Happy 2020 and Cheers to a New Fashion Decade
by Elena Sendona
Visuals of fashion ad campaigns are always a matter of deep discussion and most obviously lately correlating with issues of inclusivity, sustainability, and ethics. Images conceived but designers and style directors are scrutinized to the nines and the whole dialogue often goes beyond limits to denote that fashion people care about the future of the planet, the undrafted gender lines, the unfairness in ways of treating older age, the scary pace of production, the excessive exposure of personal lives via social media and so on. They are advertising a rebellious spirit even when the whole point isn’t about actual disruption but about selling more to an ever-savvy consumerist new audience from rising markets in the world. We are living in an era of beauty redefinition yet as a fashion editor wouldn’t like the whole discussion to go extremely beyond aesthetics. To me the evolution of aesthetics is of paramount importance and this is what fashion professionals are trying to track. We are excited to examine the newly set boundaries that will be revised faster than in the past, hopefully bringing up images never seen before.
Instead of the uniformity imposed by corporate strategies and commercial goals, we want to see who is daring enough to be spontaneous even within the confines of a global brand.
Repetition of trends throughout the strata of the fashion industry has been a phenomenon of our times. Off to the next decade, and we will never be trilled to see the same shoe style from the high-end inventor to be monetized all across the contemporary brands and the high street stores. Further than that, let’s avoid seeing huge brands copying each other. There is a way to sell more, especially in the luxury market, and this can be achieved with originality and ingenuity. Sometimes the photographic lens of a genius can capture an interesting twist to a design or a new attitude. That could also happen with a stylist or a blogger who doesn’t want to be dictated by the sponsoring brands. As it’s been the case with various original artists, originality can be rewarded. Let’s embrace emotion, the new potentials of manufacturing technology, the abundance of more eco-friendly materials, and the thirst for novelty that is hovering around. We need to grasp that spirit and energy so that creativity gets back to what it is; a sparkle of imagination and an element of surprise.
Great ideas are never easy but they are worth trying and most probably some of us might come with a few precious ones.
As a writer, I’m just wishing to experience a new vibe across the media and as a designer I will give authority to the clients themselves who are responsible to pick the materials and techniques that resonate most with their prerogatives and values among a pool of suggestions and possibilities for customization. What is more eco-friendly or animal-friendly, or gender/age-appropriate, or ethical, or politically correct is a dynamic question with a million subjective answers and for fashion to be fun, creatives must give hints towards various directions via their flowing imagination and increased sophistication, yet the recipients of that stream of ideas — usually the customers and shoppers — have the responsibility to respond to that miraculous activity with requests for personalization. As a designer I think that we should let them mold the final product according to their wishes. One parameter that can be added to the design process in that new scheme of things is a greater focus on research so that we manage to discover more options for our clients. With that in mind I’m wishing you a Happy Fruitful and Fashionable 2020, with a fresh start for all!
We are curious to see how fashion weeks across the more than 4 capitals in the world will unfold over the next month or so, and especially the New York Fashion Week.
Last season new CFDA Chairman Tom Ford was said to have blown an air of exclusivity to the wide range of shows and events around the city. As you may know, there is always this unspoken fight between the real fashion people (meaning important ones for their contribution as fashion editors, stylists, directors, makeup artists, hairstylists, illustrators, designers, etc.) who admittedly deserve to attend the events and the vast group of people who are pushing towards the so-called ‘democratization of fashion’. From this last group we always get as keyword that of the ‘influencer’ who was previously called ‘trendsetter’ and the definition of that is so vague that comes to justify attendance of thousands at the shows at enormously large venues that very few in the business of fashion can practically afford. Some ‘influencers’ advocate that they are bloggers which means that they are regularly posting about fashion issues in a way that has a substantial impact on people with buying power.
There is no objective way to prove ‘influence’ other than by mathematical means (i.e. counting followers and readers as well as the frequency of the posts on social and the web).
If that’s the defining element, then at least these people need to show in numbers that they are seriously involved in trend and style reporting, analyzing, and posting. And this is obviously the constant headache of most PR people who are striving to squeeze in people to shows that are already packed. I believe that their role is very important this moment not only in figuring out who deserves the barcode-marked ticket but also in finding novel ways on how to present fashion to the world from now onward. Online technology is available but using only that path we will experience less and less actual interaction among fashion people. Virtual can be one exciting dimension to new-age fashion marketing but it has to be combined with the real thing; meaning meeting the creatives in person, taking the time to discuss, experiencing these fun chats and laughs, debates and post-show leisure moments. Editors, designers, stylists, and all sorts of fashion professionals need to come together in actual physical spaces every now and then, not necessarily for the show of it, but as a way to exchange views in a more direct manner, when they can shake hands and tap shoulders for approvals.
To outsider wannabees in the field, fashion week sounds like an ongoing colorful party. The only difference to their ‘fantasy’ assumption is that after the party most of the insiders need to spend late nights writing the next report, gathering options for the next photoshoot, prepping for the next interview, brainstorming and creating inspiration boards, posting tags, editing runway images, and picking the best ones before their are published as editorial choices.
Fashion requires historical knowledge, cultural depth, intuition, patience, studying the world around us, memorizing myriads of old and new names of designers and brands that will last for more or less, based on the high volatility of the market. As I mentioned before, it is not about the 30 minutes of wait outside its venue, the 15 minutes of the runway show and the 15 seconds of publicity offered — with a charge or for free — by photographers roaming the streets around the venues. It is mostly about being obsessed about what you are working on before and after the event. As a matter of fact, as editors we attend the shows in order to mingle more at a professional level with people we already know or we are interested in meeting. It’s just another job with perks and responsibilities, demanding certain qualifications and a perfectionist frame of mind.
The way real editors and fashion insiders are dressing up for these events differs profoundly from what the rest of the people can conceive. Back in the time before social media, editors at the New York Fashion Week where the sleek people dressed in black, because in their busy lives, black was the sure bet of elegance.
Today most editors try a little harder than in the past, and a little effort from their fashion-educated part means an impressive result.
They know which brands are up-and-coming, trending, and worthwhile, and they rock them effortlessly in a very sophisticated mix. Same applies with a few other fashion insiders. That differs from the group sporting the latest Gucci or Chloé handbag only because they saw Net-a-Porter or Farfetch including them in their ‘Bestsellers’ or ‘Trends’, or from the girl on the street that is wearing the suggested ‘New Brands to Watch’ in a random mix that hopefully sometimes works. We need to acknowledge the fact that editors know what they are doing and they are aspiring via their posts to pass this wisdom to a greater audience.
Again their key mission is not to dictate what to where but to suggest new products, brands, and styling ideas. Social media and online boutiques are already achieving that sort of democratization by sharing fashion secrets previously only known to premium designers’ most faithful clients. So democratization comes in the form of access to these resources, sources, and pieces of advice. Democratization can’t give access to venues and spaces that are only designed for industry professionals; those who really work for it with proven benefits for the future of it. If that’s sounds too exclusive, think of a restaurant or other public space maintaining and marking certain areas as used for “staff only”.
Looking forward to your feedback, and I’m always open to other opinions and different voices; that actually makes Fashionality fulfill its purpose and rise up to its own definition.
Photo top right: Gucci Resort 2020 Ad Campaign