A belated note on the press coverage of Copenhagen Fashion Week and some good points from Eva Kruse, director of Danish Fashion.
As per ususal, and in keeping with the intentions of the CFW to be not just an industry event but a public festival, fashion week brought an influx in fashion-focused articles in the general press. Judging by the standard of the articles, however, it would seem that the extra attention is a bit of a mixed blessing, as they reinforce the stereotypical take on fashion as a rather foolish affair; lazy journalism for the silly season. Granted, I have not been doing any kind of proper survey on the coverage, and so these pickings are just the bits and bobs I stumbled across.
Take this summary from Politiken.dk (DK equivalent to the Guardian), linking to picture galleries from this seasons catwalk shows -nothing wrong with that – but with a header reading Inspiration: Your look for next summer (implying that fashion followers are a mindless herd) and with the image caption Moonspoon Saloon recommends that we wear turbans and clown-ish jackets next summer (a really daft idea, we understand by this condescending phrasing, which completely ignores the performance art and queer groundings of the brand, and hence the context of the collection and show).
Even more toe-curling was a summary double interview on DR.dk (the public broadcast company), with quotes like:
– Den her uge for mig har været 60er modernisme og regnbueis. Man kan kalde det soft porn – der er noget erotisk gemt. Man har lyst til at spise det. Man har lyst til at spise hinanden, siger [Chris Petersen, editor of Cover magazine]
-This week for me has been about 60’s modernism and tri-colour ice-cream. You could call it soft porn – there’s something erotic hiding. You feel like eating it. You feel like eating eachother, says [Chris Petersen, editor of Cover Magazine].
Sådan en skatteforvaltningsdame skal da også sidde og se sexet ud. Så vil man også hellere betale sin skat, siger [Lotte Freddie, modejournalist]
The taxlady should also look decorative and sexy. Then you’d be happier to pay you tax, too, says [Lotte Freddie, fashion journalist]
And the spot-on ‘fashion is so gay’-cliche:
– Du var lige ved at få en fashionorgasme af alle de farver, griner Chris Pedersen.
-You almost had a fashion-orgasm from all those colours, laughs Chris Pedersen.
(A response to a previous, non-informative and rather embarrasing video/article in which the same ‘fashion expert’ Lotte Freddie has a rant about the Danes’ predilection for subdued colour, whereas Lotte herself favours pink, we learn. After all these years covering fashion, is this really the best she can do? Is this an expert perspective on fashion? Or just cheap TV?)
To be fair, and fortunately, the coverage also included slightly meatier (albeit still in this low-carb-high-protein fashionable diety way, we’re not talking real brain food here) articles like a newsy item explaining how front row seats formerly given to fashion bloggers are now reserved for buyers, thanks to the recession, and a breakdown of the nature of trends in an interview with fashion researcher Maria McKinney Valentin. And Berlingske added a few articles on the business aspects to their runway reports.
Fashion is also culture
Overall, I can only second the points made by director of the Danish Fashion, Eva Kruse, in an opinion article from 2010; Mode er også kultur (Fashion is also culture).
In the article, she argues that fashion deserves a more serious coverage – in the press, and in museums! and as a research field – one that considers the cultural aspects of fashion. This approach would not only better reflect the real impact of fashion, but also strengthen the fashion industry.
Generelt i det kulturelle Danmark har diskursen omkring mode et lidt gammeldags islæt, og noget tyder lidt groft sagt på, at man helst kun udstiller tøj, hvis enten en dronning eller en viking har haft det på. Og det er egentlig ærgerligt, for en mere kulturorienteret tilgang kunne være til gavn for både forbrugerne og statskassen. Tøj er jo ikke blot ensbetydende med penge i kassen hos forhandlere og eksportører, eller at vi kan holde varmen de koldeste trefjerdedele af året. Nej – tøj er også i høj grad med til at definere vores identitet over for vores omgivelser. Præcis som dine præferencer inden for musik, indretning og lekture gør det, bidrager også det tøj, du iklæder dig, til at forme, hvem du er – eller hvem du gerne vil være. Derfor kan mode også sagtens gribes an som et seriøst stofområde i medierne og kan fx anmeldes på præcis samme vilkår som musik, kunst og film.
At formulere mode som kultur gør altså ikke blot modebranchen stærkere, men kan i bedste fald skabe en enorm merværdi, fordi Danmark i fremtiden blandt andet skal tjene penge på at sælge kultur og kulturelle oplevelser. Så hvorfor ikke føje moden ind under »kulturhatten« med en seriøs behandling af stoffet i medierne samt en opgradering af udannelsernes forskningsfelt på moden?
Eva Kruse, August 2010, http://www.b.dk/kronikker/mode-er-ogsaa-kultur
(As the quote is long I won’t translate it; it’s not that she says anything revloutionary, but more the fact that she makes this statement that I find interesting)
As described above, this change hasn’t quite happened yet. But it’s good to know that Danish Fashion is on the ball. And it will be interesting to see if the report on fashion, media and culture mentioned in the article will provide some good points as to how museums may play their part in the process. (Unfortunately I can’t find a link to the report, but managed to get a pdf copy from Lead Agency).