Image via Dolce & Gabbana
As some of you might have already seen on Twitter, Dolce & Gabbana premiered its fall/winter 17/18 collection with a particularly familiar cast of faces..and no, these faces were not that of Magdalena Frackowiak or Xiao Wen Ju. Instead, we were met with Cameron Dallas leading the pack of millennial based social media influencers walking down the runway, with names including Sofia Richie, Austin Mahone, Lucky Blue Smith, and a variety of other celebrity children/social media stars. Its seemingly 'audacious' and unconventional presentation was intended to showcase 'real people' and 'real youths'--an ode to millennials in the modern world. However, its attempts to achieve a sort of "break-the-internet" casting ethos only served to perpetuate one overarching theme that we've seen within the recent years: the sad, commercialization of the high fashion industry.
What baffles me, and probably many others, is the show's seemingly blatant pandering towards social media models & Instagram influencers, under the subtle guise of attempting to be bold, daring, or maybe even 'relatable' towards youths. The show didn't have the appearance of just one Jenner or one Hadid, but the names of pretty much anyone with over 100K Instagram followers. So why would a brand prefer to sacrifice the sanctity of its name--its history and artistry, for the followings of Instagram stars and celebrity children? And why would a high fashion brand, specifically known for its exclusivity and prestige, attempt to relate itself to millennials who likely cannot wear any of the clothing showcased in the collection? Chances are, your social media fave walked in the show--and probably couldn't afford it either.
Sofia Richie for FW17/18 - Image via Dolce & Gabbana
It seems as though fashion has lost the desire to creatively and inventively make art, in its efforts to be trendy and groundbreaking, replacing talented and qualified models with faces of larger followings--in a somewhat lazy attempt to promote a brand with numbers, rather than sheer talent or creativity. The sad reality is, designers seem to be 'selling out' in order to attract larger audiences, and wider demographics. Today, they are looking for the easiest thing to uncreatively yet effectively draw attention to their shows, which happens to be the celebrities and influencers with the few million followers behind their name. We're in a new age of Jenners, Hadids, and now...Dallas', where the future of fashion is met with a rather superficial strategy of marketing; and nepotism, fame, and following are truly the only ways to get to the top.
I will always remember Arisce Wanzer's open letter to Kendall Jenner, and her poignant lines critiquing the 'new' fashion industry (and most importantly, the perpetuation of nepotism): "One by one like dominos from Vogue to Givenchy, fashion is selling out to the ignorant masses for money. What happened to the art, the cerebral part of fashion? Did it really all die with Alexander McQueen?"
Perhaps it did die with McQueen, and unfortunately, the art of fashion has been lost within the noise of greed and a desire for commercialism over art. Is there hope for the sanctity of the industry? Let's hope so. Or else the fate of fashion is looking to be one big Dolce and Gabbana show--Instagram influencers and all.
Check out the show for yourself: