A question (and answer) of identity
This past September, Ralph Lauren hosted Port magazine in our Bond Street store in London for an energetic and illuminating discussion on the subject of identity. We asked Dan Crowe, Port’s editor and publisher, to give us the lowdown.
RL—Can you explain the genesis of this event? How did the idea first crop up?
DC—I met with David Lauren in London, and we started talking about magazines in general, which led to how Port is like a carefully curated and constructed event, with many great artists, writers, designers and thinkers coming together. We talked about bringing that to life in some way, but not as a big thing—more an intimate, small-scale event that created some sort of dialogue with an audience.
RL—How did you arrive at the choice of speakers?
DC—I wanted a mixture of a creative type and a commentator…. I chose Stephen Bayley because he is such a respected commentator on design, and Adam Thirlwell is one of the most exciting young novelists working anywhere in the world today. I felt the event needed this sort of balance. It was great to get them.
Stephen Bayley (left) and Adam Thirlwell mid-thought
RL—And what criteria did you use to select the evening’s guests?
DC—We wanted them to be creative VIPs themselves: thinkers, designers, writers.…
RL—And how was the topic of identity arrived at? I see you had several options. What caused you to decide in favor of this one?
DC—I think the notion of identity is always interesting, but now especially so. The growing micro and macro social media, globalization and changing trends of production and consumption mean that how we define ourselves is changing more than ever.
“Social media, globalization and changing trends of production
and consumption mean that how we define ourselves is
changing more than ever.”
RL—What were some of the revelations of the evening?
DC—Stephen Bayley talking about buying his first Ralph Lauren shirt was great. Adam Thirlwell talking about reading explicit prose in public was hilarious.
RL—In what way has your conception of the topic changed as a result of the event?
DC—It’s made me realize that identity is not automatic, and to have a clear and meaningful personal or business identity, you must come at it through integrity and your own personal values. Identity through committee is not identity.
Creative VIPs gathered at the Ralph Lauren store on Bond Street in London
RL—Who are you considering for future participation? I saw playwright and filmmaker Hanif Kureishi’s name at one point.
DC—Hanif is a great friend and I would love him to be part of one in the future, but I would also love to include an iconic actor next to a philosopher, a fashion designer, a film director, a scientist.… It would be great to get several people around a table for the next event.
RL—Will this become a regular event?
DC—I hope so! We are excited about it having even greater contributors in other cities, too.