At the foundation of every groundbreaking moment there's a Pioneer. At the Pioneer Mode Conference, we are bringing you the individuals who are on a mission to transform industry pain points into exciting opportunities to grow, design, and revolutionize. Our Speaker Profiles are a snapshot of the people behind the ideas of the future.
How often do you come across thoughtful fashion criticism you can’t stop thinking about? If you find yourself fondly remembering any captivating essays you’ve read, drop us a line. We’d love to hear about them. And if you’re still wracking your brain searching for more than the occasional thought provoker, you are far from alone. In fact, you’re in good company, and that’s the problem. According to Dr. Lucy Collins “there are no good critics in fashion.” She argues that thoughtful pieces of criticism are so few and far between, the industry has warped itself into a vacuum that is free from consequence.
Lucy Collins is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York and a full time Fashion Theorist. Collins’ interests lie in the intersections of consumerism and sustainability, clothing and identity, and, fashion writing and theory. She says that fashion theory is critical for changes to come about in the fashion industry because “without theory it [fashion writing] is just trend reporting and bullshit.” From wanna-be bloggers flooded by freebies and access, to the catfights that make it hard to write anything negative without the fear of being shunned into silence, Collins asks where do the loyalties of fashion critics lie? In self-preservation, of course.
Though critics are in a vulnerable position, they should be the backbone of ethics in the industry holding it responsible for its actions or lack thereof. At FIT Collins urges to students to apply theory to fashion criticism, fashion journalism, and costume history in order to pave the way towards accountability. Through her teachings on fashion ethics Collins gives rise to a new kind of criticism that is more relevant as well as revelatory. Given this insight we can only hope students will realize that they have the power to become fashion’s new critics and ultimately, its saviors.