People want authenticity from brands, but what if inauthenticity is part of what makes an industry interesting? We discover the insights behind how Gucci’s creative director Alessandro Michele’s latest exhibition in Shanghai exposes the irony in authenticity, surveying "copy-catting" as a dominant cultural paradigm in fashion.
Authenticity has become a buzzword for brands attempting to meet consumer expectations for transparency about their supply chains, and their approach to customers. Yet, in fashion, authenticity is strongly linked with the concept of originality, which isn’t as relevant to an industry whose influences encompass the whole of social and cultural life. Taking this to heart, Gucci’s creative director Alessandro Michele is teaming up with Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan for an exhibition in Shanghai – the counterfeit centre of the world – on copying as an artistic practice, aiming to expose the irony in our conceptions of authenticity and originality. The title of the exhibition, "The Artist is Present", is itself copied from a Marina Abramovic performance art piece, through which Abramovic frames her relationship with her audience.