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Thread: Undercover / Undercoverism

  1. #121
    kitsch killer Faust's Avatar
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    Please stop feeding the troll.
    Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months - Oscar Wilde

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  2. #122

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    You've got an unusual definition for trolling, faust.

    I think Chilton has made some really good points and I don't see anyone presenting any particularly cogent arguments against it but I've tended to be more on the side of fast fashion in general than most on this forum and I think Uniqlo tends to be a good example of what fast fashion can be. The only real underlying argument seems to be that it's 'inauthentic' which in this day and age strikes me as trolling, if anything.

  3. #123
    kitsch killer Faust's Avatar
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    What the fuck are you talking about, no cogent arguments against it. EVERYBODY in the industry, EVERYBODY, knows that these are marketing ploys - the retailer probably loses money but gets people into the store, the designers makes money by prostituting his name. Not a single one of these collabs have produced anything of merit. I don't need some fucking layman keyboard cowboy to wax philosophical about this bullshit.
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  4. #124

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    I think I've made a similar point about the Lanvin for H&M merchandise actually looking surprisingly good when it hit the salesfloor - you could tell they didn't use some cheap substitute materials or finishes they wouldn't use on their usual product - anyway, with Lanvin, there is a lot of deconstruction in the make of the pieces and so it turned out to feasible, satisfying results for the most part - those dresses with elasticated waists in silk gazar or grosgrain come to mind - not a bad deal at all given the around-200€-pricetags these pieces retailed for. The same goes for some of the men's jackets - you wouldn't expect those to be fully canvassed as a Dior suit, but for a lightweight sports-constructed jacket you just throw over casually, it was pretty outstandingly detailed and made for it's retail price of no more than 150€.

    In terms of the quality, this excelled some of what Jil Sander was capable of doing for Uniqlo - They did well on the shirting (40€) and the outerwear (around 200€), whereas most of the other pieces were rather forgettable. Those pieces were nonetheless a good deal for what they retailed for (unlike some of the Rick Owens tees that are nowadays retailing for 200€ each and sometimes come with unstable seaming on the collar ribbing).

  5. #125
    kitsch killer Faust's Avatar
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    You can keep harping on how good Jil for Uniqlow until you are hoarse. Except some dress shirts that were merely passable, everything else was shit.

    Also, you are missing the point by a mile - Jun has stated his aversion to mass production, and now he is a part of it.
    Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months - Oscar Wilde

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  6. #126

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    Quote Originally Posted by Faust View Post
    You can keep harping on how good Jil for Uniqlow until you are hoarse. Except some dress shirts that were merely passable, everything else was shit.

    Also, you are missing the point by a mile - Jun has stated his aversion to mass production, and now he is a part of it.
    I think the point is, with high-end retail prices continuously rising towards the demi-couture realm (does anyone remember when people complained about Olivier Theyskens' prices at Rochas? Rick Owens is slowly but steadily reaching that realm... while the clothes are nowhere near the same workmanship) and 'bridge'/secondary lines filling the price environment that a lot of designer first lines were formerly marketed for (see Helmut Lang back when Helmut was still designing), it becomes more and more difficult to find decently designed and manufactured clothes in the middle market.

    What tires me about these discussions is that it always conjures extreme reactions and leaves very little place for pragmatic observations - or even critical observations of the clothing industry seen from several angles. While designer fashions are publicized far further in today's time as they were maybe 20 years back, we are also experiencing that no decent pair of shoes seems to be available below 800 retail while you have the most absurd sales on the high end market (60 - 70% off regular collection seems to become a normal habit among some of the larger retailers in the US)... even then, you don't have to look much further than the interest in the Classifieds thread on just how low you can find some high-end clothing being sold for.

    Something tells me that fashion is losing touch of the customer, or that the often discussed fashion tribalism is in fact so small, it might be more suitable to address the customer directly as couture has always done.

    I realize this is far extending the discussion from it's original starting point, but I felt this point would be valuable to raise.

  7. #127
    kitsch killer Faust's Avatar
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    It is a valuable point - maybe we should put it elsewhere.

    I am not sure what new I can say here - maybe someone else will, but a few points to reiterate.

    1) We are in a market economy - designers and stores (both are complicit) will charge what the market will bear.

    2) The recession wiping out a lot of middle class, the market is going back to how it actually always was, up until 50-60 years ago, super expensive and affordable.

    3) Inflation is driving prices up, there is no doubt about it. Prices of raw materials are skyrocketing - especially wool and cashmere, cotton as well, but artificially. Where it becomes tricky is when you start putting in multipliers through the supply chain and all of a sudden a 10% increase at point A because a 100% increase at point F.

    4) I am not sure that fashion is losing touch with reality. LVMH just posted record sales yet again - recession be damned. It seems rather that the fashion landscape is changing, that's all. It will probably end up like point 2.

    You seem to be implying that somehow these designer collaborations will save the day. They won't, because the result is the same mass produced inanities with a different name tag on them. They are not designer fashion, no matter how many photos Lagerfeld takes of them. What MAY save the world is young talented designers exploiting market inefficiencies that are caused by greed and arrogance. The higher the prices of established designers, coupled with decrease in quality, become, which points to their disdain for the consumer and fuck-you-pay-me attitude, the more opportunity will be there for others to step in. This is how companies like Honda, Google, Apple, and Netflix are born - they come into a marketplace where the established players are so thick with the fat of their profits and faith in the status quo, that they become complacent and arrogant.
    Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months - Oscar Wilde

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  8. #128

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    Does this collaboration really have to be ALL good or ALL bad? There is far too much splitting going on in this thread.

    I don't think that it's a foregone conclusion that +J was all shit except for the shirting, Faust. Although I don't think people think it was AMAZING BEST THING EVAR!!11 like you seem to suggest they do, it certainly had some good pieces of outerwear, etc. Some of it was good, some was bad--just as I suspect this UC x Uniqlo collaboration will be (and as most things in life are). I think some interesting tech-streetwear pieces could come out of this, and I've always enjoyed Undercover's subversive t-shirt graphics--though I hardly expect these things to win over the SZ crowd. At worst, there's always the possibility that more people will become interested in the concepts that Jun is working with. Undercover hardly seems like a name that will cause droves of fashion-plebes to bumrush the store, the way Lanvin or CDG x H&M did. At the same time, there is perhaps the risk that such a collaboration will destroy the "sanctity" of the brand name, though that seems to me to be more a matter of perspective than anything.

  9. #129

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    Quote Originally Posted by lmaozedong View Post
    Does this collaboration really have to be ALL good or ALL bad?
    probably not, but the main point, or the main target of criticism here is the integrity of a designer who has sworn against mass consumption and is now teaming up with a company literally named FAST RETAILING.

    Quote Originally Posted by lmaozedong View Post
    At worst, there's always the possibility that more people will become interested in the concepts that Jun is working with.
    seems unlikely - I think its safe to say that a majority of people who buy Uniqloxwhatever either already know the label and have bought it before, or don't know it and probably won't. for every 1 person out of 100 that become interested in UC because of this, there will be at least 1 that is dissapointed in Jun working with Uniqlo.


    Quote Originally Posted by lmaozedong View Post
    Undercover hardly seems like a name that will cause droves of fashion-plebes to bumrush the store, the way Lanvin or CDG x H&M did.
    come on.. you think most people who shop at H&M knew much or anything about CDG? There isn't a single store selling CDG in my country, and every H&M even in smaller cities sold out of the collection the day it came in, solely because of hype that was generated through ad campaigns and online. These kids lining up were first and foremost H&M customers, and lets face it, they still don't know anything about CDG even after they bought a crappy shirt.
    "AVANT GUARDE HIGHEST FASHION. NOW NOW this is it people, these are the brands no one fucking knows and people are like WTF. they do everything by hand in their freaking secret basement and shit."

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  10. #130
    kitsch killer Faust's Avatar
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    should post some of those hilarious youtube videos from the first CDGxHM days.
    Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months - Oscar Wilde

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  11. #131

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    that shit went way, way past the funny/sad territory, to straight up disturbing
    "AVANT GUARDE HIGHEST FASHION. NOW NOW this is it people, these are the brands no one fucking knows and people are like WTF. they do everything by hand in their freaking secret basement and shit."

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  12. #132

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    Quote Originally Posted by lowrey View Post
    probably not, but the main point, or the main target of criticism here is the integrity of a designer who has sworn against mass consumption and is now teaming up with a company literally named FAST RETAILING.
    Would it be fair to say that Undercover x Uniqlo is not the same thing as Undercover? And that the things that Undercover stands for, such as on that one label discussed earlier, can still stand true when we are talking only about Undercover? Or would that be too much to ask...

    Quote Originally Posted by Faust View Post
    I don't need some fucking layman keyboard cowboy to wax philosophical about this bullshit.
    I'm sorry, I can't help but laugh at this, regardless of who or what it's directed at and whether or not it's deserved, this shit is hilarious

  13. #133

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    Quote Originally Posted by lowrey View Post
    come on.. you think most people who shop at H&M knew much or anything about CDG? There isn't a single store selling CDG in my country, and every H&M even in smaller cities sold out of the collection the day it came in, solely because of hype that was generated through ad campaigns and online. These kids lining up were first and foremost H&M customers, and lets face it, they still don't know anything about CDG even after they bought a crappy shirt.
    No, people don't know the CDG that we all know and love--but CDG has a lot more exposure to the common people than I would imagine Undercover would through (mostly bad) stuff like Play, those zip wallets, and all the other collaborations that they've participated in the past. Undercover (at least to me) seems like a much more underground cult brand. You do make, a point, though--many of the people who will buy this stuff probably will not ever be seriously interested in the brand or in the philosophy behind it. My point is that it's quite possible that a minority would, though.

  14. #134

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    Not to invalidate the depth and breadth of this discussion, but I find it rather, I don't know, interesting how much people have to say on this. It's just that I've never given two shits about these designer collaborations, one way or another, because I don't see them as really having anything to do with the designer's high-end line (besides referencing it). Considering how much I love CDG, for example, I just can't find it in myself to take the time or energy to be offended by, let alone pay much attention to, their collaboration with H&M. I mean, I do things I don't always believe in for money too - although I try to keep it to a minimum.

  15. #135
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    I dont think we can just blame the market economy only for the super high price of designer rtw. In most case, the high price is nothing more than to keep the stuffs elusive and suggest an air of luxury.

    I usually like the collaborations but rather with less known designers, such as projects that Uniqlo used to do in the past. The big name collab are driving the brand blind crazyness and perhaps eat out market share of young and less known designers.

    I think the big brands shld concentrate in more effective production to lower their price - if they really want to make their fashion affordable for clients. Rather than make few super high priced clothes and then sell tons of cheap copies with H&M or who ever else.

  16. #136

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    I don't think it's of importance to keep in mind the reason that Lanvin probably wanted to boost fragrance sales when teaming up with H&M for their collaboration or that it gave H&M a certain excitement that they would normally never manage to generate from selling generic clothing basics... I don't take those points into account when I look at the clothes based on a purely quality-informed level - Which is precisely what I have been trying to point out: That when seen entirely from a sober, construction, fabrics and finish-informed point of view, they did a fairly good job on the clothing, which was a huge improvement on the designer's collections that were previously made with H&M.

    On the other side of the business, you can look at the quality from secondary lines manufactured by licensees such as Ittierre or .Sinv and you will know what I mean about bad quality marketed at a much higher pricepoint... So yes, getting back to the afore mentioned Lanvin collection, I found the tailored men's jackets (block-fused) were made of nice fabrics and finished better than, say, what Raf Simons' has made lately in countries such as Bosnia or whereever some of his mainline had been outsourced to, whereas the dresses were made of substantial silk gazar or technical taffettas not unlike those you would normally find in Lanvin's mainline clothing. The finishing on these was fine, down to the choice of zips and other accessories. I did notice the misstep in the footwear they made as well as the horrid plastic jewelry but among the entire line up of the range, there were a few great finds that were a really good deal far beyond the modest prices these were sold for. Production was also mostly done in Romania and not China - But even then, you have brands like Givenchy or Yohji that produce parts of their clothing in China and that doesn't even lead them to better price points...

    Of course I don't see these collaborations as being the answer to ever rising high-end designers prices, but with high fashion informing a much larger audience than it used to maybe 30 years ago, it is safe to say there is a significantly larger interest and awareness in designer's fashion that probably didn't exist to that extend before. I think these collaborations are first and foremost aiming at a customer that would love to buy a piece of Lanvin, Stella McCartney or whoever else is the designer but cannot afford the prices of their main lines, except for when there is a clearance sale. The fact that these clothes were worn also by people in the industry (similarily to the successful Christopher Kane for Topshop range) shows that the clothes had style and decent enough quality to be worn with other high end designers.

  17. #137

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chilton0326 View Post
    And as for Jun's comments, he simply wants everyone to care about good design, and he was disappointed by the end product from other designers' past "fast fashion" collaborations (just as you have been). He criticized his fellow designers' past efforts, but in no way did he criticize the underlying principle that's supposed to be behind such collaborations...
    Jun has specifically criticized collaborations altogether by saying they are too business oriented and lack soul, and that he would not do one. Undercover has taken jabs at the entire mainstream fashion industry, even the consumers of it.

    This ‘unreal’ system is sustained by the fashion and marketing industry. On the other side mass produced and cheap clothes now determine fashion trends. But is there any passion embedded in this soulless mass production of cheap garments? Promotion and marketing consume most of the money the sales of these clothes generate. Ordinary consumers are attracted to fast fashionchain stores and even form long queues outside them. Money has become the new authority, this is the new trend. Everything has become associated to money. Is this what fashion is ultimately about?

    what part of this do you not understand?


    Quote Originally Posted by Chilton0326 View Post
    And lastly, is it really so offensive that some people can appreciate art and good design without knowing the names behind the works ? A person need not know Undercover or CdG, yet still have the intellectual capacity to appreciate a nice-fitting pair of pants, or a clever t-shirt design.
    this is incredibly naive. do you think those thousands of people lining outside a H&M or Uniqlo rushed in, punching other people on the way, for a fucking "nice-fitting pair of pants"?

    this is not about about whether or not there will be a nice pair of pants in the collection, or if 1 out of 200 customers will value them instead of queues and ad campaigns. we are talking about integrity and blind hype-consumerism.
    "AVANT GUARDE HIGHEST FASHION. NOW NOW this is it people, these are the brands no one fucking knows and people are like WTF. they do everything by hand in their freaking secret basement and shit."

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  18. #138

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    Exactly. What a few of us have been trying to say is that this argument is not about the success or failure of the clothes from a design point of view. It is about the hype-driven mindless consumerism of a fast fashion collaboration that Jun professed to be against.


    Quote Originally Posted by Chilton0326 View Post
    The only benefit I see to Jun is the pleasure of dressing more people, as well as the challenge of trying to succeed where other peers have failed. (It's also possibly just a case of him working more as a mentor to some of the young Japanese talent who joined Uniqlo as a result of his ad for them. He's at an age where working like Rei as a mentor to young designers might have some attraction.)
    Quote Originally Posted by Chilton0326 View Post
    Just name the profession -- law, medicine, theology, education -- and you can find people who don't work for the paycheck, but who work to satisfy an inner need. I personally put Jun in this camp. He would still create (garments, dolls, furniture) even if no one buys his work, and even if his 36 stores in Japan close.

    As for Jun's own motivation behind this Uniqlo collaboration, I have no idea. But I don't think all punks sell out. And I don't think it's bourgeois to genuinely want to dress "the ordinary consumer" too.
    You say that you have no idea about Jun's motivation for wanting to do this collaboration, but you keep going on and on about how Jun wants to do this because of the challenge. That he wants to succeed where others failed. That he wants to make good design available to everybody and so on. Why do you think so? Is there some interview where he states his desire to do such things? Or is it speculation?

    I agree with you that in any profession, there are people who don't work for the money. But let's be honest, these fast-fashion collaborations are about making a quick buck. You wouldn't find yourself in a brothel unless you're there to fuck.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chilton0326 View Post
    And lastly, is it really so offensive that some people can appreciate art and good design without knowing the names behind the works ? A person need not know Undercover or CdG, yet still have the intellectual capacity to appreciate a nice-fitting pair of pants, or a clever t-shirt design.
    No, it's not offensive at all, but please be realistic. That is not the case here. The people who lined up for the CdG collaboration and then bum rushed the store as soon as the doors opened had never felt the fabric or tried the items on to judge whether or not they were a nice-fitting pair of pants. Now, I'm sure there were some people who lined up for the potential of finding a nice pair of pants, ie.- they saw the pics online and thought it looked nice, but they weren't going to buy it unless it felt nice and fit well. But the videos showed that the majority of the people just grabbed everything in sight, in whatever sizes their hands managed to get a hold of, and bought them without trying. And then most of that stuff ended up on ebay the same night at higher than retail prices. That is just blind consumerism, and honestly, I don't know if it will be any different for an Undercover collaboration, regardless of how nice/crappy the items are from a design point of view.

  19. #139

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    Jun's collaboration with Nike is different. Nike is not exactly a fast-fashion store. Sure, they sell a lot of hyped items, but they also have the technical know-how to design items that enhance performance. Also, the gyakusou items were not that affordable. They weren't marketed for the masses.

  20. #140

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nikov View Post
    You wouldn't find yourself in a brothel unless you're there to fuck.
    but perhaps the nice people of the brothel want to show that they don't really care about sex or money, and they are inviting people over for tea and lengthy intellectual discussions?

    no?
    "AVANT GUARDE HIGHEST FASHION. NOW NOW this is it people, these are the brands no one fucking knows and people are like WTF. they do everything by hand in their freaking secret basement and shit."

    STYLEZEITGEIST MAGAZINE | BLOG

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