Among the industry’s most esteemed and insightful voices, Tim Blanks has been observing, reporting on and making sense of fashion for some three decades. Currently, he is editor-at-large for the Business of Fashion, which he joined in 2015 after holding the same role at Style.com where his cogent and lively reviews were always considered must-reads. To some, however, Blanks will always be known as the host of Fashion File, a television program that, by bringing all facets of fashion to the world, inspired many in this ‘biz to pursue their dreams.
To what extent do you think fashion is about proposing/selling dreams? How might this have a positive effect on people?
It’s a bit of a cliché, isn’t it? But if fashion aims to offer you different ways of being you, of exploring different identities, I guess that’s some kind of an ideal, which could be construed as a dream. Options, opportunities – they’re positive. But aspiration usually meets unattainability and unaccountability at some point, especially in an industry as bottom-line-transactional as fashion. And then the dream becomes a nightmare.
What do the dreams that emerge through fashion/creation tell us about our reality?
Some fashion reflects, some fashion projects. Given the overwhelming nature of our “reality” over the past two years, the two strands have come together to offer escape as both reflection and projection. [It’s] telling how significant dreaming has become during the pandemic.
What is one trend or item of clothing that will define the coming year?
Given that the coming year will be defined by careening social, economic and political conflict, all under the umbrella of a worsening climate crisis, i could imagine something protective defining the year in fashion. Alternately, something bold, nothing-to-lose, last-gasp, fuck-you defiant. The spirit of Seditionaries! But you know in your heart it will be the usual potpourri of something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue – that whiskery-old wedding tradition marking humankind, hitching itself to the End of Days.
How does this visual speak to your dreams of fashion?
Change of heart about caption
Freedom 72: Remake/Remodel
This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.