I just read an interesting article about a talk by Li Edelkoort, a leading trend forecaster, and her views on the current state of the fashion industry, and why it is not at the cutting edge. (full article at www.businessoffashion.com)
She was saying that fashion is no longer moving forward, but playing it safe and recycling old ideas. Instead of forging ahead with new ways of dressing, like Christian Dior did with the New Look in the fifties, designers are continuing to work within a confined framework of how a woman should dress, and are repeatedly referencing vintage or updating what we’ve seen before. I think the problem is partly that we really have seen so much before. If you think back over the past 100 years, the dramatic changes in fashion have covered a multitude of different styles and it feels as if we have seen every variation of how a body can be dressed.
There are designers trying to break this mould. Who are creatively pushing ahead and developing new concepts and styles. The problem seems to be that these looks can be so different, that the potential customer base is a very narrow section of the population, as these forward-thinking styles are often too challenging for many women.
The other aspect of this is that many successful fashion houses have become huge businesses so there is immense pressure to keep producing collections that will sell large quantities, This pressure to achieve financial results within a recognisable brand identity can restrict designers to reinventing collections with a trusted formula, and make them less able to take risks.
Adding the time pressures of producing multiple seasons and multiple product lines, many designers are so pushed to deliver so many bestselling pieces that innovation can be difficult to achieve. How can designers focus on innovative design integrity and creative expression when they are under intense time restraints, churning out huge quantities with little time to pause for thought?
The luxury of starting a brand is that there are no preconceptions or expectations. I am in the perfect position to experiment and have freedom of expression, to create a collection that is focussed, true to the brand aesthetic and not led by seasonal trends. I am not trying to completely change the way women dress, but to combine a contemporary, design-led approach with a luxurious wearability that will make women feel flattered and feminine.
I want to find that balance between artistic creativity and what makes a woman feel amazing when she puts on a dress.
Watch this space!