In an industry where many media outlets censor themselves to maintain relationships with advertising clients and PR departments, the tFS Forums have ruffled a few feathers over the years. Critics have sometimes accused community members of being uninformed and brash, unaware of how they might be affecting the feelings of real people, and unconcerned with the lasting, Googlable nature of off-the-cuff Internet posts. (Many instances of this criticism — and its counter-criticism — have, of course, been documented in the Forums.) Fashion industry professionals at the top of their game are often so unaccustomed to negative feedback that last Fall, for example, a top designer literally took out an ad because he thought a fashion critic said something mean about him. Can you imagine behavior like that ever being tolerated by another creative community? Considering how, as a whole, the tFS Forums are populated by thoughtful, funny and engaged members and run by a team of hyper-vigilant, ever-devoted moderators according to a strict set of standards, you'd think most designers (or stylists or models) could tolerate some constructive criticism — and even the handful of low blows.
The extent to which fashion producers are supportive of active discussion and honest feedback on their work, in the Forums or anywhere else, is (at the very least) a gauge of their maturity. On this score (and on many others, but we'll leave that for some other post), Dries Van Noten is a shining star.
In a video interview with French fashion blogger (or as the Parisians say, blogueuse) Garance Doré which went online today, the Belgian designer talks about reading tFS after showing his collections: "I go on [The] Fashion Spot to see how people react. All these things for me, it's part of the modern times, so why not?"
Plenty of models (like Coco Rocha) and stylists (like Edward Enninful) have long admitted to reading their own threads, but I think this is the first time a big-D Designer has come out as caring about what the Internet peons think. Anyway, clearly he's charming and also the antithesis of a hack.
Watch! (His comments about tFS are at the 8:20 mark.)
Disclaimer: Obviously I work for The Fashion Spot.