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The State of the Fashion Union. The Business Side of Fashion Maybe Killing Creativity, But Clever Fashionistas Who Love to Mix & Match Are Bringing it Back. FASHIONTRIBES FASHION BLOG & PODCAST
PODCAST: The State of the Fashion Union. The Business Side of Fashion Maybe Killing Creativity, But Clever Fashionistas Who Love to Mix & Match Are Bringing it Back. FASHIONTRIBES FASHION BLOG & PODCAST - MP3 File
In this podcast discussion of the State of the Fashion Union, FT's Lesley & Rachel discuss the growth of less traditional fashion locations such as Australian Fashionweek; why creativity in fashion is on the wane; and how streetfashion is the industry's new muse.
LONDON: London may (arguably) have the best fashion schools, but the industry does nothing to entice young designers to stay & work there. The Stella McCartneys & Alexander McQueens have been enticed to head to Paris. While London has rockin' young designers like Giles, a single designer can't an entire industry sustain. Also, too many young designers came out of places like Central St. Martins & sent way too much abstraction down the runways - wearable tables & chairs, anyone? Fashion is not fine art; ultimately, it is about craft & has an inescapable practical side that can't be ignored - someone, somewhere has to wear the stuff.
AUSTRALIA: With fresh young design talent like Sass & Bid, Lover, Willow & Karen Walker, Australia now occupies the spot on the fashion landscape that London used to. To generate interest & prestige, the intrepid Aussies have been flying premier fashion editors in for their Fashionweek...a practice which will soon be no longer necessary. Their geographical isolation, as well as the fact that their seasons are reversed, means that they not only "lead" (in a sense) the fashion cities from the Northern hemisphere into spring, but that they can develop according to their own fashion drummer, without the almost incestuous copying that occurs between design houses based in New York-London-Paris-Milan.
NEW YORK & PARIS: All about the money, true, but New York has the added element of many design houses with a thriving private client business, while Paris is known for the creativity of the shows.
MILAN: The intersection of sex and money, such as Versace & Dolce, but also a mix of wearability thrown in - Prada & the new Gucci - which often show hemlines, colors, silhouettes & accessories that seem downright unwearable or ugly at first, but then transform into something entirely covetable...ie. Milan is often directional & a harbinger of change in the fashion winds.
THE BUSINESS OF IMAGE: Cindy Crawford has often said that even she works for Cindy Crawford, Inc. Celebs are big business, and their image is a crucial part of the package. Wear something "creative" or questionable, and expect to be slaughtered & ridiculed by the press & tabloids the following week. Not having a perfectly slick image 24/7 can hurt the bottom line from the roles you are cast in, to the products you are paid to endorse. To avoid costly fashion mistakes, celebs hire professional stylists & handlers, and the result: incredibly slick & completely boring.
THE BUSINESS OF FASHION: As creative as fashion can be, it's also a business & exists to make money. Fashion designers have to bow to the bottom line. Since celebs are no longer free to be the creative & inspiring Jackie O-style icons they once were, fashion designers now look elsewhere for inspiration. And these days, true fashion creativity comes from the streets.
STREETFASHION: THE NEW MUSE In a post-9/11 world, people are reaching for more luxurious, higher priced fashion staples...after all, who knows what will happen tomorrow, so why not enjoy now? In addition, there are more choices that ever in stores & on the internet, and at any pricepoint from H&M and Target, to four-figure designer. And the fashionista who can mix a little of this designer with a dash of that designer, with a fun H&M piece thrown in, rules the fashion roost. A chic girl who edits what's out there and boils it down to an essential look - without worries about what it will cost her & her career - is the new fashion muse for the likes of influential & talented designers like Marc Jacobs. The chic French fille tends to do this naturally, as do musicians - so it's not surprising that the White Stripes's Meg White is currently starring in Marc Jacobs ad campaign.
BE YOUR OWN MUSE & SAVE FASHION IN THE PROCESS: Thanks to venues like H&M or Luella Bartley for Target, or even the relatively affordable Marc by Marc Jacobs, everyone now has a way into fashion. And the way to really enjoy fashion & stand out from the pack? Put to rest any lingering loyalties to a single designer. What will save fashion? Ignore what the press is determining are "the trends" of the season & focus on what looks good on you & what you love. Then splurge on something fabulous & use it all the time. Take that designer bag with you everywhere from school to the gym, and don't treat it like it's precious (those clever French fashionistas understand this intuitively). It's empowering to think that it's we, the people, and our own personal sense of style that are going to bring back what we love best about fashion.
- Lesley Scott
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