Thanks to a tweet from FashionHistoria (Heather Vaughan of WornThrough), we learned that fashion editor of the International Herald Tribune Suzy Menkes will be talking with Gladys Perint Palmer, executive director of the School of Fashion at Academy of Art University in San Francisco next Thursday (May 6) to explore the question, “If Fashion is for Everyone – is it Fashion?”
It’s clear from the description of the talk that Menkes is going to be hitting all the keynotes of “democratization”: the accessibility of fashion, the future of newspapers and magazines, blogging, luxury, sustainability, and young designers wanting to set up their own brands. (By the way, our take on each of these issues can be found in numerous posts – search the category, “Democratization of Fashion” for a start.)
I don’t know much about Menkes’ work – but what I do know is that she’s generally supportive of bloggers. (I don’t know why WordPress isn’t accepting Vimeo videos but until I can fix this glitch, here’s the link to the video of Menkes and others talking about fashion blogs.) Anyway, I’m really hoping the title of her talk is nothing more than provocative copy. The recent era of fashion’s democratization has already shifted from the halcyon moments post-9/11 when everyone, and I mean everyone (from Anna Wintour to Rudy Giuliani), was proclaiming fashion as a right to which every free person was entitled in a liberal society. The recent backlash against fashion bloggers, as I’ve pointed out elsewhere, indicates that the pendulum may be swinging back towards exclusivity – which has profound implications for how we understand, among other things, economic democracy. Is Menkes’ talk going to issue the death knell of democratization? I don’t know but I’m (sort of) looking forward to finding out.