Fashion Image Maker Nick Knight Discusses the future of the fashion image, including discussions on the end of the catwalk show and the death of the printed fashion magazine as well as touching on the subject of sexual predators within the industry and the sexualisation of the fashion image. The discussion took place with Imran Amed, founder of Business of Fashion.
I have always been a big fan of Nick Knight. I have followed his work since coming across his images in the early 90’s, working with publications such as The Face, I-D and Arena. I was an early adopter of ShowStudio, which I followed almost from day one when it was just, what we would see now, a blog in 2000. In this discussion with Imran Amed, founder of Business of Fashion, Nick talks about the sweeping changes taking place within the fashion industry and particularly with how we view collections and the death of the fashion show & fashion magazines.
There is a lot in this podcast that I disagree with what Nick is saying. He questions whether the best way to show collections is through fashion film and not the catwalk or the fashion press. I agree fashion film can certainly add a dimension to a collection but I do believe that the designer feels the need to get across more than the structure of the clothing when putting forward a collection. That the image plays an integral part to putting forward an ethos of what the designer feels that season and how that can be portrayed to the audience.
Nick believes there is a resistance to change within the industry, brought about due to turmoil within the world, whether that be the Brexit vote or Trump being elected. But for me fashion has always been an outsider, and has always been at the forefront of expressing its anger at how the world can be. The fashion industry is not resisting change because it refuses to acknowledge fashion film is the only way it should be showing its collections. Yes, the way the world can now view collections has changed, especially though live streams and social media, but the narrative still remains the same – The designer has a story to tell that surrounds his collection, fashion film will only tell a part of that story. Editorial pieces, photography and catwalk shows will help tell the rest.
Nick also talks of the death of magazines. How he has spoken to editors at top fashion magazines who all believe the format is dead. Magazine sales have been dropping, and yet more and more very good titles are appearing on our magazine shelves. The mainstream fashion press may well be dying but there is a beautiful resurgence in publications producing fantastic photography and thoroughly thought out editorial pieces. A few of these publications even started as internet sites and moved into publication, BOF being a fine example. Nick mentions how magazines are not particularly nice objects, and asked why you would want to carry one around.
Another striking thing was the notion that in the 60’s & 70’s a photographer would be given 2 weeks by a magazine to produce 10 shots for an editorial piece, they would have the freedom to be more articulate in the images they chose to shoot, and now a photographer would only get 2-3 days and therefor not be able to produce something with as much merit. This really bothered me coming from somebody like Nick Knight, a photographer who in his early days produced some fantastic images for magazines that had no budgets, this didn’t, and doesn’t, stop people from being as creative as they could be. Also getting a shoot together in the 1960’s would have been so much harder than doing it today without emails, phones etc. The logistics are far easier now.
Although it may not appear to be the case, but I am still a huge fan of Nick knight and he is certainly somebody who is really pushing things forward in the industry and always has been, but something about this discussion bothered me a little – I think it was just the dismissive way he discusses print and the catwalk without really thinking about the bigger picture of what a designer wishes to come across each season.