Marc Jacobs Inc. is a social media fan. Having read the interview Jacobs did with Suzy Menkes for Vogue, I did some online stalking and it would seem that Twitter – up to four accounts for different sides of the company – and Instagram have been, and are, very good to Mr Jacobs and his team. No successful, global organisation could suggest that they could survive without social media in this day and age. So, when I read this headline, I was a little surprised – having also seen Marc himself stand in for many a celebrity selfie on tropical holidays with Ms. Moss and Campell et al. But having read on, I can’t help but agree with his comments, to some degree.
“I am so appalled by the whole social media thing,” he said. “I don’t get it, it doesn’t appeal to me, neither does a computer, or working on a laptop. I don’t want to read a book on a device. I like a book with a hard cover, and text on a piece of paper. I like magazines. I don’t care if I carry around 100lbs of magazines, I’d rather do that than look at them on the internet. I am just not of that generation. I get the allure of it, but it just doesn’t appeal to me.”
He continued, by scalding younger designers who think they’re on the cutting edge of fashion; “You know, I am an older person now, I’m going to be 52 in a couple of months, but I look at young fashion and it seems like it’s all the same – the idea of what is edgy or cool. It’s style with no substance; it doesn’t really seem born of anything. I don’t see the rebellion or edge in it. It just looks like a cliche: salad oil in the hair, Frankenstein shoes and the trappings of punk and all these other things.”
The older generation of designers have long been bewildered by the use of social media, and feel that it suppresses the creative process. In 2012, Yohji Yamamoto told WWD that designers were losing creativity via their love of the internet. “We are losing those young people because we have too much information by media, especially through computers. We can see everything at the same time, so already they are spoiled too much. So when we have talk sessions with young designers or students, I tell them: ‘Be bright. Your eyes have become dirty.'”
Whether in a creative or more corporate environment, we are all guilty of being a slave to surfing – and not the Mediterranean sea kind. We spend hours ‘researching’ our chosen topic online instead of looking around us, or above us, or next to us. There is inspiration everywhere. And, online, there is distraction everywhere. You may have an amazing idea or concept, but once you Google this, you will inevitably find someone who has tried it, or a variation of it – as they say, nothing is new. But does this make you want to move forward and do it better, or sit back and feel disheartened that something similar already exists? The volume of information online can cloud our process and make us doubt our taste and originality.
Jacobs statement on ‘trappings of punk’ in new design is a little unfair. When it comes to fashion, the past is continuously reborn – look at the current re rebirth of the 70’s in almost every collection at London Fashion Week and beyond. But the use of online media to propel existing creativity, rather than enhance a potential idea, is something everyone, including Marc Jacobs Inc with their many social media accounts, should embrace. We cannot hide from it, we need it.
Just make sure to look up from that iPhone and see what’s around you.