I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book. - Groucho Marx

Fashion: Communicating with the Times

by Network Awesome
Oct. 6, 2011

Karina Griffith is a Carribean Canadian with a Bachelors in Journalism (ehem, BJ!) and a Masters in Feature Film.  She came to Berlin in 2004 to produce a short documentary for the Berlin Today Award.  In 2007, she came back to stay, and started working in the designroom for a German fashion brand, scouting trends and curating collections.  Since then, she has been trying to make sense of the switch in her blog, www.filmisfashion.com.  When she’s not pondering the connection between mode and movies, she plays soccer, practices turkish at the corner bakery, learns guitar and yes, she still makes short docs. For us, she put together an awesome show about fashion in the 1960s. Since she's awesome, we asked her to answer a few of our questions about her connection to fashion...


NAmag: How did you get interested in fashion? Is there a story there or did it just happen organically?

My mother is such a stylin' clothes horse.  Looking at old pictures of her back in the day, I fully understand my current love of fashion.  I remember going to the mall (sometimes more than one) with my mom and my sister almost every saturday...it sounds horribly suburban and materialistic, but looking back, my mom needed a sort of passive way to spend time with her two pre-teen daughters, and get us out of the house so my dad could cook dinner.

Actually, he was also an instrumental figure in my early fashion education.  Every month, my dad would buy the latest issue of Seventeen magazine and hide it somewhere in the house for me to find. Can you just picture this big black dude at the cash register with a teeny mag every month?!  What a sweetheart.

Later, when I moved to Berlin, fashion magazine were a great way to learn German.  Bold headlines and lots of pictures...I've always loved the curatorial aspect of 'zines.  It's something I try to bring to www.filmisfashion.com

NAmag: What is it about fashion that excites you? Is it something cultural and/or personal? Or is it something aesthetic about fashion itself?

Not to get all religious on you, but in the first book of the bible, when they talk about original sin, the first thing Adam and Eve do when they acquire knowledge and mortality is reach for some twigs and design the very first outfits for themselves.  The original Project Runway!  So right from the beginning, we were communicating with each other through clothing...and fashion reflected politics and social beliefs. (GOD: "what are you wearing?!")

We all have a moment of creativity when we wake up and adorn ourselves to face the day. 

NAmag: One thing I started to realize as I was watching the show was JUST HOW MUCH was going on in fashion in the 60s! So many wildly different textures and shapes and patterns and inspirations! How would you characterize it as a period in fashion and what draws you to that era in particular?

People had so much to say!  Mod is, and always will be about the future, our fashioning of it.  I've been reading about paper dresses, disposable power-printed clothing that made a short impact in the mid-sixies.  The idea was to wear the bright, patterned dress once, then cut it up to use as an apron or serviettes.  It sounds crazy to us now, but what facinted me is that they were pushing boundaries...and they were thinking about the cycle.

NAmag: I also found myself thinking about a lot of the paired concepts of glamour and celebrity - all these famous people walking around in wildly lavish, exciting locales. How do the clothes themselves play against the people inside them and the world they inhabit?

Celebrity is connected to wearing one signature piece over and over again. Jimi Hendrick's jacket, Mary Quant's bob, Twiggy's mini...if you make it yours, you can become iconic.  We opened up to having more role models in the sixties.

NAmag: I don't think we can talk about fashion in the 60s without talking about sex (and who would want to really?) - so, what do you think was the legacy of this period in fashion? 

I love how the reporter in the last segment laments the un-fashioning of the mini...the bohemian styles of the early 70s brought longer hemlines and more "cotton modesty".  The mod period brought the mini, and that exposed a delightful part of the female body that was usually covered up after adolescence.  To display your thighs was youthful and sexual.

That fits with the naive, and optimistic view of the future that we see in many of the designs.  So much of what we imagined then has been fulfilled, if not just to satisfy our inner child that longed for it watching The Jetsons.



Questions by Network Awesome writers and editors. We're a lot of fun - you can find us at apocalypse-themed parties, museums of science and industry, and snarky media-obsessed websites.