. Fashion Weeks have been welcomed in Kyrgyzstan (in March) and Kazakhstan (in November) for highlighting ethnic dress in stylish ways.

Note the tone of this article is not really critical, its more of a bemused observation. Also for all the people that whenever the multiple fashion weeks are mentioned in South Africa say that even the US doesn’t have more than one fashion week this article notes that almost every major town in the US runs one. Whether you find the multiple fashion weeks a good or bad thing locally we’re really not so different from anywhere else…

And good news for Zim designers, the Creative Director of Barney’s in New York has promised to come to  your next fashion week.

“Personally, I want to become the fashion editor of National Geographic,” said Simon Doonan, the creative director of Barneys New York. “When Zimbabwe has a Fashion Week, I will be there.”

Too late. It was in December.

I went to the SA Fashion Week regional collection last night. I’m afraid it was just too chilly and too late in the year to have much of an atmosphere. It’s great that sa fashion week sends their collections out to the “regions” but I guess fashion is one of those things you have to do 100% or not at all. Despite some great work (Stoned Cherrie, Black Coffee, Abigail Betz) it was too much a watered down version of the main event – and we haven’t exactly been short on fashion events this year. Something has to be said about inflicting lingerie on the poor models as well – they just weren’t built for it and they were pretty much showing outdoors on a freezing night. So that’s it for SA for another year… it’s been a long journey. I guess it’s time for the winter fashion weeks now? 

(the photo is from SA fashion Week in Joburg)

There is nothing like a fashion week to bring out some grumbling and predictions of imminent disaster – whether it be held in Jo’burg or Tokyo… This year the gloom peddlars are out in full force largely (but not entirely) due to the poor state of the economy and scheduling difficulties

Fashion’s message on the economy: New York Fashion week is snubbed by the celebs and is somewhat on the unsexy side according to the Observer UK.

And “Is this the most boring fashion week since 9/11?” asks Gawker

And it seems like its a tradition in the UK to kick off London Fashion Week with a good moan, some self flagellation and a dose of doom. This year is no exception (it’s the climate).

“London Fashion Week, the showcase for a £4 billion textile and clothing industry, has opened against a background of controversy and crisis.” says Hilary Alexander at The Telegraph.

“London Fashion Week Starts amid Fears for it’s Future” says the AFP

Even the Japanese (given everything they’ve got going for them in fashion) are a bit grumpy:

Japan Fashion Week Under The Radar (from The Business Of Fashion) Japan Fashion Week is snubbed by most of the fashion establishment who’d rather show elsewhere.

I have two points on this:

1: Fashion weeks all around the globe seem to bring out all the collective angst, pessimism and self doubt of the local industry (sound familiar?)

2: The global fashion industry is battening down the hatches for tough times. Everyone handles this in different ways the Americans get boring and play it safe others (Brits probably) will go the other way and push the avant garde boundaries to stand out from the crowd. The other result is we’ll probably see more D.I.Y fashion out on the streets by cash strapped youngsters (almost every youth culture movement of note was started during or after a recession). 

The looming recession was touched on by Dion Chang at the Cape Town Fashion Council meeting on Friday – he suggested that we were likely to see the economic situation stay bad for 2009 and recovery is expected in 2010. His suggestions for the local industry were to:

- Concentrate on your labels core proposition/essence and delivering a quality product

- Look for synergies with other brands (Diesel and Adidas were used as an example) as this allows brands to pool resources (marketing budgets for example)

Dazed Digital are providing extensive coverage of New York Fashion Week – worth a visit.

These are a couple of the looks from Stoned Cherrie’s collection that I thought were interesting. Colourful, commercial, distinctively Stoned Cherrie and not a dark cloud on the horizon (unlike other summer collections). The label has opened a new store in Rosebank and launched an accessories range recently.

Ah Sunday mornings, time to put Radio 4 on (via the BBC’s splendid iplayer) and make some coffee.

From The Observer (UK):Interview with Giles Deacon

From Dazed Digital:

Colette x Gap Pop-Up Store (can’t move for pop-up stores in 2008…)

Henry Holland’s collaboration with Levi’s (frickin awesome by the way i’ve used the pic above)

From JC Report: Japan Fashion Week

Cute Havaianas marketing stunt in Joborg on The Frock Report

Oh and its New York Fashion Week:

Vogue’s coverage

Time Magazines Blog

New York Magazine’s Blog: The Cut

Those sneaky Havaianas people again at NY Fashion Week via 55 Secret Street

And last but not least my newest Modepass buddy, Greta’s blog (she may just be the queen of Italian geek chic). Actually i’m starting to be won over by this whole Modepass thing – could be big.

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