2009 School of Fashion Lecture Series Fashion and Media Leaders Panel Discussion

The School of Fashion at Academy of Art University welcomed renowned artists, editors, and publishers to San Francisco this past week to observe the graduate fashion show, announce internships and awards, and take part in a panel discussion.  The panel, which included fashion illustrator David Downton and publishers Martine and Prosper Assouline, discussed the uncertain future of fashion in today’s interactive new media driven society.

“The future of illustration is fantastic!” said Downton of the formerly booming industry which has seen a sharp decline in fashion magazines since the advent of digital photography.  Downton believes that designers and magazines are returning to fashion illustration as a simpler, more cost effective way to brand themselves in the fashion world.  He’s enjoying the constant flow of work coming his way, but isn’t too worried about the future, confidently declaring, “You make your own luck in this industry.”  No doubt Mr. Downton is right — the renowned portraitist and illustrator should have no trouble keeping busy, with or without the digital revolution.

One industry particularly affected by the rise of the internet is publishing.  Husband and wife, Martine and Prosper Assouline, are no strangers to the world of publishing, producing hundreds of exquisite titles on art, fashion, travel, home, and iconography through Assouline Publishing.Despite the increase of internet use and the decline of newspaper readership, though, the Assouline’s aren’t worried.  Prosper admits, “The future of fashion will not be in magazines — it’s going to be through the new media available today,” but that doesn’t replace a strong market for quality books.  The couple agree that some print media cannot be replaced by its digital counterpart, including the experience of reading a beautifully bound, packaged, and printed art book.  The Assoulines have plenty in the works for the coming year with no plans to deviate from the luxury element that sets their titles apart from the rest.

– Written by Melissa Tan, BFA Fashion Journalism