Friday, February 15, 2013

Reflections on Fall '13

This is not about what I observed this NYFW in clothing & accessories. It's about what I observed in design, branding, marketing, and business. Put simply this is what I learned from Fall 2013-14 NYFW.

The general fashion press is so young that they don't know enough to write intelligent reviews. This is a phase, there are many talented and passionate fashion writers out there and I am confident as they learn more about fashion history, fabric, and techniques, they will be able to tell chicken salad from chicken "    " but right now too many of them can't. Please understand I'm not talking about whether they like something or not or even their taste level. I'm strictly speaking on their understanding of the history of fashion and the actual work that designers do. The level of commentary and review is just simply not very educated right now.

Too many emerging brands don't consider market position when they design and present. This one's tricky because in general I've been very publicly opposed to designers letting the market influence their creative process. There are two practical exceptions though, one is wearability and the other is understanding the established designers who you are competing against in your aesthetic. There are a limited number of, "types", of fashion. By that I mean that the market organically groups designers that tend to favor certain approaches to material and construction. So you then have competition for rack space and the hearts and minds of consumers whether you want to or not. It's important to recognize who they are and then understand what you naturally do that they do not. That's what makes you special and that's your biggest selling point.

It is still better to do your own PR and collection presentation than to hire bad PR. I see the same simple, avoidable mistakes over and over season after season. And more importantly the same throwing away of money that doesn't make you any back.

IMG is quietly panicking to get the tents to work. From the more relaxed entrance standards to having pay for everything to eat and drink but free beer at the same time. They're throwing you know what at the fan and hoping. They are now live streaming shows and yet there were far fewer SRO's and a lot of empty seats this season. The inescapable truth as I said years ago is that fashion shows aren't great for the designer but fashion week is critical to the industry. There needs to be a best & brightest sit down and soon.

FashionGPS could be the future of a lot of elements of the industry but in it's fifth season it's still really buggy and multiple applications fail many times a day. I think you're great Eddie Mullon but you still have some serious work to do.

It's painful to watch designers fade into dullsville. A lot of bright young talents from a few seasons ago are either still doing the same thing they did when I first saw them or have slid into having as much creativity as Juicy Couture. I suppose it's normal but it's the first time I'm dealing with it and I hate it.

Addendum*
If you are doing a show at a space other than L.Center or Milk Studios you must budget for a lighting designer. The resulting poor photos when you don't will prevent your designs from being shared by potential millions.





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