Thursday, September 18, 2008

FW -- fashion washington or sofa king we todd ed?

I've gotten a few E-mails now requesting my humble thoughts on the latest addition to DC's underwhelming style scene -- FW, the newest publication from the Washington Post company. I actually wasn't planning to post about this because, well, I have a few mixed feelings about it, but ultimately, I think it's redeemable, at least as an idea. But before delving into a very uncharacteristic pro-DC defense of FW, let's first explore my requisite skepticism.

According to company press release FW, which stands for Fashion Washington, is " a high-end fashion magazine aimed at sophisticated shoppers in the Washington, DC-metro area." In addition, "FW will capture the hottest trends in fashion as well as the local designers, boutique owners and famous faces making up the increasingly stylish DC-scene."


"Hottest trends in fashion?" In Washington, DC? So, like, BlackBerry belts and stuff? I'm not sure I buy it. After all, the District and fashion do not have a healthy relationship. It's almost as if FW is wishing some fancy "stylish DC-scene" into existence. My very first thoughts, in fact, paralleled those of Media Bistro's FishbowlDC: "After looking it over, we're not saying that we're unimpressed, but we do have a hard time believing that FW -- given its small size, few articles and the fact that it is sized like a newspaper insert (how very unglamorous...) -- will really steal the lunch money of Capitol File, DC magazine, Washington Life and Washingtonian magazine."

But wait...the FW press release did rightly use the word "increasingly," so they must know what kind of nascent, possibly unborn "scene" they're dealing with. Or do they...? Take, for instance, this comment from WaPo Publisher Katherine Weymouth:

"I have always thought of Washington as a very glamorous place. With more and more high-end boutiques, emerging local designers and savvy shoppers, DC is proving once and for all that it is a fashion capital...FW is going to reflect that fact, and I believe we have assembled an incredible team to deliver all of this fashion news to our readers."

OK, "All of this fashion news"? Perhaps that's why there aren't very many, THERE IS NO FASHION NEWS!

Look, DC may or may not be "a very glamorous place," depending on your definition of the word (if it's newscaster hair and pearls, then DC is the most glamorous place on Earth...), but it most certainly is not a "fashion capital." That's laughable, quite frankly.

Let's face it, there's wishful thinking and then there's spiral-of-delusional-thought and I'm pretty sure that Weymouth's words fall into the latter category. However, as wacky and unbelievable as it is to think Washington, DC, is presently "a fashion capital" because a few high-end stores recently opened up (all of which pretty much carry the same merchandise, I might add), perhaps it's not out of the realm of our current theories of physics that one day, probably far into the distant future, the District will catch up with, say, such "fashion capitals" as Omaha, Neb., Tijuana, Mexico, and the South Pole, but that's going to take more than a dream. It'll take at least three wishes, some sort of ancient tribal voodoo dance, a trip or two to hell and back and a tuft of Norm Coleman's chest hair to make that happen.
Yet despite the challenges that may make FW just another "flimsy insert," as Gawker put it, I can't fully knock this effort. Stripping away the rather preposterous and delusional untruths spread in FW's PR blitz, there are some redeeming qualities here. For example, there's an advice column, written by one of the few true fashionistas in DC, Betsy of Fashion Is Spinach. Much of DC would be wise to heed her advice. Perhaps if more people did, I wouldn't have LOL'd so hard at Weymouth's lofty declarations about the very glamorous fashion capital that is Washington, DC.

But all yuks aside, it's just kind of nice that DC is paying attention to fashion at all, even if it is just an afterthought of a newspaper not particularly known for its Style section. Something is better than nothing, right? Unless, of course, we're talking about a tumor. That's something no one wants. But unlike our ever-expanding U.S. government, FW isn't a tumor. It's a welcome addition, in my opinion, to a very glamorous drab scene. Well, at least until it inevitably devolves into a gag-worthy personal diary for the Lily Pulitzer-sporting ladiez in Georgetown. Then it'll be a tumor, benign probably, but an unwanted intrusion nonetheless. Gods, I hope that doesn't happen. I suppose, only time will tell.

Here's to hoping FW proves me wrong! LET'S F*CKING DO THIS, DC!


ms. spinach said...

aw, shucks. thank you!

i promise to do my very, very best to keep the lilly to a bare minimum.

DC Goodwill Fashionista said...

Oh snap! You were in that hot tent, too, on Monday? Good thing we know each other now... -the DCGF

Marissa said...

ms. spinach--

I don't doubt it! In Spinach I trust. :)

dc goodwill--

Actually no. I wasn't in that hot tent! I kinda wish I was though! I had to do like the regular public and track down an issue on my own. (Great show last night, btw!)

Mary said...

re: if you want a DC Fashion icon, look no further than the woman who was busted for stealing $50 million from DC taxpayers, $2 million of which was spent @Neiman's & Nordstrom:

That look is what $2 million buys in DC. Sad.

Val said...

I wasn't very impressed with the FW either, I might have given it a smidge more credit if it wasn't coming from the Washington Post - not really the most forward thinking, creative of establishments around. You can tell by just looking at 98% of the people that attended the party: boring, stodgy Washingtonians (except for all you creative and interesting gals that were there). I think a publication like that would have a chance at being really exciting when it's written, put together and started by the truly creative people in DC, which reminds me of PandaHead's beautiful little magazine... if it could just be blown up into a full editorial issue...

Marissa said...


Holt sh*t. Let's home the $2 mill went to a nice condo or something...

Honestly, I don't know what's the worse crime -- embezzling all that money or walking the streets looking that dishabille...yikes.


I'm tempted to agree with you. Like I noted, being a fan of Fashion Is Spinach, I have full faith in Betsy, but it is worrisome that it seems like the Post didn't actively seek fresh talent for the mag...

Hmm, well here's to hoping it won't be (drab) business as usual...