Sunday, 13 December 2009

A New Fashion Language?

News that the movie Avatar is introducing a new language is challenging. Although only rudimentary – about a thousand words – its potential is daunting if kids take it up and make it a new way of communicating, possibly secretly. As our English language becomes more dumbed down by the day, the prospect of building a new one is exciting because it would have the precision that all 'naming of parts' requires – the precision new languages develop and old ones like English eventually lose.

How challenging if fashion – which has the most old-fashioned linguistics of any modern industry – could follow Atavar-speak, create a new vocabulary and break away from its endless round of tired old recycling of the ideas of others. It is surely only with such a radical new approach that it can regain some of the energy it once had … in the distant days when making money was second to creating something new, exciting and challenging. I find it extraordinarily lacking in vision or even imagination that designers are still working with fabrics and techniques invented centuries ago and seem quite devoid of any curiosity to change the situation. And we all know the correlation between curiosity (and lack of it) and intelligence (and lack of it).

Maybe the first step could be a serious consideration of why and who should be accepted for a fashion design course. A new pedagogic language of design, perhaps, a la Avatar? Colleges around the world provide us with graduates who are adequate as plodding foot soldiers but rarely if ever the Alexander the Great leader of the future. And why should they? Poiret, Chanel, Balenciaga and Dior never went near an art college. Neither did Miuccia Prada or Vivienne Westwood. How many of the fashion leaders we hail as greats today might not have been really great if they had enjoyed a different form of education – one that aimed to raise them above the lumpen crowd of mediocrity that floods out of the world's educational establishments every year?

1 comment:

  1. design students, medical students, law students - the bar needs to be raised because mediocrity in these areas should be unacceptable.