Is this the future of fashion?
A Designer's Perspective
Do you ever wonder if Ralph Lauren would make it if he started out as a fashion designer today?
Think about it for a moment: this was a New York high school kid who would sell handmade ties to fellow students for a $7 mark up. Nobody had heard of Ralph Lauren, and nobody was interested in carrying his non-existent brand. His “creations”, which were limited to a single wide tie design and a big dream, were initially rejected by Bloomingdales because Lauren refused to remove his name from them. But he went on to be the head of a 7.9 billion global empire.
Fast forward 50 years. Could this happen again? Or have the demands of mass market consumption put a bullet in the head of the risk-taking, rule-bending, game-changing dreamers?
Do the stringent requirements of multiple yearly collections and predicated seasonal trends undermine the grassroots approach necessary for creative fashion geniuses to thrive – or is there still room that can be carved out in the industry to incubate their creative magic?
Fashion will slowly relinquish the endless restricting bombardment and seek refuge in small artisanal houses
Fashion is one of the few industries out there that seamlessly combines the power of art and commercialization under one title. Just as it is true with any art form, fashion is meant to be enjoyed, to intrigue and to ignite a sense of empowerment in its owner.
We all know that fashion does not exist in a vacuum, it never did. And now that statement is true more than ever. Embracing a sense of zeitgeist – which literally translates into the spirit of time – is a necessity for any designer. The more attune the designer is with the changes that are taking place around us, the more that designer can make an impactful presence in the market. And considering how saturated this particular market is, I’d say that that is a skill few can survive without.
The gap between true fashion and mass consumerism of clothing is growing and it’s time for each designer to pick which side of the line they choose to stand on. The latter will continue to grow in manufacturing houses that run on low margins, high volumes and pressurized timelines that stifle the emergence of the creative mind. While fashion will slowly relinquish the excess baggage and endless restricting bombardment and seek refuge in small artisanal houses, where the freedom to create and experiment has not been stifled.
The atelier, or workshop, or whatever you wish to call your creative haven, will reign again as the incubator of creative magic. This is where all the great brands began, from Ralph Lauren to Hermès, they all had humble beginnings that paid little or no attention to the market trends, but rather created their own by perfecting their craft at hand, one craft at a time, till they achieved their signature expression of what fashion meant to them and the strong message that they wanted to convey to their consumers.
So what does this all mean to current designers and aspiring designers? Only by freeing ourselves from the regulated standards, placed upon us by the industry players as a whole, will we be able to experience the essence of inspired creation, aka, art. That is what this industry was intended for in the first place. This is why we chose to enter into this world that embraces the crazy dreamers. The crazier the better! Creativity is fun, experimenting is fun, seeing how far you can push an idea and watching the sparkle of joy that it gives to another is the utmost fun! Why stifle such beauty? Why apply layers upon layers of redundant guidelines? It’s time to shed all these layers and go back to the pure quintessence of what fashion was intended to be, an expression of frivolous passion and unapologetic wearable creativity.