LONDON – 1 Granary, the London-based education and design platform born out of a Central Saint Martins student-led magazine, has published its seventh issue with a heavy focus on fashion talents behind the scenes working in the studio system.
Unlike previous issues, which celebrated fashion talents in a traditional glossy title formula, the new issue “This is not about you(th)” is more like a book. It has no flashy fashion editorial. Instead, it’s filled with off-the-record conversations with designers at various levels, as well as more than 50 in-depth interviews with industry veterans.
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They include design directors, VIP associates, collection managers, heads of print, knitwear consultants, fabric buyers, product developers, and vice presidents of shoes, bags, or sunglasses who work for Jil Sander, Jacquemus, Prada, Lanvin, Fendi, Marni, Louis Vuitton, Alexander McQueen, Victoria Beckham, Burberry, The Row, Calvin Klein, Bottega Veneta, Sonia Rykiel, Margaret Howell, Balenciaga, Loewe, Cacharel, AZ Factory, and Oscar de La Renta, among others.
Olya Kuryshchuk, founder of 1 Granary, contended the issue serves as an in-your-face illustration of what she called the strained relationship between youth and creativity, saying it aims to reveal the uncomfortable truths hidden inside luxury house design studios, which are rarely talked about.
“In fashion, we are used to hearing only the voices of emerging designers with barely any experience or creative directors delivering their rehearsed answers. We wanted to look beyond the PR-approved faces of luxury brands and speak to senior employees who know this industry inside out. They are the foundation of this industry yet never had a chance to share their experiences. This issue centers on them, to celebrate their presence but also to offer the next generation of fashion creatives an essential resource with honest and transparent information about the industry they aspire to join,” she added.
Aya Noël, print editor of the 1 Granary magazine, who put together the issue over the past two years, claimed that, during editing, it became evident that “the industry these designers work in is nothing like the one we see represented in the media. A culture of secrecy still makes it impossible to have open and honest conversations about the health and future of fashion. It makes structural change regarding inclusivity, equality, and sustainability impossible.”
Noël noted that it was tough to convince people to go on the record, even if it was anonymous.
“Everybody recognizes that the fashion industry needs to change, but they’re also scared to lose their position speaking up about it. Many people who work in fashion, even in the most senior positions, feel powerless,” she contended.
Through this issue, Noël said she hopes it can inspire brands to reimagine the environments in which their teams work, and it can encourage in-house designers to voice their need for change and embody it.
“We also want to ensure that in-house designers are no longer the unseen forces behind the collections we all talk about. All this talent has been in the shadows for too long, and it’s time we recognize and celebrate their contributions and hear their voices,” she claimed.
Since its inception more than a decade ago, 1 Granary has an advocate via its annual print issue, website, and social media channels promoting emerging fashion talents from some of the most prestigious fashion schools every year.
But having seen many designers fail to sustain their careers, the need to foster young talent has emerged as one of the title’s primary issues for coverage.
Kuryshchuk, who self-funds this issue due to its nature, said she wants to “create something that has an impact and can cause change, to do something that goes beyond the ephemeral validation of industry insiders.”
For starters, 1 Granary earlier this year reached a partnership with The Bear Scouts, an international production and supply specialist that aims to provide access to technical innovations and implement sustainable solutions for young talents. The platform has also assisted in the development of multiple fashion design businesses, including Chopova Lowena, Knwls, Ranra, Paolina Russo, and Talia Byre.p
Kuryshchuk, who is Ukrainian and has been actively advocating against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine for the past 18 months, said such experience, plus the impact of COVID-19, pushed her to “rethink our work and our focus, committing only to projects and ideas we genuinely care about and not getting lost in the vortex of overproduction.”
“Emerging designers and aspiring fashion workers need more than a freelance gig after graduation or coverage of their first show. They need a healthy industry to support their growth and develop their skills for the next decades. With this print issue, we remain ferociously dedicated to young talent, demanding a fairer industry for generations to come,” said Kuryshchuk.
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