The ever changing face of fashion
The fashion world has been hit hard in the past year with news of several designers stepping down from their positions at big brands. Raf Simons at Dior, Alber Elbaz from Lanvin and Alexander Wang from Balenciaga are the big ones that spring to mind.
There has been much speculation as to why the designers have opted to leave (sadly not so much in Elbaz’s case) but what is the real reason? Us fashion followers would think it is the dream to be top of your game and design for these luxury brands. I think the fashion industry has to appreciate these men are human too. Raf commented on how the pressure of producing six collections a year for Dior was too much. Bearing in mind he also has his own menswear collection to attend to. It makes you question how they manage to create very different collections for each brand month after month. Staying current and ahead of the game is the ultimate aim nevertheless there is always someone behind that goal driving it and perhaps it can be too much to compete with. We all know that fashion is one of if not the most competitive industry out there. I wonder how they do it; I work 9-5 Monday to Friday and that is enough for me! A night out during the week can mess my sleep pattern up and then I am not happy! It makes you think that with the enormous amount of pressure and expectation how did they manage? They seem to have it all with a seemingly lavish lifestyle and attending the best parties, nevertheless they still have a job title that they have to live up to which is definitely not a 9-5!
Alber Elbaz is going to be missed. Before he came to Lanvin it was mostly known for its perfume range and catwalk dominating fashion. He brought the brand to life and I know I personally associate him with the label as many others do, just like Karl with Chanel. Costume jewellery and rich jewel colours were always included in his collections and boy did they work well. How will Lanvin cope without him now? Also what is the next step for designers once they leave? Needless to say they won’t just disappear from the limelight altogether but maybe they need to so they can re-engage with life and be inspired to bring out fresh designs. Wang noted that he stepped down as he wants to concentrate on his own label, which is understandable considering the huge response it has had in the last few years. His Diffusion line for H&M flew off the shelves so no doubt the man can attract consumers to buy his product. He has his plan lined up, the others I am not as sure as of yet.
The fashion world is going to have a lot more changes coming from here on out. As mentioned at Autumn/Winter’16 fashion week, designers such as Burberry will be opting to have their collections for sale straight after the show rather than waiting close to 6 months for it to hit stores. Surely this will only add to the pressure designers feel already? At least now they can showcase them and have a few months to allow buyers to choose what to buy. They then know what does and doesn’t work for the season. It could turn out to be fashions biggest flop or a fantastic approach to sales, we will have to wait and see.
The decision is clearly as a result of the use of social media and people’s expectations. Fashion week is broadcast on every online platform even Snapchat got in on it this year. Fashion was already fast paced but now it’s more like a sprint that designers are trying to catch up with, to meet our ever-changing needs.
My only question is who can we get that can keep up with this new demand and be as good as the legendary designers we have already lost? One thing is for certain the stakes have never been higher.
Images Courtesy of Vogue.com and Condenast.co.uk