Time. I have a lot of that right now. I’m writing emails to companies here and there looking for opportunities and waiting. As much as I try to make each day productive, it gets hard when you ran out of things to do . The thing is this abundance that I have is a luxury that most people do not have, ironically from the people who work in the luxury fashion industry.
What I’ve been seeing is a fatigue of this fashion system which they say has been moving too fast. Too fast that they do not have time to rethink the collections which in turn suppresses the creativity for the sake of turnover. I assume that this might be the reason for the recent exits of designers from big houses. Come to think of it, the whole fashion industry has been democratised which has lead to a bigger market demand. Larger demand means more products and more products mean you need more seasons.
I do not blame these companies or brands for aspiring for growth because for me it is just organic for one entity to aspire for development. The question is where should this stop? When do you know to slow down and rethink how far you have gone. What does the brand actually represent?
The funny thing is, I had an interview a year ago for a brand which I was applying for a Merchandising Position. It was for a well-renowned company that has iconic products, has all kinds of point of sales and social media and of course has a wide selection of brands that segments their market: a younger brand, a mid-range brand, and a fashion-forward brand. So when they asked me, what do you think we need to improve on. I was stunned and thought to myself, there’s nothing I could answer to this question. They have done everything by the book. But for some reason, mostly on gut-feel, I said, “Focus. Your brand/company needs focus.” I continued by saying that “You have done everything right, I just think that it would be better if you have that one thing that you put all your efforts to.” Looking back, I guess I said that because they have done so much on their e-business, the internet, their stores and their brands, that I lost touch of what it was really all about: the history and the brand. The people who interviewed me said that I had a very interesting point of view on things. (Note: I didn’t get the position due to administrative issues. I have a Philippine passport which is basically is a set of papers showing my nationality without much advantages) Fast forward to today, a year later, I just read news articles saying that they are actually unifying the brands into one. I know this move may be far or completely unrelated to my interview but I guess somehow this strategy just makes sense.
It’s not just this one brand. There are numerous brands out there trying to stretch themselves as much as they can. They put so much pressure on themselves to just push and push and push. In the end there’s no more time for creativity or even the time to reflect and understand the raison d’etre.
All of these makes me ask myself: what has the fashion industry turned into? Can you still consider it “an accessible form of art” (debatable) when the vital creative process has been slowly being neglected? Or have we actually reached a point where these clothes are mere commodity?