I simply haven’t been able to get this article out of my mind:
If you read one article this week or month, let it be this one. First I reposted it to The Fashion Crowd FB page. Then I reposted it on LinkedIn, and then to the intranet with my MA class from Academy Of Arts University, but I still feel I’m not done with it. The title says it all; The Fashion Industry doesn’t even care about Fashion anymore. It’s a very strong statement and rather negative too. Is fashion dead? Let’s explore.
All the people I know in fashion are utterly passionate about it. Otherwise they simply wouldn’t be there, as it isn’t worth it. Too much hassle. It’s people who dream about fashion, spend their Friday nights on Pinterest, and who will consider their wardrobe more of an archive. So, in my humble opinion, it’s not the fashion professionals, who don’t care.
Indeed we – as in a broader range of people in various fields – have created a system, where there is much hype about other factors than the actual clothes. The location of the show has to be grander than last time (and Instagrammable), the strongest show pieces wont be bought by the retailers as it’s not safe for the mainstream audience, and the same customers are used to new products all the time leaving little time for design reflection. Nobody explains that like Raf Simons. So it’s the world that has gone bananas (not sure you can say that in English, but you can in Danish, and I’m sure you get the point). Of course, every designer has the free choice to not follow the rules of the game, but in business you have to survive, and it’s very hard not to adapt to a certain culture and withstand.
From how I see it, it’s the customer who has forgotten the sweet joy of fashion indulgence. Of luxury. Where it’s about you, and not what other people think. Like with great sex (sorry, it’s really the first parallel that comes to my mind). You don’t have it, I hope, mainly to show and tell other people about it (though that can feel pretty good too). Fashion should be the same. Personal indulgence. Guilty or not guilty pleasures. We have deprived ourselves of tasty chocolate and is only eating the 90% dark, boring and healthy one; stopped going to Bali and started going to Helsinki, Finland (for Christ sake!), and we spend our weekends preparing for marathons. We need to be correct, show some character and ‘get some Likes’.
The customer really does have a lot of influence, and in the fashion picture the customer is also often young. Most brands are after the Millennials consumer, as they will be around longer and really care about their look, while they carve out their identity. They will get excited about the first black rock collection, they see, and the brands will do their best to satisfy them. Experienced fashion professionals will have seen the rock look a zillion times and claim ‘Fashion is dead, there’s nothing new to be invented’. Li Edelkoort just being one of them. Strong statement too.
So, what to do? The fresh vibes, I see being brought into the picture, are almost all from individual designers rather than directors taking over established brands with billion-dollar turn-overs. I believe you see the individuality, freshness, excitement and less compromise. And you get a full spectrum to chose from from the most emerging and artistic new entries to quite established brands, and it feels true. And that will always be exciting.