"A white dude getting credit for a thing that already exists…"
The world sure do love a bitchy critic. Personal favs, AA Gill and Rex Reed, the former doing over restaurants, the latter, film.
Describing the shrimp-and-foie-gras dumplings at a very well regarded NY restaurant, Gill wrote, “What if we called them fishy liver-filled condoms? They were properly vile, with a savor that lingered like a lovelorn drunk and tasted as if your mouth had been used as the swab bin in an animal hospital.”
The New York Times’ Culture and Styles reporter and Menswear critic Guy Trebay, is cut from a similar if cheaper cloth. Anna Wintour’s face is “vulpine”; describing Lady Gaga’ style, she has barged “right past imitation to outright larceny.”
And so on.
One man who didn’t feel Trebay’s claws in a recent review of his clothing label Stan (jackets $1500 etc) is the surfer and model Tristan Detwiler.
In the story, Men’s Wear Is on a Quilt Trip, Trebay describes Detwiler as “a handsome surfer with apostle’s locks, a silver thumb ring and a palm tree tattoo on his hand” and Detwiler’s hand-made clothes, fashioned from old quilts, as something reminiscent of the great designers, Raf Simons, Ralph Lauren, Junya Watanabe etc.
A glowing endorsement while skewering other new designers.
“(Stan) was a standout in a day of disappointing designer efforts: stuff like the skirts, skorts and knit tunics from Chelsea Grays, garments so laborious tattered they looked like the aftermath of a moth banquet; or Carter Altman’s Carter Young men’s wear staples organized around some sadly hoary signifiers of a nostalgia-steeped New York; or Aaron Potts’s APotts collection of clothes so intentionally without reference to secondary sexual characteristics they made you itch for a Cardi B video; or ONYRMRK, a new Los Angeles label designed by Mark Kim and Rwang Pam, whose layered plaid puffer parkas (try it three times fast) underscored fashion’s growing westward drift.”
Detwiler self-describes as “an artist and storyteller. That’s what I believe in. Fashion is the easiest way to tell my story.”
Now, social media has hit back with accusations of sexism and white male privilege.
Writes @dietprada, two-and-a-half million followers,
In December, NYT reported that sewing was “back” because men were publicly participating, calling it a “long-neglected home art”, though home sewing’s popularity has on the rise for years, mostly led by women. Why does it take men, especially “handsome” ones with “apostle’s locks”, to validate it?
Stan is hardly the first line to make clothing from discarded quilts. In fact, the overall look begs comparison to the female-founded label @bode, launched by Emily Adams Bode in 2016. Her early one-offs caught the industry’s attention for their unusual level of refinement so often lacking in upcycled clothes. She also presented a new level of cohesion and narrative, building a world with pieces picked from the flea markets and even linen closets of her own childhood. ⠀
Even the Times’ own readers took issue with the piece.
“Something feels amiss in this article, with the unnecessary disparaging comments on other young & new designers (many of named being a combination of woman & poc) in order to positively highlight another designer… who is noted in the article to not be doing anything of particular uniqueness… and who happens to be a white male of generic attractiveness… The writer mentions Emily Bode’s designs with admiration, but anything short of those praises would be insulting as Detwiler’s designs share more than a passing similarity to Bode’s who is also a new designer with a couple extra years under her belt. The doppelgänger effect between the two’s work is so striking it makes me wonder why this even article exists. Why praise him, and through what lens is the writer looking through that makes him do prepared to tear down those other designers to support this nonsense?”
The takeaway here is two-fold, I’d suggest:
One, being a ravishing surfer with a apostle locks gets you a long way in the fashion world and, two, is there not an endeavour, an art, that hasn’t been gang-raped, mercilessly violated, by white male privilege?