Rather design your own fabulous handbag than choose one from the latest catwalk shows? Submit a design, collect the most votes and see your get product brought to life. Whatever the online fashion-world likes, Front Row Society will produce.
‘Acid Lights’ Clutch by Marta Duarte Dias
Front Row Society envisages a world where talented, unknown designers and ‘fashionistas’ command prevailing style and current trends. This world sees the present-day model of consumption turned completely on its head. No longer dictated from the top down, up and coming creative professionals have the opportunity to mould stylistic direction and the fashion-enthused community are given a voice. Not only this, but the designers earn directly from their sales, plus 1€ of every product sold goes to the Ethical Fashion Forum. This is their new ‘Fashion Democracy’.
We spoke to Front Row Society’s founder Florian Ellsaesser about this inspirational new concept.
Why do you feel it is important to incorporate the designs of artists into your products?
The idea is to work with artists to create accessories that are unique artworks. We want to turn the way fashion is created upside down, moving from a world which is dominated by large labels that “dictate” mass trends, to a world where it is the artworks and the artists that count. This gives power back from the labels to the artists. We also want to offer handbags and scarves that inspire you because they tell you a story. We hope that products, that have something special about them would change the way that we consume, preventing an endless cycle of buying and throwing away meaningless items.
You pay your artists. Why is that important to you as part of the creative process?
Artists do work that benefits society. Of course, they should be paid for such work. Clearly, art and artists are usually not driven by money, but as anyone else, they need to make a living. This is particularly important at a time where funding for young artists is cut in many countries. FRS gives the artists a buy-out or a share of the revenue of 10%. Currently, I don’t think you could earn your entire living by submitting artworks, but, as the word spreads about Front Row Society, we will get better and, over time eventually get there. I also think that it is nice for people who buy our items to know that they are supporting an artist, who may frequently be from their local community.
How does storytelling & art play a role in Front Row Society?
We believe that story telling is an important part of art. Each artwork makes us think and construct a story. We have hang-tags which tell this story and the story of the artist behind the artwork. We want to produce accessories that have a human touch. Also, to promote artists, it is important to give them a way to get known, and to tell their story seems to be a good way of doing so.
Blog entry by Samantha Manton in Berlin; Monday, Feb. 13, 2012.