Are Fashion Shows Dead?

The Fashion Show History Theory and Practice, book by Gill Stark, Bloomsbury Publishing
Gill Stark’s landmark study of fashion shows, including interviews of leading designers and observers of the contemporary fashion world

London — Gill Stark’s long anticipated study of fashion shows is now out.  Stark, the Assistant Dean and Head of the School of Creative and Liberal Arts at the Regent’s University London, with previous engagements at AIU London and the London College of Fashion, completed extensive interviews with leaders in all facets of the international fashion industry in researching this book.  The result is a multi-faceted look at the current state of the fashion show within a historical perspective with the intent of getting some sort of read as to what may be next.

Stark, who has taught fashion show production herself, has realized that the fashion show itself may be at an important inflection point historically.  Who has the fashion show served in the past?  Who does it serve now? And what are the implications of that for the future?  These are some of the key questions a reader may come away with or attempt to try and answer with the material presented in Stark’s book.

Stark’s approach, by interviewing and profiling and getting the perspective of a wide range of leaders in the fashion industry, insuring that she has both the designers as well as the non-designers perspectives, enables her to present a wider scope of possibilities, ideas, and viewpoints than most publications on fashion, which tend to promote a more unilateral approach coupled with an unified marketing message.  This plays to Stark’s  strength in that she approaches her subject as a trained art historian, and thus sets herself free of a lot of the commercially slanted bias that pervades so much writing on fashion. This gives her much more room to ask difficult questions or imply more nuanced possibilities for what a fashion show is, what it has been, and what it could possibly become in the near future.

The format of the book is set up so that it could be used as an ancillary text book in a college arts program, or the text for a fashion show course, including a full range of additional resources available online at The people who are profiled/interviewed are presented in sections called “Industry Insights” so that students are exposed to viewpoints outside the academic environment. The book is published by Bloomsbury Visual Arts of London [] and available through your local or online bookseller.

Full disclosure: We should add that one of the people interviewed and profiled in The Fashion Show: History, Theory and Practice, is FAFA’s own co-founder, Rhonda P. Hill [p. 68].