Editors’ letter

Fluidity is fashion’s word du jour.

Which is no surprise, given how swiftly things now have a habit of either emerging or vanishing. And for better or worse, the beliefs we hold dear feel increasingly fleeting. How we navigate and adapt to change has, it seems, become the primary barometer to success and longevity in fashion. Which is why we’ve chosen to explore it in this issue of System.

Take, for example, the heady rise of Chinese social-media stars, three of whom grace our covers. It’s a telling example of quite how significantly focus can shift – in society, economics, technology, as well as fashion. And while Mr. Bags, the Beijing-based blogger, can now sell $500,000 worth of co-branded Tod’s bags in just seven minutes, in Western countries entire brands and businesses are succumbing to crippling downturns in fortunes.

Meanwhile, Juergen Teller’s intimate photographs of Marc Jacobs – veiled in dense clouds of vape smoke, in his New York home – have their own multi-layered back story. The last time Teller photographed Jacobs chez lui, the designer’s principal residence was in Paris; he was juggling two houses (of the fashion variety: his own and the behemoth that is Louis Vuitton), and he was still happily chain-smoking Marlboro Lights. Alexander Fury’s accompanying interview with Jacobs is a touching examination of what the essence of fashion can truly mean to a designer faced with the uncertainty of change.

Indeed, objects like the one you’re holding are subject to their own turbulent times. Which led us to ask 50 of the industry’s leading magazine editors a question: ‘What can print do that digital cannot?’ Their often passionate responses evoke feelings of permanence, history, nostalgia, and defiance.

These words seemed suddenly both heightened and meaningless when, as we were closing this issue of System, on an early Parisian evening in mid-April, the unfathomable, tragic news seeped across the city: Notre-Dame de Paris was burning down. As we watched this monument of beauty and belief for centuries almost disappear in just a few hours, we once again asked ourselves: in the end, is anything truly built to last?

Taken from System No. 13.