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Wednesday, July 30, 2014


Tuesday was a crazy day on twitter regarding the Gavin Rajah dress situation; seriously, a shit storm. First up I have to make it clear that this is not a piece about whether he is guilty or not. That trial is being tried on facebook and twitter streets for now. A few are sending messages of support, some are expressing frustration and disappointment, many are hurling insults; it’s got all the best or worst (depending on how you feel about these things) elements of social media outrage.

What I do care about though is the airtime that local fashion gets on popular media outside of fashion magazines, which is miniscule to be honest. But of course, add a hint of scandal and voila! So, having been at the show, imma take advantage of this moment to show you pics from the rest of his show. Love ‘em, hate ‘em, that’s your business boo, I am just showing it to you. After all, the man did show 78 looks, it would be a pity if the country saw only one. I can’t show you all of them of course otherwise this post would take too long to load, but I’ve added quite a lot.

Much has also been said on twitter about the silence of the fashion industry, especially key editors. I understand the lack of reaction, or at least the considered reaction of some. Also, come on now, is that what we really want? Knee jerk reaction editors throwing in their 140 characters without due diligence so we can have a good old mob fest on twitter? Nah, I think that would be dodge. Although not everyone is a fan of Gavin Rajah’s work, many have followed it closely for years. I know a few have taken him up on his offer and will visit his studio. Some have contacted him for comment, which he has provided. I can’t say whether anyone is doing a Deborah Patta/3rd degree style piece on the issue tho.

In the same breath, I will also say that I understand the need to hear from fashion media voices. There are a lot of occasions in our fashion industry when things that should be said are left unsaid. So for many this seems like the perfect opportunity to demand that something be said. As the story develops, or as social media outrage moves on to the next topic on the news cycle I also hope to hear more considered opinion, and further discourse on our fashion industry in general. Sadly, by then the audience will have been reduced dramatically. 

However, I think Marie Claire editor Aspasia Karras probably captured the sentiment of a lot of people who have followed Gavin Rajah's career best when she penned her letter, "What is disappointing in the current debate surrounding the Gavin Rajah Summer 2014 collection is that there is no reason for Mr Rajah to be venturing into this territory. He has demonstrated his ample skills for original and technically superior workmanship over many years, and I personally admire and delight in his work and flair, so i am baffled and saddened that this 'lookalike' situation has happened and I am sure he has a very good explanation."

Like Aspasia, I have also delighted in his work and flair. Some of the tweets I read have explicitly discarded him as a mediocre designer. Whilst I may not be ready to stand behind his version of the events that led him to that dress, I will happily defend him on this point. Call him what you want, but mediocre he is not.

I visited his studio just a week prior to his show to preview the range for one of three pieces I wrote on three designers in order to share a sneak peak into the MBFWCT shows with readers. He took me through his thinking regarding Japanese inspiration as stated in that article. The handwork on those garment was stunning, including the now infamous dress. I loved it so much that we both ended up choosing it as the dress to shoot him next to, as per the pic at the end of this post. So this whole thing has me feeling like I'm living through the stages of the Kübler-Ross model, and I'm on stage one. Fuck. I'm still hoping it'll be resolved before i get to stage four.  


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