In an age where designers are celebrities and labels are fashion, The New York Times highlights a trend of designers atypically and unpretentiously promoting their lines, citing Martin Margiela, “fashion's invisible man,” and Andre 3000 - or, in this case, Andre Benjamin.
“An anomaly in an industry that places enormous value on the image and accessibility of its personalities, Mr. Margiela has maintained an astonishing elusiveness," Eric Wilson writes. "He refuses to grant face-to-face interviews and has rarely been photographed, a provocative stance intended to emphasize two dogmatic principles: first, that Mr. Margiela's designs, as confounding as they may be, should speak for themselves; and, second, that the work he shows is inherently the product of a collaborative team, not one person.”
Andre, unlike many of his design counterparts in the music business, except maybe Gwen Stefani, would rather not use his high-profile, musical persona to promote and thus define his new clothing brand. The story cites other examples, including William Rast by Justin Timberlake and Edie Rose by Rachel Bilson.
“By designing under an assumed name, Mr. Benjamin is reflecting the latest trend in celebrity fashion, which is for celebrity designers to masquerade as nobody designers, and thereby appear to be more authentic than opportunistic,” Wilson notes.
The success of the promotional tactic does, of course, rely on the consumer - whether mass market, niche, high-end, or low-end. But to see celebrities act like this is a nice change of pace.
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