Is menswear's ego too big for criticism?
Thanks for your efforts to capture this—it’s emergent and needs to be grappled with by more people. There is certainly a difficulty in the “ability of a community to support nuance in criticism.” And what we’re calling a community is not one homogenous thing; it is brand marketers, manufacturers, retailers, consumers and pundits. Can it be any surprise that when a brand markets a visual idea and a pundit is critical in written form, the brand response is confusion? The brand is trying to reach a consumer that feels warmly to the message for an exchange of dollars. This critical discussion does happen, but it is behind the scenes with trusted colleagues and can be quite brutal. Most “brands” in this space (often only made up of a handful of people) are not in the habit of mixing these channels.
Let me extend a little further. I’ve noticed that in this community - yourself included - there is a real resistance to engage the field underneath. Most seem to wear their self-trained badge of courage and spurn any academic link at all. What marketer is reading and using concepts of social psychology of clothing? What designer is engaged in a meaningful way with historical collections held at universities? While we’re discussing nuanced critical dialogue in clothing, maybe we should start by learning something from Susan B. Kaiser of UC Davis first...she’s been writing about this content since 1985.