Fashion Industry. Is the pace too fast?
* Marc Jacobs at rehab a few years back. Alexander McQueen’s suicide. John Galliano in rehab. Christophe Decarnin recovering from nervous exhaustion. This is making fashion veterans wonder if the relentless pace of the industry (a pace demanded by executives to meet profit forecasts) isn’t taking its toll on creative talents.
* In the old days, there were only a dozen major fashion companies and the house designers used to jet off for three weeks to Morocco to find their inspiration and come back with a color palette, some fabric swatches and a stack of ideas. Today there are thousands of companies, very tight schedule and no space for imperfection.
* The shift occurred during the past two decades, when business tycoons took over established family-run houses and, with the help of bright, young talents, transformed them into publicly traded billion-dollar global luxury brands.
* As the luxury industry grew exponentially (today, there are nearly $200 billion a year in sales) the workload equally increased.
* When designers start, they want to have one line and make the things they love. But after a while they are forced by their backers to grow and, at a certain point, it never stops.
* Tom Ford, after leaving Gucci, quietly started a much smaller company, and eschews the fashion show formula, preferring to present his offerings in a showroom. “I wanted to make clothes for the customer,” he said. “Sometimes beautiful clothes are just simply beautiful clothes and not necessarily ‘news.’ I am doing what I feel is right for my design house and for my customer”.
* Vogue’s Andre Leon Talley calls Ford’s business model a “new template for fashion”.