Updated: Mar 30, 2020
By what standard do we measure originality?
This question came to mind as I reviewed the Moschino Pre-Fall '20 runway show.
Typically, I'm excited to see Moschino's collections under the creative direction of Jeremy Scott. His designs combine my two favorite things, pop culture and fashion. However, this collection made me question the authenticity of his approach.
Let's celebrate the apparent wins of this show. It is the first runway show to take place at the Transit Museum to celebrate its 18th anniversary. The runway show highlighted New York City subway culture, including an exceptional 'Its Showtime' dance performance. Front row seats lined the narrow train cars to watch the show for a close-up view of every look. The show took a year of planning to ensure the proper execution and genuinely unique experience.
Despite the nostalgic essence of this line, it didn't incorporate anything modern or innovative. Some may argue that since Jeremy Scott isn't a New York native, then he doesn't have the proper background to spearhead a show with an MTA theme.
Jeremy Scott is originally from Kansas City, Missouri. He moved to New York City after high school to attend Pratt Institute, where he studied fashion design. Moving to New York City was his first big step towards achieving his dream.
Although this collection did not appeal to me, I believe his intention was to represent the idea of New York that attracts so many, the ideal New York that is associated with the American Dream. Yet, I can't help but question why we allow these high-end luxury brands to steal ideas and ultimately, lack originality?
The collection is a reflection of the current condition New York is in -gentrified, appropriated, and conflicted. There have been significant shifts in the New York City local communities. According to the Business Insider, Brooklyn's average rent has hit a record high of $3,000 per month and only continues to increase. Manhattan has been deemed the borough for the wealthy. Comfortable living requires a minimum salary of over $40,000 for a single person (And that's being modest).
Still, the pieces didn't feel authentic or new. The garments seemed oddly familiar since Dope Tavio and Mr. Moda of Hallamoda had created them 2-3 years before this year's Moschino Pre-Fall debut. The collection showcased oversized silhouettes reminiscent of the '80s and early hip-hop with little to no genuine innovation.
Picture (Left) by Moschino, Picture (Right) by Dope Tavio
The oversized metro card clutch instantly reminded me of the business card and logo used by Hallamoda. Dope Tavio has also been interested in fashion since high school, where he designed for local proms. Since the debut of his brand in 2017. He consistently creates oversized Avante-Garde pieces with a futuristic edge. Both designers specialize in creating custom art fashion pieces and have worked with Patricia Feilds. They also are strongly influenced by hip-hop and have a notable celebrity clientele.
With a show so thoughtfully planned, how likely is it that these similarities are just a coincidence. How can you claim to be influenced or inspired-by something while lacking an authentic approach? Where does inspiration stop and theft begin? How can an entire team be oblivious to copywriter infringement amid the process of creation? With a world population of 7.7 billion people, every thought can't be an original one.
People say the best flattery comes from imitation. But as an artist, it can be disheartening. Let's create a uniform standard that allows us to give these artists the credit they deserve.
Regardless, I still hope to see Moschino continue to create legendary collections and events that push the envelope of fashion. After all, he is known as "fashion's last rebel," and what's a rebel without a little controversy?
Homage or Appropriation? Review the collection and make your own decision.