The adage that “everyone is critical” may be truer than ever, but the latest issue of Wallet magazine explores criticism from a fashion perspective.
Compact magazine editor-in-chief Elise by Olsen discussed the “Culture of Critic” issue on Tuesday morning. Readers can find it at Tate Modern in London, MoMA PS1 in New York, Broken Arm in Paris, Modes in Milan, and next month at Tsutaya Books in Tokyo.
Originally slated for release in October, the latest issue has been delayed a bit as Olsen has had his hands full to launch the International Fashion Research Library in Oslo. The just-published issue features interviews with Washington Post senior critic Robin Givhan, New York Times chief fashion critic Vanessa Friedman, and controversial fashion critic and founder of Not Vogue Steve Oklyn. There is also a 20 page visual essay featuring Vacquera, Gauntlett Cheng, Agnès B., Hermès, Miu Miu, Ann Demeulemeester, Telfar, and others.
Budgets being what they are, dealing with advertisers has taken an extra turn or two, but the publishing house remains open despite the pandemic.
The original plan was to deal with a question about the production of materials – sustainability, production, factory work, ethics and more. After an interview, Olsen said: “We have changed our mind. First of all, it’s such a quiet industry. Nobody wants to talk to you. We didn’t really get the interviews we wanted and we tried so many.”
Criticism was a more appropriate theme for the problem, “with Wallet looking at his own domain and the domain we are involved in,” Olsen said. “It was interesting to ask who are we doing it for. Who is the critic responsible for? Is it the consumer? Is it the designer? Is it the industry? Is it back in the media the critic works in? “
She mentioned how fashion journalism has been “in such a bad state for quite some time and the written word is not as high priority as pictures and visuals. [are]. Distinguishing between fashion coverage and fashion review or analytical writing has been interesting. “Fashion coverage is reports from fashion shows, maybe interviews, reports, stuff that isn’t fueled so much by opinions or so much historical context. While critical journalism and analytical journalism provide context around what you are trying to talk about and how it responds to the current climate and the past climate of fashion and fashion as an institution, ”said Olsen .
As for the International Fashion Research Library, a few large donations are expected from major fashion houses as well as two private collector collections, Olsen said. Some corporate sponsorships and partnerships are being put in place “to support institution building,” she said. Board meetings are held with the 35 members, who represent fashion, architecture, art history, art and other fields.
In addition, there are plans to announce a partnership with a major New York-based institution. This should strengthen the Oslo-New York link, according to Olsen. (The museum’s founder inherited the permanent collection from longtime mentor Steven Mark Klein.)
The library has educational partnerships with Central Saint Martins, Parsons School of Design, Polimoda and a few educational institutions in Oslo. The exchange of all of these institutions is quite rare, Olsen noted. “When we do these research programs, which we hope to do once the physical space opens up, it will be amazing to see what a fashion student from Oslo can share versus a student from Central Saint Martins. It will be very different for better or for worse. There are all these exchanges which are very useful for both an Oslo student and a London student, ”said Olsen, adding that she hopes to be able to accept the student thesis, which has not been cataloged and archived in the context of a trendy institutional library.
The 3,300 square foot library will house printed materials – books, magazines, invitations, illustrations, posters and more. The shadow of the pandemic has eclipsed a spring opening, and Olsen is now looking towards fall, hopefully, but realistically. “There is no point in us opening ourselves up to a local audience. It is an international project. We want to be able to potentially accommodate people here. We have an amazing database and institution where we continue to do programming and have activations. It’s good enough for now and accessible to the public, ”she said.
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