Mastered With Tim Blanks

Mastered With Tim Blanks

WITH PROGRAMS IN EVERYTHING FROM PHOTOGRAPHY TO MAKEUP TAUGHT BY THE BEST IN THE BIZ, THE MASTERED NETWORK IS A QUICKLY GROWING SUPPORT SYSTEM FOR THOSE WHO WANT TO HONE THEIR CRAFT. V SITS DOWN WITH THE PROGRAM'S NEWEST PROFESSOR, LEGENDARY JOURNALIST TIM BLANKS, TO DISCUSS HIS NEW COURSE, AND THE STATE OF FASHION WRITING TODAY.

WITH PROGRAMS IN EVERYTHING FROM PHOTOGRAPHY TO MAKEUP TAUGHT BY THE BEST IN THE BIZ, THE MASTERED NETWORK IS A QUICKLY GROWING SUPPORT SYSTEM FOR THOSE WHO WANT TO HONE THEIR CRAFT. V SITS DOWN WITH THE PROGRAM'S NEWEST PROFESSOR, LEGENDARY JOURNALIST TIM BLANKS, TO DISCUSS HIS NEW COURSE, AND THE STATE OF FASHION WRITING TODAY.

Text: Jessica Schiffer

What is it about fashion that appeals to you as a subject more than others?

Tim Blanks: Because it incorporates everything. More than any other area I've ever worked in. Everything comes into fashion. It can swallow anything you can throw at it. You know. Music, movies, theatre, opera and so on. How do you feel fashion writing/critique has changed over the last 10-20 years, if at all?

TB: Now everybody can do it...that's a change. I think, to be honest, more people are aware of it. I think more people are aware of it as something that's possibly valuable. Some people believe that good writing can't be taught"“but this new class begs to differ. Why do you think taking a writing course is so important?

TB: This isn't a course, this isn't a program for people who are just starting out. Everyone who is on this course has already been doing this for a while, and I think they're already pretty well established in what they do so I agree that you can't...good writing, I mean grammar, all those things can be taught...but the things that make a good writer can't be taught. The sort of curiosity about the world, the way you see things. That's you, that's not something you can learn I don't think. Mastered isn't so much a writing course, this is a sort of education in opportunity perhaps. What is special about this Mastered course that might not be offered elsewhere?

TB: I think it's because it's for people who are already doing it. And so we're putting together their experience, my experience, and finding ways to turn that into something that carries them to the next level. Because I've been them, and you need to know that there's a way forward sometimes. And I think this program, the way forward is to see the opportunity that exists. And you know, if you think about why people do this, why people write to begin with, and what makes them do that more than anything else when all their friends are doing other things. It's nice to have a forum to talk about this [on Mastered's platform], to talk about why they do what they do and how they can make it better for themselves, how they can make it more meaningful. Other than signing up for this class, what would you suggest aspiring fashion writers do?

TB: Read, and just be aware that as a fashion writer you are in a position where you are recording the reality of now. That fashion reflects the world that we live in more than anything else. My funny little dream is I imagine people in hundreds or thousands of years reading these things as a record of the time. That, you know, you are what you wear, and when you're writing about that you're making, or recording, history. The fashion world seems to be at a turning point, with many in the industry questioning its pace and intensity. What's your stance on the matter?

TB: I agree that there's something very wrong. I think that in a funny way people colluded in this, they, people went along with this. They did more, they did what they were asked to do, they did more and more of the things they were asked to do...by people who...I wonder if it will ever break down where people actually analyze how this business became a paradigm for full scale exploitation of people's best instincts. I mean the amount of work that I do has changed.

At the same time there is this real focus on slowing things down, because that's the way people are. They see things going this way, the only reaction is to do them the other way. So things get fast, people want to do things slow. So I have been talking for a long time of a future that is all about dress makers and tailors. That people will go back...people talk about 'the hand' all the time, that people need to see how things are made. There's a connoisseurship in the way fashion is approached. Obviously that is setting aside the whole notion of Zara, and all that, the fast fashion. But I think maybe it's always been that way, you know, it's just when it's...now there's such a huge focus on what's right and what's wrong. I think maybe what's wrong has always been wrong it's just the focus that is new.

There's been some very high profile deaths and defections. And people blame fashion for that. I think when journalists start killing themselves, that might change the degree of debate. Who stands out to you in the industry right now (whether it be a designer, an editor, a publication, etc) as following a really different path, and why?

TB: What I love about Alessandro Michele at Gucci is that he just went for the more is more. I think he's completely nailed this weird thing, this thing in people that they need...that fashion is escapism. We've had so long of fashion being you know 'this is the grey marl uniform for the city' or you know whatever. Fashion as a kind of utilitarian tip. I think he's isolated this other thing that the world is shit at the moment, the world is a horrible place for women and gay men. And all these wonderful things happening at the moment are polarising the world and the community. There's more gay hate crimes now because of gay marriage. There's more anti-women violence because of women's advances. It's the way people are, they can't cope with free will. Humans beings are incapable of dealing with free will so they'd rather surrender to this. And so escape is...I think we saw it in London just in the last two days [at London Collections: Men], there were these two really strong strands of this completely protectionist, terrified, sort of slightly militant response, you know 'bunker down'. And then there was this 'go fucking wild'. And I think he just nailed that at Gucci. Which is this huge, industrial fashion house. And I think that fashion... I've always felt that's what fashion offers more than anything else. People call it 'the power to dream' which is the cliche, but it's true. That if you spent your day in some kind of factory outfit, and you could put on a silken robe and smoke a great big fat pipe of opium or something. It's the dream. So yes, Alessandro Michele because he's going to inspire people. Number one writing tip?

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