Saturday, June 23, 2012

Fashion Designers Improve with age

I was looking through the New York Resort 2013 collections this morning and I came across Jen Kao's offering. Now I've been covering or assigning coverage to Jen's work since 2010 so I've seen most of her growth and development as a designer. Below you'll find selected looks from her earliest collections right up through her most recent one. Designers must be given them time and space by the industry to explore and grow. The long term success of any designer is the ultimate goal of not only the designer but the industry in which they work. The buyers will buy what they believe will sell to their customers and that formula will never be altered nor should it. But what should the rest of us be doing in regards to how we interact with our future?
Jen Kao SS 10


It must be recognized by all that it takes a few seasons for a designer to really start to hit their stride. They will slowly find their sweet spot between pure artistic expression and what the market will support. They will begin to understand their own design signature that makes their work recognizable and distinct. And perhaps most importantly they will gain more and more understanding and comfort with their client. Knowing who buys you and why is critical to the explosive success that often occurs in around the seventh through tenth seasons. 

Jen Kao SS 11

It is my belief that everyone in this industry who has been around for awhile should adopt the attitude of patient teacher when dealing with young talent. Being positive, but honest and using our experience to explain and instruct where others have gone wrong in the past or how they have sidestepped potential traps.
 Jen Kao FW12

To some extent I believe this is happening as I have never heard the word mentor used in the garment district more than I have in the past two years. As well as the recent recognition that their needs to be more post-education instruction for recent graduates. However my lingering concern is, what is being taught? As I've mentioned here recently there is a great deal of delusion and outright dishonesty in the fashion industry in New York City. We absolutely must create an environment that is both positive and 100% honest. We all know that artists improve with age, it's our job to make the space so that they have the time to do that.
 Jen Kao Resort 13

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