Editors’ letter


Too Long Didn’t Read. As current hashtag dismissals go, it’s right up there with the best (or worst) of them. A kind of sulky teenager’s ‘yeah, whatever’, fuelled by our ever-decreasing attention span. And while it’s hardly news to suggest that social media doesn’t exactly champion long-form reading or carefully deliberated opinion, the on-the-spot ‘love-it/hate-it’ rhetoric it promotes is having an increasingly malign influence on fashion.

Take Miuccia Prada as a pretty robust example of how #TLDR syndrome may be affecting designers. During the conversation she had with Raf Simons for this issue (p.70, 9,446 words), Mrs. Prada predicts that her comments will get taken out of context, distorted, shared on social media, and reduced to one inaccurate headline, leaving her and her company to be globally lambasted within hours of publication. Her solution? ‘Self-censorship’ or simply ‘ceasing to speak in the public domain’. The consequence? ‘Generic statements’ or ‘total isolation’. From Miuccia Prada? Ouch.

Burberry has never been shy of flexing its digital immediacy, yet within seconds of Christopher Bailey’s see-now-buy-now announcement in February, it nonetheless felt like the entire industry had waded in, offering only the kind of polarizing statements that characterize so much of today’s public ‘debate’.

Don’t get us wrong – we love the digital world (if you visit www.system-magazine.com, you’ll see that we’ve even got round to digitalizing our content). We also love instinctive opinion. And yes, we love a bit of social media Schadenfreude as much as the next troll. But if all this leads fashion to temper its flights of fancy – where the less likely we are to upset anyone, the better it is for business – we’ll all wake up in the near-distant future bland, beige and bored.

Before that happens, though, try to find 25 minutes to read Central Saint Martins student Hannah Rogers’ 8,260-word interview (p.290) with Christopher Bailey, conducted over a period of three months. You’ll find that given the time and context in which to express himself, Bailey – like Mrs Prada, and many other designers – makes a compelling and wholly rational case for what he thinks makes sense.

Taken from System No. 8.