A FASHION OUTSIDER’S DIVE INTO THE WORLD OF DIET PRADA

BY ERNA ADELSON

 
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My style can be summed up in three words: Everlane, #Cloglife. Levi’s. I used to be about two years behind what’s trending, but Pinterest and Instagram have helped me shorten my lag time to about 10 months to a year. I read Man Repeller for the articles that are not about fashion, and Vogue mainly for the celebrity profiles and nonfiction, so when it comes to the subject of fashion, I know enough to know that I’m no expert. This was doubly confirmed when I was asked to write about the Instagram sensation Diet Prada. Until I googled it, I had no idea what that was.


Diet Prada, I quickly learned, is an social media-based crash course on the history of fashion. Founders Tony Liu and Lindsey Schuyler have an encyclopedic knowledge of every collection in what seems like all of history and a photographic memory, to boot. Their story is relatively well-known by now: they started as co-workers and shared a penchant for documenting the recycling of ideas in the fashion industry. Originally they operated anonymously, and their snarky tone combined with their genuine wealth of expertise and passion for the industry led to a following of over a million, with some fans calling themselves Dieters. They revealed their identities in an article in Business of Fashion, and have since both been dedicated solely to Diet Prada. Their mission, according to a piece in the New Yorker, is to re-stigmatize idea theft for a generation that has been raised on it.


After I got the story straight, I started to dig in to the Diet Prada archives, where I was educated in everything from references to film in fashion, the narrow vision of Hedi Slimane, vintage Balenciaga, 1950’s couture, and what I guess can be described as Stefano Gabbana’s terrible personality.


They were serving the cerulean monologue from The Devil Wears Prada over and over again, and in real time, I realized. And I was having my Andy Sachs enlightenment moment but without the shame that Miranda Priestly engendered in her ignorant assistant, because Liu and Schuyler aren’t just calling out me / the Andy Sachs of the world, but the fashion industry itself, which, thanks to a vicious consumption cycle, has come to count on people’s ignorance and / or apathy about what it’s become. I was awakened, but I was also in on it. The more soiled the laundry, the more I subscribed.


I had been following them for a couple of weeks when they blew the whistle on Kim Kardashian, suggesting that that the fast fashion brand Fashion Nova’s knockoff of Kim Kardashian’s archive Thierry Mugler dress was perhaps a little too fast. Was Kim leaking her wardrobe to the copycats in order to profit from the egregious cycle? they wondered, citing a post where the dress in question looked to be in production before Kim wore it in public. I should have been shocked, maybe even outraged at their suggestion, but now as a seasoned reader of Diet Prada, it seemed entirely plausible that this is how the fashion world worked. I was barely even surprised.


Kardashian has denied any relationship of the sort, decrying Fashion Nova for their impossibly fast knockoff. And now she’s reportedly suing a similar retailer, Missguided, for profiting from using her name and likeness to promote their products. (Diet Prada also speculated that she was leaking designs to Missguided). So, even Diet Prada’s takes should be supplemented with a healthy dose of salt and some of your own research. However, the duo should be credited for the fact that anyone who rushed to their favorite fast fashion site in order to buy the “Kim Dress” may have now heard that that the story of extreme cut-outs began way before a Kardashian wore them.  


And, they have succeeded, in just a matter of weeks, of turning a self-proclaimed fashion outsider into a wizened old fashion skeptic. Although I won’t be giving up my clogs anytime soon, I now eagerly scroll Instagram, waiting for my next lesson in fashion history.

 

Contents

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ARTIST FEATURE

SHPLINTON

This month’s issue is a little different, as we’re featuring, no, not a photographer, but an artist who sketches, paints, and creates with his hands. Say hi to Shplinton. Quentin Thomas, if we’re being formal. I first met Quentin years ago at a small Aussie-owned shop in Venice. He was dropping off a jacket that he’d custom-made for one of the owners. Its back was covered in paint, fabric, and heart-felt soul. Shplinton’s unique expression of artwork is eye-catching. It awakens your senses and when you see a piece in person, you can literally feel his passion under each brush stroke or ink mark. Born in South Central LA, he’s gone from shy kid who doodled in the Bibles at church, to a professional artisté whose now collaborating with TOMS, restaurants, live painting events at the Ace Hotel, eventually a bike ride across the country to sponsor inner city kids who love art… All while being one of the most humble people you’ll ever meet. Welcome to Shplinton’s world, read our (in person!) interview today.

— Gaelan Simpson, Managing Editor SSR

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FEATURES

A QUICK LESSON ON AZIONE PR

FabFitFun, Away, Ritual, Equinox, Moon Juice, Medmen, Sakara Life, Sweetgreen, Simplehuman, Girlboss, Stance, J.Crew, Cole Haan… These are just a few of the buzzy brands that AZIONE has helped megaphone out to the masses. Leland Drummond co-founded the top PR company with partner Michele Thomas and since inception, the company has worked to extend the brand reach of some the trendiest companies around. In this article, we have a run down on what AZIONE does uniquely in the PR space, as well as a quick pow-wow interview with this unstoppable duo.

— Leland Drummond, Founding Partner AZIONE / The League

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FEATURES

A CENTURY UNDER THE INFLUENCE:

HOW LEVI’S HAS REMAINED COOL FOR ONE HUNDRED YEARS.

Trends evolve, tastes change, fads die, this a constant of life.  Watching Ringo Starr perform in 2018 or reading the recent Rolling Stone profile of a sad and lonely 55 year old Johnny Depp is all one needs to see to know that even being among the coolest people on Earth at one point in time does not guarantee you a life time seat at the cool kids table…The one exception to the unofficial rule of cool that I have seen in my lifetime is the Levi Strauss Co. Consider this…

— Drew Ligget, Founder of Indian Summer Agency

 
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FEATURES

A FASHION OUTSIDER’S DIVE INTO THE WORLD OF DIET PRADA

When it comes to the subject of fashion, I know enough to know that I’m no expert. This was doubly confirmed when I was asked to write about the Instagram sensation Diet Prada. Until I googled it, I had no idea what that was.

After I got the story straight, I started to dig in to the Diet Prada archives, where I was educated in everything from references to film in fashion, the narrow vision of Hedi Slimane, vintage Balenciaga, 1950’s couture, and what I guess can be described as Stefano Gabbana’s terrible personality.

— Erna Adelson

 

FINDINGS

Medmen x spike jonze

Spike Jonze collaborated with the brand and directed a video short for them, highlighting America’s complex and controversial relationship with Cannabis.

NO WAY A FOOTBALL ZINE WOULD WIN A TOP DESIGN AWARD, RIGHT?

How one designer with no formal education created one of the greatest matchday programs of all time. How is it something can change for the better when you didn’t even realize it needed changing in the first place? This is the question West Bromwich Albion F.C. fans were scratching their heads about while thumbing through the Albion News at the start of the 1969 season.

 

PODCAST

037 - GETTING THE GRAM TOGETHER WITH BRANDY PHAM OF PLANOLY

This episode is all about the gram. We sit down with Brandy Pham, Founder of everyone's favorite Instagram planning tool - Planoly. Listen in as Brandy chats through the beginnings of Planoly, and the five ways a brand (or person) should consider using social to establish a story + setting for themselves.

SESSIONS by Matte Black