The YouTube Channel Analyzing Fashion Aesthetics
By: Olivia Marrone
Social media has played a significant role in the high fashion industry’s digital success. By bringing high fashion to the masses through social feeds, be it luxury clothing reviews or designer history lessons, this wave of informative fashion content has mainly come from people who simply love fashion—not the industry insiders who once held significant influence through print fashion magazines.
One of these online outlets is a Twitter subculture known as High Fashion Twitter or HF Twitter, where people share their passion and views of the fashion industry through aesthetically pleasing photo curations. It’s through HF Twitter that I found the account CLEVER&CHIC (C&C), and immediately fell in love with its rock-chic curations. C&C’s accompanying YouTube channel, currently at 85.5k subscribers, features informative and engaging videos that analyze multiple aspects of the fashion industry.
C&C founder Michelle spoke with me about creating C&C, her creative process and inspirations, plus her tips for analyzing fashion on a deeper level.
How did you become interested in fashion?
Fashion has been a part of my life since I was very young. My grandmother and mother were very into fashion and beauty, so this opened my eyes up to it. Both had their distinctive styles and pointed out the beauty in the world to me. I also grew up reading many fashion books and magazines. I was inspired to empower myself without realizing what I was doing so young. Growing up I was quite shy and fashion was my greatest form of expression, my way of connecting with others and being myself. I always admired high fashion but became very interested after seeing the AW13 campaigns of Saint Laurent and Mulberry. This is when I began to see and think of fashion the way I do now, I was so moved by it unlike anything else.
“I want my YouTube channel to be a platform to share my research and continuously celebrate fashion to help people learn about high fashion, aid in their personal style journey, and grasp an understanding about culture in the media.”
Your videos focus on fashion industry topics like style analysis and fashion history. How do you decide what to cover on your channel?
Topics come to me in different ways, a lot of it develops out of the reflection of many experiences, documentaries, articles, books, films, etc, and of course requests of viewers. The sub-topics of each video depend on the direction I am taking or the overall message of the video.
Your videos have such a distinct brand aesthetic. How long does your production process take?
Thank you so much, I do my best to produce cohesively within a developed aesthetic. I tend to think about the topics in my own time just out of pure interest, so the majority of concepts are most likely in my mind before actually creating. The time to produce differs depending on the subject matter, but usually, a video will take four to five days from the start of brainstorming to the day of upload.
Which type of videos are your favorite to create?
My favorites to research are the character analysis since it’s like putting myself in someone else’s shoes and mind. It’s so outside of myself and it’s a bit riveting, like forcing me out of this tunnel vision of what I am drawn to for a peripheral vision of style that I might not otherwise go so in-depth in. My favorites would be the very high fashion-focused, I feel more in touch with them, there is a very profound beauty of visual, thought, and emotion. It’s so moving to see the visual beauty of a garment, runway, campaign, etc, and going deep into all that goes into the production of high fashion is very much a cathartic act for me.
Along with your YouTube channel, you curate fashion posts on Instagram and Tumblr. Where does your aesthetic inspiration come from?
Most of my curations are quite innate, instantly just what is heartening, moving, and striking. The visuals for a video are so highly curated to capture and have a focus on the subject for a proper in-depth showcase, so to me, those platforms are almost the opposite. The visuals on Instagram are in the image of the C&C aesthetic through editorials, campaigns, and runways. Tumblr is very much in the manner of mood boarding except without a particular style or concept to allow for visual range. All together they support and complement one another.
What is your advice for better analyzing fashion?
My advice would be to not box yourself in, it’s a disservice to yourself in terms of academic pursuits. I think many times if someone wants to get into fashion analysis the first instinct would be to learn a lot about fashion. This is necessary and a great foundation to have before taking on more complex analysis, but to remain purely within this I believe that it isolates it. Many designers have spoken about their creative process, and it’s not just logical facts of garment construction, it’s romantic in concept as well as execution. Fashion like any other art form is not isolated in the world, it is very immersed and inspired by the world. To be able to conduct better analysis there needs to be an understanding of the piece both internally and externally.
What designers, brands, and style icons have influenced your style?
Designers that have influenced me throughout my life are Yves Saint Laurent, Hedi Slimane, Karl Lagerfeld, Tom Ford, Raf Simons, and Lee Alexander McQueen. Many others have touched my heart, but they stay with me the most. For brands, I very much enjoy Saint Laurent and Celine to wear personally, but for inspiration, many have visuals that are so remarkable and I can always find aesthetic allure- even if it’s one outside of my taste.
In regards to style icons, Kate Moss, Marianne Faithful, and Jane Birkin hands-down. C&C is more complex because it is part of, but also a bit beyond me. Of course, the inspirations I’ve just spoken on have had their hand in inspiring C&C, but as a platform, I feel is at times outside of my taste and the influences would also be viewers and the fashion, films, or brands they are captivated by and love as well.
What goals do you have for your YouTube channel?
My goals for the channel are to continue to grow and provide an educational resource of fashion for the highly interested to those just getting into it. I also am in the process of expanding more with style and image consulting to create the most well-rounded resource I possibly can with my skill set. At the heart of it, I want the channel to be a platform to share my creations, research, and continuously celebrate the fashion of many in hopes that it can help people learn about high fashion, aid in their style journey, or grasp an understanding about culture in the media.