If you’re going into the fashion business today and want to be successful, you have to have money behind you … It’s not just about talent anymore. Ten years ago you had to have an idea; today it’s not enough. If you want to be global and have a viable business, you have to marry yourself to a group.
– Jean-Jacques Picart, fashion consultant.
This is true, if, that is, a designer wants to be a Celebrity Designer. Isabel Toledo didn’t and her business is doing just fine. There are plenty of others who are content to stay small and perhaps a bit under the radar. It’s hard but possible to be a successful fashion designer and NOT join forces with big conglomerates. Anyway, many who did are now getting out and complaining that it’s all too much – too many shows, too much pressure to create, not enough time.
On the flip side, from what I have read designers working for corporate brands are given pots of money and free rein to design whatever they like. Even outrageous clothes that don’t sell. As long as there is spectacle, marketing and brand name recognition the CEOs are happy. (The bucks come from handbag and perfume sales.) Still there is a demand for more and more product and that’s burning out everyone – designers, editors, and even consumers.
Perhaps fashion has become unfashionable. Time for a change.