At the tail of the first decade of the 21st Century, vintage for the first time, went mainstream into high fashion. Spearheaded by Gucci, heritage designers raced to dust off their archives, bringing back logocentric jacquard handbags that were once ubiquitous at the turn of the century. The calling for a conscious economy and sustainable consumerism transformed the perception of second hand goods from “thrift” to “hipster chic”. Vintage logo canvas bags from Gucci, Dior, and Fendi doubled or tripled their resale value from just a few years ago, as Instagram stars mixed and matched their million dollar lifestyle with a satirical Sex & The City flare.Read More
Fashion today is in a whirlwind of cluelessness and formulaic forgeries. In an era when everyday thousands of insta-stars pop out of Instagram's bacteria lab, artistic directors no longer reign trends. They are from the bottom up in the forms of likes and shares.
You would think democracy breeds diversity but is today's fashion more diverse or more uniformed? The answer is more than obvious in the SS 2018 fashion week, when everybody looked the same, everybody looked like the 90s.Read More
After putting DKNY up for a $650 millions sale to Ivanka Trump's manufacturer G-III in 2016, Bernard Arnault is rushing to rescue the deep in red Marc Jacobs, which just consolidated its diffusion line and revamped its pricing. Stefan Larsson is leaving Ralph Lauren for good; Calvin Klein pins hope on Raf Simons. BCBG Max Azria goes bankrupt; Kate Spade is up for sale, Phillip Lim, Jason Wu on the fade-out. When is the last time Alexander Wang hit fashion headline after his departure from Balenciaga? Tory Burch and Michael Kors are afloat but finding it difficult to shake off their "mall designer" identity. And worse comes to worst, Suno just shut down and liquidated all of its products.
What is happening to American fashion designers? A dreamland of creativity and innovation does not seem to be a promising breeding ground for iconic designers. Oscar de la Renta is the only name qualifies for an icon, and maybe Tom Ford.
When you think about the legends - Coco Chanel, Christian Dior, Lanvin, Balenciaga, they all thrived in the 1920s, an era of dramatic social, political, and economic changes; Lagerfeld, Saint Laurent, and Chloé rode on another progressive wave in the 1970s - fashion has always been intertwined with history - social changes, scientific development, economic upheavals, and political movements. Fashion is larger than a business. It is a facet of humanity. There are stories behind your oversized bomber jackets and ripped jeans.
Going back to the three pillar American designers - Michael Kors, Tory Burch, and Kate Spade, they are the Olive Garden, Red Lobster and Applebee's of fashion, ubiquitous, accessible, and mediocre. An iconic designer is fundamentally a persona - as sophisticatedly alluring as Tom Ford, or as outside-of-the-box and offbeat as Comme des Garçons. An iconic designer also does not need a lot of celebrity endorsements. Who would remember the blogger who has 2 million Instagram followers 100 years later, but a piece of classic garment can be passed down generation to generation, with a circa of 2017 (vintage). An icon is also not automatically justified by arbitrarily jacked up price tags.
To be an icon, you have to be bigger than a business and perhaps as crazy as Steve Jobs. Iconic designers does not care about what customers want because they create demand that do not exist in the first place. Can you name an iconic product that is the brain child of market research?
It is an unspoken best practice that luxury designers make the bulk of their products in China and ship them to Italy or France to get relabelled. It's more astonishing though, heritage brands such as Louis Vuitton and Chanel are not spared from this game.Read More
Is minimalism overshadowed by maximalism? When embroidery and faux pearls climb onto Fendi's Peekaboo, when Saint Laurent irons patchworks onto its Sac de Jour, when Prada plants florals onto its Saffiano Galleria, I see all these heritage designers rush to touch up their iconic shapes with a strike of "Gucci".Read More
The counterfeit market in China has entered a highly sophisticated digital age following if not surpassing its genuine counterpart. Products of both mega brands and up-and-coming labels are knocked-off at the speed of fast fashion and distributed through a multi-layered network enabled by e-Commerce and social media.Read More