Q&A : Fashion critic Bliss Foster

I first met Bliss Foster a few years ago, right as he was starting his video channel, self described as “The stories behind designer clothes: In-depth analyses of runway shows so we can better understand the artfulness of designer clothes.” He approached me with an earnest interest in highlighting NOT, produced one of his first videos on the brand, and has since grown to almost 50,000 subscribers, producing videos with up to 80K views. Video titles range from “Is Rick Owens somehow getting better?” to “Gucci, Foucault, and a Cyborg Manifesto”. Even Off-White's Virgil Abloh is a fan, having said about Bliss’ channel, “This is what I hope fashion journalism can be in the future”. Bliss has built a dedicated, equally fashion-obsessed, fanbase that communicate regularly with enthusiasm. Also, did I mention, I am a HUGE fan of his sense of style? I’m delighted to ask him a few questions.

 Bliss Foster youtube series on designer clothes

Bliss Foster tries on 3 pieces of NOT's menswear in his 2nd video about NOT. See the first one here

JENNY: Can you introduce yourself and tell us where your love for fashion started?

BLISS: My name is Bliss Foster, I'm a fashion critic. I started back in 2012 in a very typical guy way: just super interested in Kanye and Supreme. It continued to grow out from there and I'm now more focused on storytelling, artfulness and symbolism in fashion.

J: You are very active (and interactive) on Instagram and Youtube live and seem to really feed off of your community in this fascinating feedback loop. I’ve hopped on one of your Instagram live calls before where you were inviting certain viewers to come on Live with you to show off their favorite designer garment from their closet. I was so intrigued by this impromptu Show and Tell format and conversation. Can you tell me a little bit more about this community of young men, hyper into designer fashion and fashion history, that you’ve built around your channel? 

B: Yeah! I'm really grateful to have an audience of exceptionally smart people. I think the early days of the channel were mostly made up of younger guys, but that's expanded out to include a lot of women and nonbinary folks. The community element of the channel has been crucial for me. By keeping an open line to talk with everyone one-on-one and to talk in my Patreon's Discord channel, I've learned an enormous amount that I wouldn't have known otherwise. Many of the folks who follow they channel know way more than I do, I'm always so grateful that they're willing to share their thoughts with me.

J: I particularly enjoy the behind-the-scenes materials you bring to your videos - show notes, archival video footage…  How do you do your research for fashion? Where do you go to find information that may not be easily accessible? 

B: The reality is that most info is out there on the internet, it's just often spread out. I try to find as much info as I can and move it all to one place: my videos. Additionally, I feel it's important to add my own interpretation to that info so I can add something new to the conversation.

J: Often, male friends, colleagues, strangers tell me how frustrated they feel about the lack of interesting clothing options they have at a contemporary price point. What suggestions would you give to someone not totally entrenched in designer fashion, about where to look for something that speaks to them?

B: The best prices and choices are always going to be on the second hand market. A lot of the clothes I love came from other fashion lovers. But at the same time, we often want too many pieces in our closets. I often encourage my followers to save up and buy 1 special piece every few months instead of 5 "meh" pieces. And if that one piece can support an innovative indie designer, all the better *hint hint* :)

J: If you were to recommend one of your videos to a new viewer, which one would it be? 

B: A lot of people gravitate towards the Runway Analysis videos. I would probably recommend my video for Maison Martin Margiela's Spring Summer 1996 collection. Absolutely beautiful symbolism and storytelling in that one.

J: Wow, that one is fantastic! How can people support your work? 

B: I'm an independent fashion journalist, so the best way to support is on Patreon.com/BlissFoster. There's a lot of exclusive stuff on there, but people also get to join the private Discord server. I often say that it's the best fashion community on the internet. 

Follow Bliss Foster's youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/BlissFoster/videos

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