BANKING ON IT: With the new issue of Wallet, publisher and curator Elise Olsen delved into marketing in fashion. She said the issue “was inevitable when talking about the fashion industry and that kind of machinery. Fashion communication, marketing, advertising — the system of it and the business of it — is a very interesting field to tap into. I also think it’s an aspect of fashion that is looked upon as almost perverse or grotesque in a way. It was nice to talk about that and to try to have a discourse around that aspect of fashion.
The “Masters of Marketing” issue features interviews with self-employed publicist Gia Kuan, Dries Van Noten’s brand communications director Patrick Scallon and PR Consulting’s Pierre Rougier. Noting that Scallon previously worked for Martin Margiela, Olsen said, “Margiela was almost created through marketing. It was almost like a marketing project — that anti-marketing marketing approach is often times harder to achieve than regular flashy marketing.”
Rougier’s experience working “with pretty much all of the leading fashion brands today” was of great interest to Olsen. The publication also explores the evolution from print advertising into digital p.r., contemporary brand imaging and the operational side of fashion communication. Kuan’s approach to digital — including enlisting influencers, which can be “a contested thing in the fashion industry right now” — is also examined. “There was just a quick quote-check for them to read through, but it wasn’t a crazy editing [process],” Olsen said. “They read through their interviews.”
The compact wallet-sized magazine is sold in stores such as MoMa PS1, The Broken Arm, Slam Jam, the one at the Tate Modern and The Store Berlin. Instead of doing a 20-page editorial, as is the norm, Wallet used that space for print advertisements — paid ones and some archival ones. Sportmax, Gucci, Prada and Colmar sprang for the main paid ads. “That turned out to be exciting to — to look at what is communicated in fashion and how. Visually it’s a lot with logos and advertisements — 20 of them.,” she said.
Limiting travel for the time being and working from Oslo, Olsen said she is working on a book publishing project and a few curatorial ones. She is also crafting an interdisciplinary space between art and fashion where she can bring her network together into something more physical and tangible. With an international approach that project will be nomadic and somewhat discursive, Olsen said.
And the next edition of Wallet is underdevelopment. Olsen said, “The previous issue was about the modeling industry. That is also a concrete aspect of fashion like fashion marketing so I think the next one has to be a more abstract and metaphysical theme. I don’t know exactly what it’s going to be, but it has to be something more fluid and not so concrete.”