Paradox, Promise, Possibility
IAC’s 20th Annual New York Fashion Conference
November 8 – 9, 2018
The Museum of The City of New York
In the 20th New York Fashion, Jewelry + Design Conference, we considered the times in which we were living, a swirling vortex suggesting constant change and possibility, characterized by uncertainty. The vortex of contemporary fashion, a product and a mirror of that broader context, was the specific whirlpool into which we jumped head-first: dizzying and disorienting, yes, but also dazzling and transporting. Whether through disruptive experimentation, the radical use of cutting-edge technologies, or astonishing cross-functional collaborations, we were swept off our feet. But we were not simply caught in a maelstrom of novel design, novel techniques, novel materials, and novel garments. We were caught as well in a revolution in how contemporary fashion was sold. We were caught in a communications revolution, as sellers sought new ways to capture the consumer’s attention. Social media might have reigned, but other approaches, such as narrative film and photography that told a story, putting objects in compelling contexts, overtly sought to leave behind the distractions of social media, as well as the limitations of conventional print and television advertising. So why the revolution, the upheaval? Because we wanted it. And we would have our revolution customized, thank you very much. And we wanted it fast, delivered—or so it seemed—even before we completed our on-line order. The shifting of the ground beneath our feet was not to be feared. Not least when it entailed a growing recognition of the environmental impact of human activity across the fashion industry and the importance of the chain of custody. Not least when it entailed an increased understanding of the value and contribution of diversity in everything we did. Disruption, after all, gave us Dior. But despite the sturm, despite the drang, some things didn’t change. Authenticity would remain prized: thus a return to natural dyes and fibers, to hand production, and the recognition that when it came to diamonds and much else, “real is rare.” Welcome to the Vortex. The Louis and Lena Minkoff Foundation was gratefully acknowledged for its generosity. Initiatives in Art and Culture expressed sincere thanks to the Hilldun Corporation, to Platinum Guild International, and to UNLEASHED for their generous sponsorship (as of September 29, 2018).