It’s London Fashion Week and, as the fashion circus comes to town, I can’t help wondering if British Vogue – the magazine the beau monde look to for what is new, revolutionary, enthralling, and socially defining, especially in unprecedented tough economic times, hasn’t completely lost the plot.
Right now, going ethical is the hottest story on the fashion firmament and Vogue is ignoring a verdant opportunity. Even the Daily Telegraph is excited about ethical fashion and has been eulogising From Somewhere, a luxe label upcycling offcuts from iconic Italian fashion houses, and a label that I was the first to champion, in a feature for You magazine, (below), back in the dark ages of 2004!
Take the current October issue of Vogue: It’s a bumper issue, with a tragic, faraway looking Cheryl Cole as the cover heroine. There are over four hundred pages fat with advertising, and features awash with predictable stories about the return of sixties allure, minus the clever re-worked or recycled element, and cocooning winter staples, but not one meagre scrap of editorial to mark the extraordinary green revolution taking place at the heart of the British Fashion industry.
In a month when London Fashion Week places British Fashion firmly in the world spotlight, why is Vogue playing safe and supporting their advertisers? Dior, Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton, and Chanel are not news. At a time to be bold, why isn’t Alexandra Shulman excited about Ada Zanditon? – a designer who dares to dream in the mould of a young Alexander McQueen, to be green, and to be extraordinary? Or Sarah Ratty at Ciel – a visionary talent who conjures up the most alluring dresses and swirling, heirloom alpaca capes and jackets for icons like Cate Blanchett and Sienna Miller. Or Beautiful Soul, with her sensuous East-meets-West deconstruction of the kimono, but has never been given a Vogue editorial.
Fashion is under close scrutiny as never before for an unsustainable carbon footprint, the exploitation of cheap third world labour, and polluting production practices. British Vogue ignores these concerns at its peril.
But it could be so different. The media is such a powerful and intoxicating tool. One great story in Vogue could literally inspire people to change the way they shop and consumer forever. I do hope someone is listening.
Emesha and her startlingly wearable little black dresses inspired by the work of the Russian artist Alexandra Exter, above, is one of my hot tips for 2011 : For her look book click here