Preface

— May

This is May’s first “fashion issue.” The genre of the “fashion issue” in art magazines started in the 1980s with Ingrid Sischy as the editor-in-chief of Artforum. Sischy had a major impact by bringing entertainment and pop culture, ie fashion, to the magazine, after a long period dedicated to conceptual art and theory. Since then fashion has become an important point of reflection, intermingling with the art world and its publishing industry.

The 2000s were marked by the collapse of the fashion industry and art world into each other. Fashion brands started to engage in cross-collaborations with artists in a more ambitious manner. Independent fashion houses eventually were absorbed by luxury groups— this has been the case for Margiela, Helmut Lang—or disappeared. This was maybe seen as the end of the utopia of the bohemia seen as an existential experience. But more recently, a new rhetoric appeared in fashion, relayed by the press, with the terms of “crisis”, “burn out” or “accelerationism” due to the continuous fashion shows, openings, launches and the impact of social media like Instagram and its instant visual communication. It seems that the fashion world, or the fashion industry, is currently going through an existential crisis after the general feeling of burnout of the fashion designers, confronted to the accelerationism of the multi national luxury groups. Both fashion and art’s modes of production are increasingly shaped by these groups (such as Kering, or LVMH, more and more visible in Paris). In reaction, young independent fashion labels are proposing a more political, sharper, post gender and experimental vision of fashion like in New York with Gogo Graham or Women’s History Museum which are exploring new frames of fashion (online, in art spaces, etc.).

For May publishing from Paris, fashion’s capital, it was only a matter of time before tackling these issue concerning the numerous major and recent shifts in fashion. One starting point of this issue is the article by Cathy Horyn [1] about how the dropping-out of Raf Simons at Dior evokes the impossibility of preserving a high-level of creativity in the current organization of fashion industry. To a certain extent, paradoxically, fashion is increasingly perceived as a field of research or reflection that needs to “work” its own archives and documentation in order to finally understand itself and initiate its own critical discourse. This issue aims to understand what would be the other channels, contents, discourses, economical models and new aesthetics of fashion, outside the models of the traditional high fashion. We are interested in how all this effects the art world, what kind of parallel conclusions, side effects, impacts it has and could have in a close future.

  1. [1] Cathy Horyn, “More More More Dior,” System, issue no. 6 (Autumn/Winter 2015).
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