I have a few issues with this letter. First: surely SAFW as an organisation cannot be held responsible for the creative decisions of designers. Is this not an issue that should be taken up with the actual designers as well as the company providing a platform for them? My guess is you picked SAFW because it is far easier to attack an organisation as a whole than an individual. I can’t comment any further on this particular issue, but it’s just a thought.
Secondly, I think the ticketing issue is greatly misunderstood by media and buyers who fail to follow the system laid out and then blame SAFW rather than themselves for ending up in the standby queue. Media and buyers are told to fetch their seated tickets within a certain timeframe – if they do not, their seats are allocated to somebody else who is actually present to receive the tickets. Similarly, some media or buyers may be told they have been allocated standing space rather than a seat. In these cases, there is usually a good reason for this. Buyers who do actually buy and more prominent media are given preference, and there are space constraints to consider. However, should an individual be dissatisfied with this arrangement, he or she is free to and in fact encouraged to wait for ticket registration to close, at which point they can then be allocated the seated tickets of anyone who did not pick theirs up.
Honestly, this entire letter sounds to me like a grudge blown out of proportion – either for the sake of publicity or scapegoating or simply a case of sour grapes.
I am of course not speaking on behalf of fashion week – this is my personal opinion having seen these types of situations from both sides – but I feel that the media might do well to explore a situation fully before slandering a company on the internet.
While I don’t agree entirely with the open letter, I will commend you for taking a stand purely because I feel that our fashion industry needs to be broken from the Groupthink that has plagued us and is slowly ruining us.
I do understand why the creative decisions of designers need to be questioned, and i do think that it comes down to the market we create. What I have seen is the shift in demand among the fashion community from commercial items to high-end pieces that aren’t easy to replicate.
In terms of seating, I agree wholeheartedly, there needs to be a level of strategy and thinking so that designers get the most out of their shows.
I didn’t attend SAFW this year, and perhaps my reason ties in with your reasons for not going in a sense. I feel that the true SA design talent does not reside on the runways of fashion week. Sadly, the vast majority of designers that are able to showcase at SAFW put out collections that have no sense of originlaity and are all derivative of last seasons international trends. I’ve seen and experienced fashion events held in dingy inner city venues (not Maboneng) and the raw talent, creativity & firmness of design principle is astounding. Those all happen to be the designers that simply can’t afford to show at Fashion Week and that’s where SAFW needs to be making an effort.
It’s about damn time that our industry matured the way it is yearning to, enough with the mood-boards that are based on what international designers are doing, enough with looks that make me want to fall asleep ‘gracing’ our runways and enough with the suppression of our design talent.
This industry is bursting at the seams with potential, all it takes is for big wigs like SAFW to start tapping into that and being a catalyst for what i truly believe is the foundation of a world class fashion & potential Luxury Goods industry.
I dont see how you can not hold the organiser responsible. If you are at a concert do you blame the organisers for a bad line up or do you go tell the band that they shouldnt be there?
I was shocked at Pulse home. Its sad that we take our time to sit and see someones work and they have blatant disrespect for us by showing us some half done creation that has been finished off with a rug you bought at @Home,6 months interest free.
Being a designer should not be about self promotion or getting enough money to try and glorify yourself. You need to understand clothing. You need to respect the essence of design.
The quality of the show has dropped year by year and it IS the organisers responsibility to ensure that those they showcase is good enough to get a platform to promote him or herself.
it’s about damn time.
in all honesty, i’ve been dying to write about something like this – but sadly don’t have as such a great platform
i agree wholeheartedly with the premise and messages (even though i am about on the half and half about certain issues)
i concur that a great deal of designers are either too focused on international trends or that they are all but ready to put out collections demanding of the scene
it has come to a point where certain designers are just putting out to put out
no one critics their work pre-fashion week
they do what they want how they want
and not many people are actually paying attention to the essence of the designs, clothing, etc
in terms of media
i personally feel they don’t actually do much other than just show face, take a few pictures, write a few nice words, and repeat
hardly anyone (until now)
is standing up or “exposing” fashion week for what it is
a whole load of trend whores just attending shows to say i was there
i wore that
i want to be in the “I Was There” section of this or that publication
hardly anyone is writing about how crappy a certain collection is
or how bitchy a producer was
and so on and so forth
thank you gachette for this
it’s greatly appreciated
i also feel that not enough people are coming
fashion isn’t being celebrated
it is somehow being made very exclusive (which there is nothing wrong with on an intimate level if i were to say)
but it isn’t as easily accessible
yes, more workshops need to be created
more talks and development needs to be made
more designers, and production companies, and fashion whomevers need to be called out for bullsh*t
it’s getting boring
that it’s just a regurgitation of year after year
Having attend shows from the last few SAFW seasons I agree with a lot of the points listed and have heard complaints by members of media which reiterate those messages this last weekend.
In response to ‘Anon’, how is SAFW not the company or organisation providing the platform? Would you like the sponsors of SAFW to organise a separate team and review designers collections throughout the design and production process? I think the only people who can control what we see are, in fact, the SAFW team. Yes they should have a quality control process so that shows aren’t just regurgitated trends we’ve seen abroad. To ‘This Is how It Is’ yes I have looked at bad concert line up questioned why the organisers made those decisions. I witnessed other people speculate similarly, perhaps they are just forward thinking members of society not mindless sheep.
As to the media and buyers apparently “fail(ing) to follow the system laid out for them”, most of the complaints I have heard and experienced are having to request accreditation for members of staff who will either be sourcing from designers, trying photograph the shows or simply trying to post online reviews or social media content. I have heard this season in and season out from people who work for prominent media, both in print and online- people who have tirelessly given coverage to SAFW affiliated designers. Furthermore I interpret the seating complaint is more centered WHO sits where- having a Fashion Assistant who has been tasked with instant social media coverage in the second row (which isn’t raised) trying to take photos to a professional quality doesn’t work when the the heads of the front row are in the way is a bit ludicrous. Especially when a student or z-list celeb is in the seat. I’ve heard people having to request tickets for (non-invitation) shows they asked for accreditation to. I’ve heard members of media saying the food wasn’t out in time between shows so they had to chose between waiting 45-60 minutes for a food order so they could eat, or missing a show and not doing their jobs. I’ve heard someone saying they were told their Identification Card would be sufficient for backstage access, but the line managers in front of the back stage areas told them they needed separate arm bands for access. This preventing them from taking make up detail shots and talking to designers pre-show.
Many of these people have production experience- we all know that young, hungry students work back stage and at front of house at SAFW- so the people with problems do understand what its like to work behind the scenes or have irate people demanding tickets. So the media can consider the other side of the fence.
I think you misinterpreted what I was trying to say. Yes, SAFW is the organisation providing the platform and I said as much? That wasn’t a point of contention at all, something I thought would be obvious. Anyway, what I’m saying is surely the individual designers should ALSO (and I did point this out originally) be held at least partially responsible for what THEY send out onto the runway? Yes, you go to a poorly organised concert and you blame the organisers, but if a band happens to be a totally rubbish live act or you think their music sucks, that’s first of all your opinion – not an indisputable fact, no matter how many people enjoy complaining with you (and you accuse those trying to defend SAFW of being sheep) – and second of all, the band surely has to be held accountable for their own creative work. In that situation, you’re more likely to say, “Nickleback sucked, their music is awful” than “Dang it, Big Concerts, it’s YOUR fault that Nickleback made some crappy music.”
Again, I reiterate: I’m not saying SAFW should take no responsibility, I am saying they cannot be held SOLELY responsible for the creative work of designers.
One more thing: you’re saying it’s a problem that the media need to arrange accreditation, if I understand you correctly? Accreditation is a necessary and established system when the media is covering any event. Anyone who feels it’s too difficult too fill in a few forms and get your shit together really shouldn’t be a part of the media anyway. Also if you know this is a problem, why not take precautions to double and triple check that the arrangements made are adequate for whatever you need, before you get there and find that there’s some oversight that means you can’t do your job. Take a little personal responsibility too.
Sure, it seems to me there are some things that SAFW needs to work on, but at the same time, it’s just too easy for those who can’t do their jobs properly to blame every single issue they run into on the organisers.
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