DIY culture has increasingly taken hold of contemporary fashion.
Not DIY like the Berlin Kidz in that Good Guy Boris Drifters Code jawn (anyone else remember Jet Grind Radio), but DIY like ‘spent more time reading early stage Hintmag (or Hypebeast circa 2016) than attending the Royal Antwerp Academy’.
As Joerg Koch, founding Creative Director of esoteric-par-excellence magazine/clothing line/all-around cultural tour-de-force 032C, said ‘If you think of what is American fashion design right now, it’s done by amateurs’, Joerg says. ‘And it’s super successful. Whether it’s Kanye West at Yeezy, Virgil from Off-White, or Jerry from Fear of God — they all come from this Kanye school. They’re all self-taught amateurs’.
There are two ways to look at this.
The traditionalist strategy is unsurprising. Frustration at eschewing the old ways. Summed up thusly by Aaron Sorkin in his underviewed (and thus short-lived) series Studio Sixty on the Sunset Strip:
“I’m a fan of credentials. It’s like we’ve all spent the last five years living in a Roger Corman film called Revenge Of The Hack.”
And the avantist viewpoint, which assumes that fresh eyes expand the collection conscious. That by forgoing the traditionalist methodology of the past we’re opened up to a different collection of influences; a series of cultural and aesthetic mores outside of ‘the way things are done’.
Tom Wolfe inadvertently typified the former in his Miami novel, Back To Blood, while discussing conceptual art, which he tongue-in-chicly refers to as ‘no hands art’. He discusses Richard Serra, who sends sketches of steel walls to a foundry, but never physically touches anything. And Jeff Koons.
‘Jeff Koons is another one, a big, big name. He got his elves to build a 45ft bunny rabbit with things planted all over it to give it a kind of fur. He briefly married a famous Italian porn star. He had pictures taken by a photographer of them having at it in every possible way. I’m sure he didn’t even put them in the envelope, but the photographs were sent to the elves in Switzerland, who returned them in the form of three-dimensional glass sculptures, like pornographic Lalique, and these have brought tremendous prices.
I’m not personally a big fan of Koons, which is why that joke ‘only venture capitalists get to play with that balloon’ is so psychically satisfying, but one has to acknowledge his masterful combination of Paris Hilton and Warhol writ-large.
His interpretation of the art world, like Warhol’s, has manifested in both good and bad; inspired both good and bad. But it has inspired new.
And, let’s be real….who the fuxk says that the old way is the right way. Or even the old way? No one taught Mozart. He learned by watching his father teach his sister.
He was all about dancing about architecture. So am I. Coco Chanel never trained. She was a self-trainer hatmaker who started to make clothing for one reason alone: she wanted to. Lagerfeld studied drawing and history in high school. No classical fashion training. Tom Ford studied architecture. Hedi Slimane studied art history.
So why the hell does it matter that Jerry Lorenzo didn’t study fashion? His aesthetic isn’t my aesthetic, but it is an aesthetic. Ditto Ricardo Tisci. And Miuccia, for that matter.
Variety is the spice of life. And rainbows need colours. Just because we often dress monochromatically doesn’t mean we shouldn’t dream in kodachrome.