Opinion: Charleston needs to quit embracing mediocrity

As a Charleston local who enjoys the arts, fashion, and culture here in town, I have a serious bone to pick with ‘the scene.’

Perhaps the big-city and international arts and culture of afar jade me, but I am upset with Charleston. It appears that we, as a city, have too much fondness for our friends. Friends are great. Their support is undying, and unparalleled. But when your friends support your half-assed work and uninspired junk nobody wins.

Thanks to hearing rave reviews, I recently checked out the items from one local designer. But upon seeing the work I was mildly disappointed to say the least. These pieces were lacking in originality, and even a few items had been ripped off creations of other popular designers.

However, finding one piece that intrigued me, I made a purchase for a sizable price, as I did not mind spending the extra cash to support a local artist, in hopes it will help fund them to create more innovative creations.

But within 24 hours the investment failed and the item fell to pieces, beyond repair.

It made me feel like a total sucker, and even worse, I am upset that this so called ‘designer’ is receiving such praise, and even press, for such poorly crafted, unoriginal products. There are too many extremely talented local artisans and designers that are much more deserving of press and notoriety.

If it were not for the designer being buddies with many influential people in the local Charleston fashion scene situations like this would not happen.  Sure, you could call the fashion world a 'game of favorites' anywhere, but when designers are making crap product, all favors should be forgotten.

Another popular 'local talent' was featured in this years Charleston Fashion Week Emerging Designer Competition.  there was so much buzz about this favored designer.  Their claim of a "original and inspired design?"  Store-bought clothes with paint splashed on them.  A four year old could do that.

It should be said that friends supporting friends is not the issue at hand.  It's more so that friends, press, people in general, need to stop oohing and ahhing over poorly crafted materials and rip off designs.  Instead, be honest with yourself and everyone else.  It looks like shit.  And tell your friend that so they will improve and produce better product the next time around.

If we keep supporting poor, cheaply made work, just to make our friends locally famous, we are putting much more at risk than some unlucky consumer’s checkbook.  We are putting the integrity of Charleston’s creative culture at stake.  We cannot continue to let our colleagues be mediocre and receive faked and undeserved success just because they are good at kissing ass.  Otherwise, we’ll all be walking around naked, and Charleston’s true creatives won’t have a chance.