William Gibson on fashion

William Gibson is the only science fiction writer I know of with his name on a line of exclusive couture repro military clothes from a Japanese company.

In a fascinating interview on style, durability, atemporality, bohemianism and literature, Gibson picks apart the symbolism of "authenticity" and ruggedness.

The difference between, say, Engineered Garments and, for instance, Iron Heart, is that Engineered Garments is nostalgic, while Iron Heart is atemporal. Iron Heart achieves that atemporality through an inherent tightness, a stubbornness of intent. Iron Heart clothes look brand new when you buy them. Hard, bright. Which was how real vintage looked when it was new. Like you could cut yourself on them. Then you wear them for five years and very gradually they change. Compared to that, Engineered Garments feels slightly pre-digested to me. Though to be fair, J.Crew makes Engineered Garments look like Iron Heart! I actually like Engineered Garments, the idea of it.

With J.Crew, say, or Urban Outfitters, claims to authenticity tangle bizarrely with economies of scale, and we see "value-mining", hollowing out the individual unit for maximum profit. T-shirt weaves conceived to require less cotton ("it looks authentically worn"). That's when you get into seriously sad simulacra territory.

William Gibson Interview: His Buzz Rickson Line, Tech Wear, and the Limits of Authenticity [David Shuck/Rawr Denim Heddels]