Of all the things you wake up worrying about, I am sure that the imminent death of the fashion industry is not even among the first ten. And yet, we as avid consumers of fashion are at least partially responsible for its death. We do have some blood—er, buttons—on our hands. We owe it to this fallen comrade (now plunging like its beloved necklines) to at least take the time to understand what happened.
There are some who blame the pandemic for fashion’s demise, but in all honesty, the industry has been acting like an insecure teenager for years. It has been pushed over the edge by nefarious, self-serving bullies long before we got hit by the pandemic. Who are the culprits?
1. Fashion Education
The Business of Fashion asks the pertinent question, “Is fashion education selling a false dream?” It seems that a combination of Project Runway success and the democratization brought by social media has resulted in an enormous growth of demand for fashion education. As Sara Kozlowsky, Director of Education and Professional Development at the CFDA, says “In some cases institutions have experienced enrollment increases tripling student populations.” The result? There are thousands and thousands of designers that leave the schools every year and never find a job or are “unhappy with only making what sells” as one graduate says. Schools teach designers to be head designers and disruptors, but in reality most end up creating only safe, pragmatic stuff that sells. And that’s the best case scenario.
2. Designers who are recycling old ideas
That’s not quite an original idea of my own. I am referencing Li Edelkoort here, a Dutch trend forecaster and absolutely fascinating lady, who doesn’t seem afraid to serve uncomfortable truths to the industry she loves. According to her, “newness is a thing of the past,” and most designers are “simply making more and more ‘garments’ to finally conclude ‘With this lack of conceptual innovation, the world is losing the idea of fashion.’” There is a long explanation as to why designers—pushed by unreasonable deadlines—have given up on being creative and went on to just “create garments” but I am leaving that for another article.
3. The industry that let marketing take control of the creative process
According to Ms Edelkoort, “It is, without doubt, the perversion of marketing that ultimately has helped kill the fashion industries. Initially invented to be a science, blending forecasting talent with market results to anchor strategies for the future, it has gradually become a network of fearful guardians of brands, slaves to financial institutions and hostages of shareholder interests, a group that long ago lost the autonomy to direct change.” She continues, “Marketing has taken over power within the major companies and is manipulating creation, production,
presentation and sales.” Why did the industry put the cart before the horse? I would venture to say that an industry that should be driven by creativity has become strictly a money making machine… with little to no interest in creativity whatsoever.
4. And… Anna Wintour
Yes, you read that right. I blame the soulless fashion queen for the demise of fashion. Some love her and describe “her genius,” which according to designer Marc Jacobs, is “picking people very astutely, whether in politics, movies, sports, or fashion.” Some stopped liking her, like André Leon Talley who says she inflicted “huge emotional scarring” on many. I am with Talley here, because I do believe him when he says that she “was never really passionate about clothes”, and that she cared only about power (her own!). In her 30 year reign of Vogue, she single-handedly decided what we should wear and how. She handpicked and promoted designers that defined a decade of fashion: Alexander Wang, Derek Lam, Zac Posen, and Proenza Schouler. An ultimate dealmaker, she used her influence to exercise her power. When Michael Kors went bankrupt in the 90s, she waved her magic wand and found investors. She is credited for creating the Fashion Night Out and the Met Gala.
Do you know what all these accomplishments have in common? Proenza Schouler has gone from one investor to another and ended up with a firm that specializes in distressed investments. Last year, Derek Lam shut down his high-end line and Zac Posen went out of business. Fashion Night Out was cancelled and so was the Met Gala. It seems Ms. Wintour can do no wrong though as of this past December she got yet another promotion, shortly after acknowledging “hurtful mistakes” and for the treatment of Black talent at Vogue. I guess we wouldn’t be having this “conversation” if the industry was half as resilient as Ms Wintour.
Posted by Mirela Gluck at 06:12 AM
A FASHION , Fashion News |
Depending on which magazine or site your read, the New York Fashion Week has either “lost its strength” or is “more robust than ever”.
Through the years we’ve attended our share of fashion shows, and followed everything printed (or typed) about the event. For years we knew what the “it bag” was, what celebrity sat next to Anna Wintour, and if she smiled or not. This year we missed all events, haven’t even read much about them. Not that we adhere to the school of thought that claims the New York fashion show is inconsequential, we just don’t know what is its rai•sond’ê•tre
Is it supposed to be an opportunity to sale clothes, to get a splashy Vogue feature, or a PR opportunity for celebrities to be spotted? When we find out the answer to that, we will return to attending the New York Fashion Week.
Posted by Staff Writer at 05:50 AM
bargain news , Other People's Style , Shopping News , Shopping Trends |
Do you remember when Miranda Priestly says this in The Devil Wear Prada?
‘This… stuff’? Oh. Okay. I see. You think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select… I don’t know… that lumpy blue sweater, for instance because you’re trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don’t know is that that sweater is not just blue, it’s not turquoise. It’s not lapis. It’s actually cerulean. And you’re also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar de la Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves Saint Laurent… wasn’t it who showed cerulean military jackets? I think we need a jacket here. And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of eight different designers. And then it, uh, filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic Casual Corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and it’s sort of comical how you think that you’ve made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you’re wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room from a pile of stuff.
Well, The Devil Wears Prada is not as fictional as you may think it is. In fact, what Miranda says here is a quite accurate description of the fashion industry’s grip on our real world—sans Meryl Streep at the top of the food chain.
Whether you’re aware of it or not, everything we wear has been at one point selected by “Nuclear Wintour” or one of her acolytes. You are most likely familiar with the formidable Dame Anna Wintour, editor-in chief of Vogue, Condé Nast artistic director and editorial director and Met gala host. The woman is unstoppable and the shadow of her power stretches well beyond fashion into the very fabric of our lives, skillfully manipulating not only what we wear, but who we like or dislike, who we vote for, who deserves our forgiveness and who doesn’t.
While I am not a personal fan of the unapologetically power-hungry Ms Wintour, I can’t help but admire her skills and, to be honest, simultaneously fear her influence. If you think you’ve escaped her influence, think again. Bargain hunting, sample sale shopping, and being the smartest consumer may give you a false sense of power; but the truth is your choices are not free from her influence either.
Take the upcoming Marchesa sample sale for example. The label was co-founded by Georgina Chapman, the wife of now “persona non grata” Mr. Weinstein who was instrumental in its success. Ms. Wintour has been known through the years to promote Mr. Weinstein’s stars of his films on the cover pages of her magazine and by often featuring Marchesa frocks in its pages. She was responsible for giving the nod of approval to celebrities wearing the label to the Met gala—meaning she’s been responsible for making people like us want to look just like them.
When Hollywood was rocked by allegations against Harvey Weinstein in October 2017, Anna skillfully distanced herself from her long-time friend and his behavior with a statement that read “Behavior like this is appalling and unacceptable,” but stood by his wife saying, “My heart goes out to them[victims], as well as to Georgina [Chapman] and the children.”
After an appropriate time for the dust to settle, Anna has started the rehabilitation of the Marchesa label using her recent guest appearance on the Colbert show to declare her support for Scarlet Johansson’s decision to wear Chapman’s label at the Met gala: “She wore it as a statement that Harvey Weinstein’s wife, who is partners in this company, shouldn’t be punished for the sins of her husband.”
Of course she supported Johansson. It was likely her idea! It’s well known that celebrities need Anna’s approval for what they wear at the gala, so we’ll safely assume Scarlet Johansson’s decision had something to do with Anna’s campaign to save the Marchesa label.
And here we are—many of us believing ourselves to be quite separated from celebrity culture—excitedly grabbing a dress during our lunch break at the Marchesa sample sale in preparation for the fifth wedding this season (ugh), naively thinking that our choice is dictated exclusively by our extraordinary sense of style and our limited budget. Oh, how wrong we are; the dress we picked, its color or style had at one point won Anna’s approval, and the power of the label (and its mere existence) depends on her willingness to support it.
That might make you feel powerless, but you can only be powerless if you lack awareness. With awareness, your action becomes less of an inevitable result and more of a conscious decision. So with that in mind, go browse the Marchesa sample sale knowing what your purchase means on a much larger scale. You make a statement with your dollar. In this case, it’s a statement of support for yet another woman who’s been screwed over by the patriarchy. All in all, I say that’s worth a swipe of my Amex.
Posted by Staff Writer at 01:16 AM
Our Views and Opinions |
John Galliano‘s story is one for the books. Once heralded as a fashion darling and lauded for his innovative designs, the British clothing designer was given a collective finger from the style world in 2011 after spewing anti-Semitic comments on camera. He was promptly fired as Dior‘s head designer, and was even fined $10,000. Ouch.
But that was four years ago. Though things aren’t perfect for Galliano, and though the climb back up to his castle has been a slow one, the formerly banished designer is back in the good graces of the fashion elite.
In October 2014, he was appointed as Maison Martin Margiela’s creative director, a move that ignited whispers ’round the fashion world. After Margiela’s January 2015 debut, though, whispers of concern melted into whispers of awe. With the Artisanal collection‘s delicate balance of fabrics and materials, impeccable craftsmenship and silhouettes that pique even the most seasoned style guru’s senses, one could say Galliano has officially made his comeback.
You may not be a fashion designer, and your “PR fiasco” may not be as epic in proportion, but you can learn from Galliano’s mistake if you’re trying to make a comeback.
Five Lessons to Learn from Galliano
Realize That Time Forgets All
Or at least understand that time forgets most things. There are new stories every single day — some outrageous, some infuriating, some exciting. People redirect their focus to new news and everything else becomes old hat. Sure, some people may never forget, but most will.
Make Friends With Powerful People
With Anna Wintour on his side, Galliano’s triumphant return to the fashion world was inevitable. She’s supported him throughout all these years and the friendship they’ve fostered is nothing to snub your nose at. Be an aggressive networker, yes, but do make sure you build genuine relationships along the way.
Give Yourself a Makeover of Massive Proportions
Back when Galliano made those comments, he was known for his wispy mustache, super bold brows and interesting hair choices. He dropped the flamboyant visage and has since perfected a streamlined, debonair persona. A makeover sends a signal to the world that you’ve changed.
Everyone makes mistakes. Apologize profusely, but move on when the time comes. Then after you’ve made your amends, move forward with an air of humbleness. People are drawn to, and more likely to forgive, a confident, but humble, person.
Impress Even Yourself
When you’re ready to make your comeback, pull out all the stops. Pour yourself into your work or whatever it is you’re striving for, and keep your foot on the gas even after you’ve passed the finish line. If you’ve given people reason to side eye you, they’re going to be even harsher critics than they’d be otherwise. The solution is to give them no reason to question and every reason to praise.
By Wendy Rose Gould
Posted by Wendy Rose Gould at 07:30 AM
Opinions , Relationships , STYLE |