Quoted from Business of Fashion; Luxury Institute’s Pedraza says, “For the first time in many years, there’s a real sense of threat,” he said. Companies are focused “on survival and dismantling the old structure.”
I'm another one of those girly kids that grew up drawing dresses in their notebook instead of attempting to learn math. I grew up pursuing the career of my dreams at full force- living in blissfully ignoring the unfortunate realities that came along with the fashion industry. People who were unfamiliar with my work habits always scoffed, "you won't make money, why don't you do something else." Those phrases did nothing but made me work harder to pursue the only dream I'd ever had. . .
As I started studying, the blissful ignorance had vanished and the reality of the industry came to light. While I'm still optimistic about the varying gratifications that come from working in this industry, it's still daunting to dive into a career that is, as some would say, dying.
Fashion saw a low point in 2016.. The ever changing and unpredictable demands of the consumer gave a pressing deadline to companies that tried to keep up with their speed. We saw legendary figures resign from honorable roles; Raf Simons leaving Dior was foreshadowed yet appalling. The turnover rate at the top houses in the industry was frightening; perhaps it had to do with their inability to be creative given the parameters of their deadlines. Burberry among others, opted for simpler lines while Prada produced nearly 35% fewer designs. Maybe this is what results when the fashion industry shifts from an exclusive market to a mass market.
When fashion was first created, it was designed for the rich, the wealthy, and the glamorous members of society. Fashion was exclusive and unattainable. Louis the XIV and Marie Antoinette only allowed their closest friends to wear the blue coats and corsets that resembled their own. The modern king of fashion himself, Andre Leon Talley, stresses the importance of wearing gloves, a simple kiss of elegance, in his interview with Vanity Fair. Being well dressed has always been a symbol of status.. Fashion has always held an untouchable, arrogant place in society but now that it's become more inclusive and geared towards the mass markets, designers are tired and companies are worn out.
As fashion has raced against the clock season after season for the past few years the value of the garment has significantly decreased. 1% of our world is concerned with luxury fashion, but their scene is overcrowded and oversaturated; the handful of genius designers that used to deliver finely tailored apparel to their private customers is no longer relevant. As much as I'd like to disagree, there will never be another Coco Chanel in our lifetime. Companies that are designing for the other 99% are forced to restructure their teams just to make ends meet. The speed at which humans are cycling through clothing can only end poorly.
Fashion is more than the sketch in my notebook, it's more than what Kim Kardashian wears; fashion is an industry that relies on many moving parts to stay afloat. Fashion is concerned with social changes and political events because every single thing that happens in the world influences designers, marketers, and the CEOs who make an investment in our ideas. It's still a dream, it's still incredible to be working in a fast paced industry, but it's an industry where making a living has become increasingly more challenging.
I'd like to agree that I am at risk for stepping foot in this industry, but it's in our hands to create a new structure in fashion that correctly adapts to a quickly changing industry while fostering creativity and well-being among designers and consumers.