I usually don’t blog about retrospectives but two things in the fashion industry seems to be disappearing: innovation and esthetic. The cause may not be know but I like to offer a theory. Trends were once a way to link designer clothing together so we, as consumers, could mix designer duds confidently and also gain some moment of inspiration. The problem now is that trends have been taken up by manufactured brands, making innovation almost impossible.
Innovation and manufacturing
I have been watching “Project Runway” for several seasons. This season, however, I have seen great techniques that were mimicked by manufacturers so much that they have lost their innovation. From hand-stitched ruffles to sheer-overlay, all have made it into the manufacturer’s fort-ay that reproducing it by hand no matter how pain-staking has lost its charm. This questions the ability of new designers to create something unique. The answer is to move away from technique and into form and shape. The simplicity of the gusset bag created by Celine, showcases that form is leading the way in design. The solution can be simply mixing textiles, exaggerated silhouettes and over-the-top detail.
The younger generation seems to be getting it right but the fashion industry is one of the few ones left that cater to experience. I must say the older generation is messing the mark, so how does innovation exceed technology?
Trends and manufacturing
What was once a way for consumers to track similarities between designers, has now become a way for manufacturer companies to reach the masses. There is nothing wrong with a manufacturer company like express, NY&co, BEBE and GAP creating unique designs that represent today’s trends at an affordable price. However, some manufactured brands have become to replicate designer items that have been deemed trendy. When does a manufactured look-a-like become a knock-off?
I was in forever 21 the other day and was floored to see the now iconic (it has been in several magazines) Lavin word and pearl enamel necklace was being replicated and sold at a fraction price. I have also discussed seeing this happen in shoes as well. Apparently, replicating accessories is acceptable. Even blogs like Honestly WTF, feature how-to’s on replicating designer accessories.
The next question is if the ability to replicate accessories lie with the designer or with the manufacturers? Is the fact the designers are using cheap materials that are easily assessable to the general population making their designers accessories easy to replicate or are manufacturers taking advantage of the consumer’s love for designer’s goods?
Did GUESS really want to exploit lovers of Gucci when they selected their similar logo? Did Yves St Laurent want people to think they were wearing Louboutin when they also choose red for their soles?
Keeping up with the manufacturers
Some designers have found a way to use mass available components and still create something unique. This ability may be the new definition of innovation, finding new ways to use conventional materials. Maybe that can be the next designer challenge on “Project Runway”.
If you know a designer that is innovative, let us know and we will feature their work on our blog.