Fashion Business reports: January 21
December 2020 was busy with planning and announcements for 2021. There was no sign of a “return to normal”. Haute Couture would be online again. In spite of this Chanel insisted they would be having a big live show as usual; they didn’t. Reality is hard for the big brands with unlimited money and resources. January dawned with the realisation that a second year of the pandemic was approaching. Fashion straightened up, put its shoulders back and strode forward. Fashion, just like old age, is no place to be weak or give in.
A time to reflect, but also look forward during the time of COVID 19. Looking back is what we do at the end of one year and the beginning of another. Trends or reviews, summing up or analysis; it’s a time for reflection and thoughts. Well 2020 wasn’t a year many people want to dwell on too much, and even only a few days into the new year, 2021, things are not looking exciting or promising for many people across the world.
However, since the first of these reports until now certain themes have emerged and point to way to discussion, thoughts, ideas and business plans for the future. Indeed many of the things to emerge during 2020 in terms of fashion and its relationship with business may achieve both importance and longevity.
Thinking, listening, learning, discussing, planning and creating. These are things we should always do, business basics which we can lose sight of in the rush of life and work. Returning to the basics is never a bad thing, starting with facts we know, focussing on where those facts position us, and listening, a much underrated activity, where the customers, the buyers of the products voice their views.
Social media allows us to listen into groups whose demographic we don’t always have access to, allows us to observe, eavesdrop and learn how these specific groups react, their language and use of it. How times have changed, how fashion is rated, commented upon, and most importantly where they place their money.
Brands and companies trying to incorporate knee jerk reactions, or pay nominal attention to key issues of real importance must remember that the audience is not stupid, transparency and honesty matters, not just a tag line or caption. A surface gloss of responsibility to boost sales or as a marketing tool is dishonest, and cheapens the brand and the product. “Greenwashing” being a typical example.
So Happy New Year, happy new attitudes and if in doubt listen, and ask questions. Change is about conversation and arriving at an answer. It’s not about surface or copying, it’s about integrity.
The rich customer and the luxury business are slowly splitting between those who just want more stuff, and those who consider each piece. Those who keep making new and those whose craft and timeless quality transcend seasons, fashion and editorial. The luxury brands who scream buy more, it’s new, everyone wants this, to the rich and foolish, and the luxury brands who whisper here are our classics and a dash of the new to the rich and discerning.
We have menswear, couture and womenswear collections across the four capital cities, New York, London, Milan & Paris in the next nine weeks. Watch carefully because it’s the most extraordinary time to present new collections.
Thing's we've been talking about:
Think & Listen. Watch & Think. Discuss. Learn.
Chloe - Gabriela Hearst
Ethical Sourcing Anita Dongre
Pierre Cardin The great couturier died.
When is a fashion film good? How long should a fashion film be? How much should we be able to see the clothes? And so many more questions are beginning to emerge as we approach another season online. What’s the difference between a huge budget and a well thought through idea? There seems to be a feeling in some quarters that a busy storyline is required, some films are all about technical trickery, and some are still within the “catwalk” concept, simply transferring the idea on screen. It’s a subject we now need to think about in far greater depth and obviously for many brands and labels it will remain a hugely important tool within their public relations work repertoire for the foreseeable future?
The truth is it’s about business communications as much as it’s about anything. The need to communicate the brand and it’s ethos, attitudes and philosophy. The need to show clearly the design though behind the creative process of making a collection, and how the designer and his team approach the season. Also how to engage the press, commentators and audience with the brand is essential. It’s a strong list of requirements to encompass in a few brief minutes.
The other vital question is supplementary information. I’m fascinated that press releases and back up material is actually increasing. We are more captive to read things at the moment. We have more time to actually check out what the thoughts are behind the film, the design of the collection and the seasonal key points of fabric, colour and item. Mood is fine but oddly we seem to be shifting toward having facts as opposed to atmosphere in our press information.
Look at as many of these films as possible and start to get a feeling for the film making trends in favour, how the films/videos are focussed and use the medium. The teams of people involved from the traditional hair and makeup and of course the models through to location, camera men and so on. The team required isn’t so different to a live show, since most shows are filmed anyway; it’s the extras.
Models are also more and more required to more than just walk, or perhaps walk in unfamiliar terrain. The casting and the attitude, the relationship between an element of performance as much as modelling is acquiring importance. Skills such as dance, skaters or athletes are interesting in relation to film as is real character in contrast to being simply a clothes horse or peg.
Thing's we've been talking about:
- Issey Miyake
- White Mountaineering
- Ziggy Chen
- Sean Suen
So, this introduction is to make you think, analyse and observe how fashion is responding to the new season. Questions must be asked as to how film is working for the business, how communications are changing, and how fashion week looks right now, and how it might look in the future.