The latest issue of UNDER THE INFLUENCE is almost entirely dedicated to sustainability in art and fashion. It has been said that the accelerating pace of fashion and it’s naturalization (and rationalization) under the guise of “seasons” is a recipe for disaster, and these themes are explored in several of the articles. From the feature on Socially Conscious Fashion Makers that sheds light on brads such as Edun, who now has the backing of LVMH, Veja, and Noir to the photo/interview feature on Marjorie Ellis Thompson’s art and science glacier archive, Project Pressure, to the startling reality revealed in No Go Kyoto; we are approaching a period where the Kyoto Protocol is expiring and there is nothing to take it’s place, which will bring on “a period where there is not international concord on arguably the greatest existential threat facing humanity.”
The email ping-pong between designers Konstantin Grcic and Ana Kraš leads us down an intriguing path, asking whether we really need new stuff, and what role industrial designers play in the context of our current cultural and environmental conditions.
The interviews with the pre-1970’s street art activist John Fekner and photographer Stuart Franklin explore the possibilities for the role of art as a mirror that shows our selves as part of nature and ourselves as the destroyers of nature.
One major theme that is left out (and that is systematically left out of, or marginalized as the hobby-concern of a few extremists, is the issue of non-human animals in the fashion industrial complex. Most certainly the elephant (or sheep and cow) in the room is that the production of leather and wool especially, have such staggering impacts on resource consumption and ecological devastation that it would seem obvious to address them critically – to seek out alternatives that are not the leading causes of GHGs and rainforest destruction and water pollution. Leather, however, is one of the sacred cows of the fashion industry. Along with fur, which did stain a few of the editorial pages in this issues, it is the premiere symbol of luxury. It is both insidious and obvious. I am always thrilled to see a fashion magazine take on crucial issues with such artistry, and shocked at the complete avoidance of addressing this opportunity that sits on one of the most powerful points of change-making leverage. In addition, the ethical implications of animals bred, trapped or hunted, siphoned into fashion objects, obscured and silenced in the fashion industrial complex, is a shameful evasion of our fatal attraction to our fellow earthlings.
Please check out UNDER THE INFLUENCE and celebrate them as one of the few intelligent, gorgeous, and compelling publications out there.