Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Quote of the Month

A feeling for fashion in anything from architecture to typography is a feeling for what is in the air, for what is right now. I describe fashion as an atmosphere, and obviously all good designers are highly sensitive to this atmosphere or spirit of the times (particularly fashion-sensitive people who have the misfortune to find themselves just slightly in advance of this feeling suffer all the frustrations of seeing their ideas enthusiastically adopted a year or two later). Obviously, those designers who manage to hit this feeling for now are those who are successful, and who in their turn influence further generations.

Ironside, Janey, 1973, Janey, London: Michael Joseph Ltd.:pp 120

June's quote of the month comes from the highly entertaining autobiography of Janey Ironside, Head of Fashion and Textiles at the RCA during the 1960s and early 1970s. Recently I have been thinking further about the role of fashion and its place in everyday life, particularly as I am now preparing a paper on how fashion has become increasingly commoditised, being portrayed and marketed as an object in itself. In coming across this quote, researching more specifically about the role of art schools in producing fashion, I was intrigued by Ironside's description of fashion less as a tangible 'thing' than as an 'atmosphere', something seemingly un-graspable, yet which all successful fashion designers, and indeed researchers, need to grasp and interpret in some way. It is also interesting that Irondside alludes here to fashion in relation to such, allegedly, unfashion conscious sectors as architecture or typography, rather than just clothing. In capturing this atmosphere through the development of physical products, events, or perhaps books or academic papers, Ironside also re-affirms the necessity of timing in the interpretation of this atmosphere, where being 'too soon' is significantly more detrimental than being 'too late'.

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