With a new collection calling around every corner, the chain of supply and demand never ceases. But is this pressure weeding out new, young talent before they even have a chance to get a foot in the door of the fashion house? Suzy Menkes explored this in her latest essay for The New York Times.
The fashion industry is broken in more ways than one: runway shows don’t match retail expectations; designers can’t keep up with demand; and customers can’t buy a coat in winter. So who’s to blame?
I WAS CHATTING WITH THE HOT young London designer Jonathan Anderson, marveling at how in just three years he had matched his transgender frilly men’s wear with the addition of his intriguing women’s collections.
“What’s that?” I asked, looking at a spread of drawings on the wall of his studio-cum-workroom in London’s down-at-the-heels Dalston neighborhood. (Think: East Village.)
“Resort!” said the 28-year-old Northern Irishman whose label is known as J. W. Anderson.
Resort? Already! This guy has been in business only five years and has just 12 people in his studio. Does he really have to join the fashion treadmill, churning out more than four collections a year? A treadmill it is, as Alber Elbaz of Lanvin said with a sigh recently, before his men’s-wear show: he used to go on exploratory trips and hang out in downtown galleries, trawling for inspiration for his shows. But with the number of collections now doubled, there is no time to do much travel beyond the virtual kind.
If we accept that the pace of fashion today was part of the problem behind the decline of John Galliano, the demise of Alexander McQueen and the cause of other well-known rehab cleanups, nonstop shows seem a high price to pay for the endless “newness” demanded of fashion now.
The strain on both budgets and designers is heavy. And only the fat-cat corporations can really afford to put on two mega ready-to-wear shows a year, or four if you add two haute couture shows, or six if you count men’s wear. Resort and prefall push the number up to eight. A couple of promotional shows in Asia, Brazil, Dubai or Moscow can bring the count to 10.
Ten shows a year! If you knock off the holiday season and the summer break, that means a show nearly every month.
But who needs more fashion and is gagging for yet another show? And how can designers cope, given that even the prolific Picasso did not churn out work like factory-baked cookies?
It is not just creatives who are under pressure. We editors might love, love, love! a fall collection, but before it is even delivered to American stores in August for our readers to savor, fashion is on to the next big thing. (Retail shipping dates vary in different international cities.) A round of resort shows starts during the early summer months, over a six-week period. There might be new ideas, simpler, more wearable styles or even a negation of what went before. But not to worry! The fall collection will be gone from the stores in approximately two months, with unsold pieces we had raved about hanging forlornly as markdowns. – Suzy Menkes
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The pictures above to illustrate this publication, were edited by M.M ‘s exclusively for Creative Boys Club. Some of the principal designers of today like Marc Jacobs, Riccardo Tisci (Givenchy), Olivier Rousteing (Balmain), Karl Lagerfeld, Christopher Bailey (Burberry), Alexander Wang, Tom Ford, Rick Owens and Raf Simons.