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    Fashion is Dead. Long live Fashion

    Oktober 20th, 2014

    Fashion trends are getting more and more tangible for a broader audience. Fast fashion styles are certainly the most influential evolution the fashion industry has ever had to deal with. The given scenario separates fashion peers all over the world. Fashion is dead say some. Fashion is in the process of inventing itself anew say others. Which side of the fence do you sit on?

    Don’t wanna read the entire article? Just tune in on Jeremy Lindbergs video interview. The NYC showroom owner explains the changes the fashion industry has gone through lately and how it is going to further evolve.

    High Fashion is getting tangible
    How ‘trend’ differs from ‘fashion’ is the most crucial question for those trying to understand the contemporary development in the fashion industry and therefore to predict the future of fashion. Especially since high-end fashion is not untouchable anymore. It’s actually constantly surrounding us due to hundreds of online fashion retailers such as ‘Gilt Groupe’ or ‘net-a-porter’ just to name the most popular. Each style invented in any part of the world can be seen instantly. Fashion is not a matter of location anymore. Contemporary fashion is accessible all over the globe whether you are living in a major city or somewhere out in the boonies. That’s one of the huge changes the industry has to struggle with. It’s certainly a blessing for the consumer. But how does it affect fashion designers?

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    Young Fashion Designers benefit from the Change in Fashion
    What caters to the masses doesn’t make it necessarily easier for industry workers. Fast fashion retailers literally force designers to be very quick in designing and inventing clothes. The workflow in designing clothes in a seasonal cycle becomes diluted. Designers have to produce more styles and looks than they has been used to. This obviously leads to the point that industry peers have to tighten up their creative process to serve the given time frame. In order to do that, the design process becomes sort of an assembly line and this definitely leads to the question: Doesn’t a tighter time frame lack quality? Yes, it does. And no it doesn’t, depending on what the industry is going to project from this change. It’s the same question the media business has had to deal with over a decade ago and somehow is still looking for an answer. It is possible to provide a certain quality even if you have to deal with a narrow timeframe and less of a budget. You just have to tweak the approach. If you are not willing to take that chance – and it is definitely a chance, especially for young designers – you can’t compete in this industry anymore. While more fashion retailers serve a broader audience, the price range decreases. And lower retail prices force designers to reduce labor and raw material costs. The naked truth is: Fashion Designers all over the world have to produce more designs in less time for lower prices. That’s a challenge – for sure. But it is an opportunity too.

    Customers want to be taken seriously
    But not only is fashion design more tangible. The industry has to deal with well informed and interested customers who already play a key role in the development of contemporary fashion. The customers‘ personal opinion is already part of the designers finding-process. Fashion and therefore fashion design is not the black box it used to be. The growth of the internet and the social media movement certainly contributes to that. Especially for the independent designers it’s going to be a key issue to evolve and maintain a close relationship to their potential clients. In the future, a fashion designer will only be successful when he can manage the balancing act of influencing people and staying tangible at the same time. Customers want to be taken seriously. They want to be sure that their opinion is going to be considered. In return, they are willing to pay a price that’s above average. Although it will definitely not be the same amounts designers were used to cashing in on in the past. However, only the relationship to a loyal but interested customer will assure future success. Although the prices for individual and fashionable clothes won’t be in the same range they were years ago, fashion designers will always have a clientele that’s willing to pay for high-end craftsmanship and offbeat design. Fortunately, there are too many fashion lovers amongst us that will appreciate high-end fashion for good.

    Fast Fashion vs. High Fashion: There is room for both
    We have to face the fact that fashion is part of our accelerating world and therefore evolves more quickly than it did years ago. The huge demand on expensive and exclusive luxury goods still exists. Fashion isn’t dead. But it has received company from something we call fast fashion. Something that caters to the idea of fashion with one exception: Quality. And therefore fast fashion can only be a substitute for those who can’t afford high-end fashion or actually aren’t interested in quality products. “Different customers have different needs” summarizes Michael Tien, chairman of work-wear retailer G2000, the development. Everyone is looking for his own well-being. “The buying behavior has simply changed.”

    The fact of the matter is that the majority of the world’s population belongs to the middle and upper middle income class. Consumers are fashion conscious and price sensitive at the same time. Due to the unprecedented changes, the fashion industry has to respond to both, market changes and consumer preferences. The undoubted pioneer of the fast fashion concept is Spanish clothing retailer Zara with its 4,780 stores in 77 countries. Their new lines are being shipped into the stores twice a week which ensures that customers always find new fashion items every time they visit the store. That’s the reason why fast fashion had simultaneously become incredibly attractive and essential to the public. But while the middle class is rather on the hunt for reasonable fast fashion offers, the huge demand for expensive and exclusive luxury goods still exists for more affluent parts of society.

    The bottom line is: Fast fashion has not killed Couture and never will. Fashion is not dead at all. Rather than focus on what was better in the past, we should look to see what we can gain from the future. The fashion industry has just moved forward. There is nothing to worry about. Fashion was what it was in the olden days, is what it is today, and will be something different in the future. And quite frankly: Isn’t that exactly what we are looking for?



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