A Conversation

Fashion no longer has time to marinate. There is no longer emotion in the collections because of the speed of fashion now; There is no time to absorb and appreciate the romanticism and feelings that go behind the clothes and collections.

Robin Givhan (the first fashion journalist to be awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 2006) opened the conversation held between herself, contributing Vogue editor Andre Leon Talley, and American couturier Ralph Rucci. Held in a small classroom of less than 150 people an intimate and open-to-the-public discussion on the fashion industry, where it is going, where it has come, the influence of the red carpet, and the negatives of being labeled an haute couture designer were only a few of the many things discussed in the hour.

Ralph Rucci, who has been designing his own label since 1981 shocked the audience by opening the conversation with his feelings towards being a couture designer and how it has worked against him by placing him in an elitist ivory tower and in turn causing many customers to not consider him when purchasing clothes, as the "haute couture" label carries such a reputation of ornate gowns and outrageous prices where in actuality Ralph Rucci's collections are very practical and wearable for the everyday woman. The only difference between his label and ready to wear labels is the technique in which his garments are sewn and the quality of the fabric used. 

The conversation then moved on to how the fashion industry now moves at such an astronomical speed because of technology, mass media, etc., and whether there is a loss of emotion behind the collections because of this. Are we even able to appreciate the clothes anymore, or do we just glance, decide in a split second if we "like it" or not, and then move onto the next thing? Ralph Rucci commented:

I don't care if people have time as I work at my own speed. I am not concerned about those that are concerned about the next trend, I don't work with trends, I am working with a language.

At the end of the hour the conversation was opened to the audience and many asked what Rucci recommended to anyone looking to make it in the fashion industry today.

Listen to the oracles of fashion as they are far and few. From there develop your own vision, and most importantly, learn humility. 

When Rucci said oracles he was referring to the handful of people within the fashion industry that do not concern themselves with the most current trend or A-list celebrity. They are the ones that have found their voice, their calling, and embrace their own vision. People like Andre Leon Talley. The oracles should not be ignored just because they aren't E! TV's top celebrities of the moment. A valid point to be made as I also feel that many people do get to wrapped up with who is wearing the most expensive, brand name "it" garment on the red carpet. Many people that are actual influential forces within the fashion industry are not A list celebrities, nor do they care to be. They are more concerned about the fashion and their own vision than celebrity. 

Overall the conversation was inspiring, motivating, and has put me in the state of mind of a driven young woman who will work her ass off to become the best at her trade. The future has great things in store for the young and restless, it's now our job to put in the work and as Ralph Rucci said, learn humility. 

Andre Leon Talley, Robin Givhan, and Ralph Rucci