Does The Wheel of Fashion Spin Too Fast?

Discussion in 'Fashion... In Depth' started by Koibito, Sep 6, 2013.

  1. fashionista-ta

    fashionista-ta Well-Known Member

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    I sometimes buy something to put in the closet and wait for the right season :wink: Last May I got an amazing deal on a cashmere sweater that I had to wait till the late months of the year to wear. I often buy something for spring at the turn of the new year, because there's always an opportunity in February here to break it out (this year there were several--not good). But I agree ... the way retail has been done has never made sense, ever since I first started shopping for myself many years ago.
     
  2. Benn98

    Benn98 Well-Known Member

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    It's just such an impossible situation and I imagine the aftershock runs much deeper. Sies Marjan's seasonal sale (yes, yes shock and horror, I like some of his stuff, lol) started last month already for some of his winter pieces yet technically it's still winter. So if you're an educated shopper you could actually get away with buying a look created for winter to still wear during winter, only not at the full price? And so the same cycle continues for summer as well. With seasons starting later and ending later, who is really losing out here at the end of the day? Mostly the brand because they have to finance both collections to be stocked at the same time and hope and pray that something sells. Bigger brands may be able to just write off unsold items without flinching (because most of them employ modern slave labour), but I'm sure smaller artisanal brands suffer worse.
    Can't imagine it's a very pleasant user experience for consumers either because they're perpetually left wanting - that's how the shopping system is set up.

    And to think the industry tried to send that faux 'mindful shopping' and 'repurpose your old clothes' message while still promoting 7 collections each year. Much like the British government's hypothetical approach in saying 'yes, there's a pandemic sweeping the country but we won't enforce anything. The onus is on you, the citizen, to make educated decisions that will impact yourself and others'. But in actual fact, it's really about how much money they can continue to make without looking like the culprit.
     
  3. fashionista-ta

    fashionista-ta Well-Known Member

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    ^ Yes, I've noticed all the pandemic-related promotions, including things like 'Buy clothes to WFH!' And 'Buy furniture to WFH!'

    I will grant you that I did buy some things, both clothes and furniture, when I started WFH. But it all comes across as a little shameless. (I was also amused by what Yoox considers WFH clothes. Shoes? No, you do not wear shoes to WFH.)

    Recently I did buy a couple of things related to the current situation that were not promoted to me. The first was a screen (zebra print leather and black wood screen from the 80s to screen off my work area, I suspect it's going to make me smile :smile:), the second a counter-top AquaPuro water filter that is in a museum collection for its design (to ensure I don't need to leave the house for drinking water, which until this week has been rationed). And polka dot masks from Etsy!

    One thing the current situation has reinforced in my mind is that we certainly can't expect or wait for others to tell us the right thing to do. Governments and corporations may in fact guide us in a direction contrary to our own best interests. We have to be able to think for ourselves and swim against the current if necessary.
     
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  4. Benn98

    Benn98 Well-Known Member

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    News is just in that Chloe signed this petition as well!

    Designers, retailers sign petition to overhaul fashion calendar

    BY CHRISTINA BINKLEY
    12 MAY 2020

    Dries Van Noten, Lane Crawford’s Andrew Keith and Altuzarra’s Shira Sue Carmi launched a forum to address fashion’s systemic issues.

    A group of influential fashion designers, retail executives and others on Tuesday issued a collective call for a more sensible calendar that would deliver clothing to stores in the season it can be worn, and institute discounting at the end of the season rather than the middle.

    In a Zoom call, designer Dries van Noten, Lane Crawford chief executive Andrew Keith and Altuzarra chief executive Shira Sue Carmi described what they hope will redirect their global industry to an annual calendar that is more sensible for consumers, brands and stores. “This is a super challenging time but let’s not let this crisis go to waste,” said Carmi, who stepped into the job at Altuzarra in January just as the coronavirus was spreading.

    “It’s not normal to buy winter clothes in May,” van Noten added. “It’s not normal to work with the design team on a collection that hits the shop floor one month and a half before it’s discounted at 50 per cent.”

    It is an unusual coalition of luxury industry players — the petition has so far been signed by a lengthy list including Nordstrom, Bergdorf Goodman, Holt Renfrew, Mytheresa, Harvey Nichols, Tory Burch and Pierre-Yves Roussel, Marine Serre, Craig Green, Gabriela Hearst and Mary Katrantzou — and a cry of anguish. For several months, factories have been shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic and Spring 2020 collections sit unsold in shuttered stores and storerooms. Autumn collections are expected to arrive in September, just weeks before the normal calendar of store discounts begins.


    What the statement isn’t is an actionable plan: antitrust laws in many countries prevent any formal agreement that would seek to control pricing decisions by the brands. Instead, the group, which doesn’t have a name, has posted the petition online at ForumLetter.org and is calling for more signatures in an informal display of unity.

    None of the ideas under discussion are new. Brands and retailers have been calling for an end to early discounting since a wave of dramatic sales launched during the 2008 financial crisis. And buy-now-wear-now has been experimented with for at least five years — and even longer for proponents such as the designer Donna Karan. But they are given new urgency as a result of the pandemic.

    The forum also raises awareness of the sheer amount of fashion products flooding the market, calling for an end to “unnecessary product”, less fabric and inventory waste, and less travel by making use of digital showrooms. Bringing that to fruition would require each company to alter the way it does business, including budgeting and production calendars. But some of these changes are already in the works: autumn collections will hit store shelves in the autumn this year because of Covid-related factory delays, and many brands are implementing digital showrooms in the interim, with travel largely shut down. But ultimately, to enact changes permanently will require hundreds of companies to individually change their operations.

    Keith initiated the forum after receiving a request from an online platform he didn’t name asking if he’d join a discounting plan for Lane Crawford inventory. “It was one of those galvanising moments,” Keith said. He wrote to van Noten, and they quickly formed a group and organised what became three Zoom calls in which they created the forum and petition.

    Van Noten described hoping that fashion week organisers will coordinate market weeks for pre-collections so that store buyers don’t have to fly repeatedly around the world to place orders. Keith noted that stores need to re-engage with consumers who have been trained that paying full price is a mistake because sales will begin within a few weeks of fashions being delivered to stores.

    How does the industry make a reality out of this statement of intent?

    “We don’t have the answer to that,” Keith said.

    Vogue Business
     
  5. Benn98

    Benn98 Well-Known Member

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    Bridget Foley’s Diary: Donna Karan, Fashion’s Cassandra

    Donna Karan has long predicted that too-early deliveries would ruin fashion. In the wake of COVID-19, others finally believe her.

    By Bridget Foley on May 21, 2020

    “For some reason beyond my comprehension, stores want us to ship them six-ply cashmere sweaters and double-face coats by July 15. Of course, that’s fine with the consumer, because she’s learning to buy on sale by Oct. 15….The industry has to come together, to support one another and sell the right clothes at the right time of year. — 1997

    “We’re all in trouble. We have to collaborate to create the kind of change [we need] to get out of these waters that we’ve created for ourselves. Nobody else did this. We did this.” — 2009

    “What I think we’ve got to do is lower the volume on the press shows….Why do we need to blast out five months in advance rather than when it goes into the store?” — 2010

    “When it’s snowing out, they’re looking for a pair of boots or a warm coat [and can’t find them]. That’s why I started Urban Zen. I couldn’t take it anymore. If they’re not going to do it, I was going do it.” — 2016

    Donna Karan — fashion’s own flesh-and-blood Cassandra. The Trojan princess was doomed to foresee the future, its dire straights perhaps preventable if only people listened and believed. Yet her cries fell on deaf ears. Donna has predicted cause-and-effect fashion industry maladies for years, and no one believed her — at least not until a global pandemic hit, killing hundreds of thousands of people and bringing the worldwide economy to a screeching halt.

    A major thorn for Donna: those early deliveries. The comments above are hers from the years noted, the first two made at the WWD CEO Summit, the others, from published interviews. For years, Donna has decried the self-defeating practice of shipping clothes into stores months in advance of their weather appropriateness, all but insuring early, extreme markdowns. For years, some in the industry would nod in false agreement, secretly willing her to just shut up. Mostly, eyes rolled and shoulders shrugged, silent declarations that this was all just “Donna being Donna.”

    Not anymore, with the industry thrust into turmoil by the coronavirus pandemic that has stunned even the power players into pause mode. Meanwhile, for legions of independent brands, many of which were already struggling to stay afloat, prospects are now grimmer than ever in the wake of the COVID-19 shutdown and the ever-deteriorating retail landscape (many, many such brands remain dependent on the traditional wholesale model) with, in the U.S. alone, Barneys New York gone, Neiman Marcus Group in bankruptcy and Nordstrom permanently closing 16 of its department stores, as well as all three Jeffrey outposts.

    Now, Donna’s decades-long proselytizing doesn’t ring so kooky. Last week saw the launch of overlapping initiatives aimed at pushing deliveries back to better align with the true seasons and instituting markdowns only at the end of selling seasons. Dries Van Noten leads the most notable of these efforts. It calls for women’s and men’s fall collections to be in store from August through January, with markdowns in January, and spring collections, from February through July, with markdowns in July. In addition, the plan seeks to increase sustainability by creating “less unnecessary product, less waste in fabrics and inventory, less travel.”

    Giorgio Armani didn’t seek consensus. He kickstarted the slower fashion movement last month, committing to a more seasonally correct delivery schedule on his own, while Saks Fifth Avenue also called for such a shift.

    If this isn’t a moment for a Donna check-in, what is? Though no one involved with any industrywide initiatives had approached her for advice or involvement, if she feels at all exasperated, frustrated or hurt, she’s not letting on. Last week, she signed Van Noten’s consortium letter at forumletter.org.

    “This is not about an ego,” Donna said. “There’s no ‘me’ here. This is a ‘we.’ This virus has impacted the world.” She feels encouraged that broad pockets of the industry are finally realizing the need for change, while saddened by the depth of devastation wrought in getting to that point. “I’m happy that this [industry effort] is happening. I’m sorry that it took this pandemic, a crisis of this level, to bring everybody together. This is a very, very difficult time. We are going to be looking at changes every single minute of the day. But where there is a problem, there is a solution — this is what I believe.”

    Donna has long trumpeted the importance of marshaling the industry’s various factions and individuals to work together for the common good. In articulating that desire now, she indulged in a little classic Donna-speak. “I have always wanted to collaborate, to communicate, to create change,” she said, launching heartily into a litany of her beloved c-words, “cotton, cashmere, café, concierge, create, collaborate, communicate, change. Clothes. Country. City. Conscious consumerism.” At that last one, she stopped herself. “I mean, a consciousness must go into this,” she mused. “We will all be more conscious of the choices we are making. We are more conscious of our reality from an economical and environmental point of view, and that will dictate not only how but also why customers buy from a brand….It’s a wakeup call. God forbid, something [terrible] happens to you, there’s a lesson. With darkness comes light. It’s a guarantee.”

    That said, in pursuit of that light, Donna acknowledged feeling “like a broken record” after 25-plus years of passionate campaigning. “We’re not serving us [as designers], and we’re not serving the community, we’re not serving our industry. We’ve got to redesign it. I mean, that’s what we stand for, designers. We have to redesign this industry.”

    Though she believes that measures should have been implemented years ago, she’s resolute that the past is over, and that the future offers no gray area: Now, change must occur. “I’ve been saying this till I’m deaf, dumb and blue in the face….We don’t have a choice,” she said, except to agree “how we all have to come together.”

    While history offers no exact parallel to this extraordinary moment, Donna cited precedent for the industry functioning as a genuine community in pursuit of the greater good. She noted two examples: the AIDS crisis and the aftermath of 9/11. “Never will I forget what happened to an industry at that moment in time,” she recalled of the latter, while still highlighting a difference between then and now. The September 11th attacks happened during New York Fashion Week, shaping a grim milestone for the entire fashion world. But they were attacks against the U.S., with all of the physical devastation, and much of the psychological/emotional impact, centered there. “[The whole world] wasn’t living it,” she said. “Now, every one of us is living it. Nobody’s [immune], no Chinese, no French, no American, no company, nobody. This is a global problem.”

    Yet Donna refuses to blame the fashion industry’s current problems on COVID-19; rather, the crisis has exacerbated long-escalating issues. “Was there a global problem prior to this? Prior to this, go up and down Madison Avenue and see 45 empty stores. Prior to this, go down on Broome Street — empty. So this problem in fashion was [pre-existing]. Too much, too early, too many. For designers themselves, it was a machine. That’s why Urban Zen has been so important to me, because I couldn’t take it anymore.”

    Donna turned her full attention to that philanthropically oriented business in 2015, after departing Donna Karan International, then owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton. She said that even during quarantine customers are buying, responding to the personal experience of connecting with sales associates via Zoom and FaceTime. Then, there’s that practicality issue: “If you look at my web site, it still has cashmere sweaters. It’s cold out.”

    For all her support and practice of in-season deliveries, she views the early ships that put winter coats on retail racks in August and airy spring fare, before Christmas, as only a part of fashion’s woes. She opened a broader dialogue a while back (pre-COVID-19) with then newly ensconced CFDA chairman Tom Ford. “Tom said that he wanted to get involved with the younger generation. I said, ‘that’s’ great, but I feel the entire industry has a much larger problem.” They agreed to talk again, after the fall 2020 show season. And then came COVID. She plans to resume the conversation at some point.

    Tops on her agenda: the timing of shows. Donna believes ardently that online consumer exposure to collections six months before the clothes hit the stores — whenever that is — amounts to commercial disaster, and is a primary cause for many of the industry’s current problems. Translation: She remains a stalwart see-now-buy-now advocate, something of a lone luxury wolf on that point. Unlike the issue of early deliveries, which went unaddressed until now, the industry, particularly the American industry, experimented with the see-now-buy-now model several years ago and with few exceptions (Tommy Hilfiger comes to mind), it flopped, particularly at the luxury level. As of the last NYFW in February, only Ralph Lauren at fashion’s high end was still on the spring 2020 timetable — or would have been, had he not sat out the show season altogether.

    Donna rejects the broadly accepted view that in-season showings can’t work. “We used to show the press and retailers early, and WWD would run two pictures,” she said. “You can’t knock off a collection based on two pictures.” That was pre-Internet. But today, entire collections are transmitted around the world in real time, allowing fast fashion’s purveyors months to copy the prime goods (and they only need weeks). Since they can get the look out there fast and cheap, why should the consumer pay much more months later, when her mind-set has already moved on to what’s next? “Particularly now, more than ever,” Donna offered, “we are communicating in the moment and living in the moment. We have learned a lesson in this coronavirus — we are living in the moment.”

    When the see-now-buy-now experiment first percolated, a powerful opposition argument went that the end goal of a runway show ignites a designer’s creativity. Donna doesn’t buy it. “There are remedies,” she said. “Nobody wants to stop artistic creation. But revealing all our creativity to the consumer world six months before [the retail season] is asking for trouble by being knocked off. We are responsible to create a successful business.” COVID-19 has forced the entire show system to be under scrutiny, with many brands and designers now pondering alternatives, digital and others, to the traditional runway. For independents, it’s a matter of weighing ROI — bottom line, is the show worth it? — while everyone, power players included, must consider filling the house. “Do you think you and everybody else will be boarding planes and staying in hotels in Milan and Paris in the fall?” Donna mused. “I don’t.”

    About young designers, Donna stressed that her comment to Tom Ford must not be misunderstood. She’s been following the work of Parsons School of Design graduating seniors online and is blown away by their talent level. But she cautions young arrivals to fashion design not to race into launching their own brands. “We have developed this ‘my collection, my collection, my collection, my collection, my collection’ mentality,” she said. “There are so many ‘my collections.’ I was thrown into it at 24 [at Anne Klein], but all I wanted to do was learn. Your educational process. if you think of a process, they don’t graduate [medical] school and all of a sudden become a doctor and start [seeing patients] or whatever. I’m not questioning embracing young designers. You do not ever hear me say that. I think we have to rethink what a designer community is for everyone.”

    That’s not all that needs rethinking. Asked if the sorry retail news of the past few weeks has made her nostalgic, Donna’s answer surprised. “I had a problem with [the major stores]. It’s difficult for me to say,” she said. “I appreciate them, and I feel terrible about [what’s happening]…I like the personalized feeling. I got lost in a big store. And then I kept on saying, ‘Guys, these stores have to have a new energy’; they lost the intimacy.”

    Not that a big store can’t captivate. Donna meandered way back, to Marvin Traub’s heyday at Bloomingdale’s. “Every year, he would do this exhibition on India or somewhere. That to me was the most exciting thing. It turned me on. You have to excite someone.”

    Such strong memories aside, above all, you must live in the present with an eye toward the future, however undefined and ominous it might seem. Donna is undaunted, especially as she senses the industry coming together. “I am hopeful now that so many are joining forces and making the commitment to change,” she said, articulating her dual perspective. “I’m coming in as a conscious consumer, and as a designer who cares about an industry.”

    WWD
     
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  6. Benn98

    Benn98 Well-Known Member

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    CFDA, BFC Send Reset Message

    The American and British fashion organizations encourage slowing down in light of the coronavirus.
    • 21 May 2020
    • BY BRIDGET FOLEY
    Fashion as we know it, a manic treadmill of multiple season endless drops, and frenzied travel, is over. If some in the industry have their way, fashion as we knew it back when — a two- season focus with creativity at the fore – may be making a comeback, a back- tothe- future transition triggered by the coronavirus crisis.

    Today, the Council of Fashion of Designers of America and the British Fashion Council will deliver to their memberships a joint message of purpose in response to the havoc wrought on the global fashion industry by the COVID-19 crisis. The missive’s recommendations are based on member input.

    “The COVID-19 pandemic is hitting the fashion industry from every angle,” the statement reads. It offers that, “while there is no immediate end in sight, there is an opportunity to rethink and reset the way in which we all work and show our collections.”

    The reset was a long time in coming, and only hastened by COVID-19. The statement maintains that, “The fashion system must change, and it must happen at every level….…These changes have been overdue for a while, and the fallout from [the] coronavirus has forced us all to prioritize the process of rethinking how our industry should function.”

    The two fashion organizations cite “the relentlessness of fashion’s unforgiving pace…for a long time, there have been too many deliveries and too much merchandise generated. With existing inventory stacking up, designers and retailers must also look at the collections cycle and be very strategic about their products and how and when they intend to sell them.”

    The joint missive stems from the close, long-term relationships of CFDA chairman Tom Ford and chief executive officer Steven Kolb with BFC’s ceo Caroline Rush. The overarching message reflects a theme now coursing through fashion in general — the need to slow down and reset, inclusive of what is becoming an industrywide battle cry to shrink production, focus on quality over quantity and erase “the clear disconnect between when clothes are delivered to stores and when the customer needs them.”

    Specific attention is also given to a reemphasis on creativity, the heart of which is a return to a schedule with a major focus on two collections each year. “We understand the commercial need for pre-collections and the need to fulfill the delivery windows of the current pre-collections,” the statement reads. “However, we recommend that these return to their original intended purpose, which was to offer the consumer beautiful clothes that carry the ethos of the individual brands, but are not necessarily sufficiently fashion-forward to warrant a show. When we are able to hold in-person events and showings, we would recommend that these presentations return to the showrooms.”

    While acknowledging that the spring 2021 showing season will be a virtual one, the statement looks ahead to a time, post-crisis, when in-person events can resume. There, it seems to take aim at the itinerant behemoth that defines the European cruise season. “We also recommend that brands attempt to show during the regular fashion calendar and in one of the global fashion capitals in order to avoid the strain on buyers and journalists of traveling constantly. This, too, has placed tremendous stress on the industry and significantly increased each individual’s carbon footprint.”

    Yet scaling back the preseasons applies broadly. Homing in on two primary seasons “can provide our talents with the time they need to reconnect to the creativity and craft that makes our field so unique in the first place.” A slower pace will also have a mental health benefit, providing an “opportunity to reduce the stress levels of designers and their teams, which in turn will have a positive effect on the overall well-being of the industry.”

    Another key issue: sustainability. The statement encourages not only less product but better, more creative product, that extends its desirability and life span. “The focus on creativity and quality of products, reduction in travel and focus on sustainability (something we encourage of the entire industry) will increase the consumer’s respect and ultimately their greater enjoyment in the products that we create.”

    WWD
     
  7. TheYellowRaincoat

    TheYellowRaincoat New Member

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    The network helped us to develop our own personalities, to belong to small urban tribes, to differentiate ourselves from the rest.
    Now, i think this situation will make us more aware of belonging to the same society.
    Its time to feel part of something bigger.
     
  8. mellowgloom

    mellowgloom New Member

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    The virus is a horrible thing, it is, but for those of us who are simply waiting out the quarantine it's given us a chance to breathe and reset. I cannot think of a time when the world has been forced to stop at the red light and actually take a breath economically, socially, technologically, artistically, etc. It is too easy to draw nice paltry advice from a yogi who says "Stop and smell the flowers. Take time for yourself to figure out things" but this is exactly the opportunity to do it. Instead of running the well dry we have time to collectively recharge and potentially revitalize our creative juices as artists, whether it be painting, film, video games, music, and of course fashion. Hopefully this proves to be a wake up call for those in the industry and admirers on the sidelines that this trend of fast rotation is as stupid as it is self-destructive. Let things marinate for awhile longer, remind people that creativity and inspiration isn't an inexhaustible resource like air, but the product of a living person's mind, a mind that sometimes needs to sit and think for a moment. Speed doesn't always equate to quality or superiority.
     

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