Just found out that my mum checks on me every morning before she goes to work, while I’m still sleeping, to make sure I’m not dead.
Approximately four weeks ago, fashion label Marco Marco debuted their first runway show for their Spring/Summer 2014 collection at Style Fashion Week Los Angeles. The show received a lot of attention online, probably because the show happened to feature several drag queens from the popular reality television show, Rupaul’s Drag Race. NOTE: The next several paragraphs will be not worth reading unless you have watched the above runway show so…do it.
Regardless of whether these clothes are your style, I think the main interest of this fashion show lies in the fact that a relatively unknown (at least, internationally) Los Angeles based designer has managed to create worldwide attention for himself in an oversaturated market in which consumers are increasingly ambivalent towards emerging or unknown labels. The question is, how has he done it? How has this designer, in one show, gained the online attention that many fashion labels would dream of?
I would have to say one major component of this success is the precise aesthetic and message of the brand. Would this show have been so effective if the drag queens/dancers/models on the runway were wearing somber, dark swathes of fabric a la Rick Owens or Comme des Garcons? Probably not. The models were chosen from the lifestyle of which the brand represents. For example, drag queens, particularly the queens seen on Rupaul’s Drag Race, can be associated with clubs, camp performance, music and unabashed sexual liberation – and the clothes reflect a lifestyle that involves these qualities. Such deliberate choices like these are found throughout the show and help us to orientate ourselves around the brand.
I would also venture to say that this fashion show could be considered as an example of an inversion of the traditional fashion show paradigm. “How so?” You ask. Well, the difference between this fashion show and most others that I have seen is that this one caters directly to an online audience. The Marco Marco label itself uploaded the video of the show to both Vimeo and YouTube. It allowed viewers to informally interact and comment on what they were seeing. Having the show uploaded to these familiar platforms allowed for its fast proliferation on social media sites such as Tumblr and Twitter. What I also found interesting was the use of non-model celebrities in a fashion show. It is quite standard to us now to see celebrities as being ushered to front row of a fashion show, as some sort of promotion through association. The Marco Marco label put non-model celebrities on the runway by featuring several Rupaul’s Drag Race contestants who instantly created familiarity and excitement through their individual personas. This also cleverly extended the scope of people who would be interested in the show - to not only those associated with fashion but to those that are fans of the show.
This is a far cry from the fashion shows of Milan or Paris, seen on websites such as Style.com. These shows are very much about presenting clothes to the invited members of the audience and we, the plebs, should be so lucky to get a glimpse of these sullen models traipsing up and down the runway. Sure, these shows can be dramatic, theatrical - grand even, but as soon as you watch them from behind the screen of a computer, your mind undoubtedly wanders – you’ve lost interest.
Sure, You could argue that the attendees of fashion shows are the only ones that matter. They are the buyers and the agents and the editors, they are the ones that need to see it. However, fashion shows are also inherently a branding exercise and so they need to be accessible to consumers as well. How can you do that if you are boring them? You may as well save your money and send out some look books to your buyers and call it a day. The development of runway shows into an engaging and entertaining medium is important for this reason, to have people interested in what you are trying to say with your clothing.
It will be interesting to see how Marco Marco continues to develop in the future and whether this fashion show will contribute to the sustained success of the label. I hope that this will be the case, considering I am talking about it a month later, in just under 11 minutes he has made a fan out of me.
Ever since I started studying fashion design back in 2010, I have always been drawn to the attitude Ann Demeulemeester cuts into her clothes. Although it’s kind of core-shaking to see somebody I admire so deeply not continue to do the thing I admire them for….I feel grateful that I’ve even been shown this world that she has created and been taught that it’s okay to stand away and be a part of something different.
Image: Ann Demeulemeester F/W2011.
I’ve been hearing rumors of Ann Demeulemeester’s retirement as of late.
ROFL! I just found this website that rates flags out of 100. This guy is throwing some shady shade in the commentary! Here are my favorites.