Fashion & Style, Talk
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Talk: When should one launch a fashion label?

Article/Source of Discussion: Why you shouldn’t launch a label straight out of school – BoF

If there is one fashion article that I have been waiting to read, then this may well be it. Fashion can be taken as a very vain subject and understandably so, even from the professionals themselves. Though I am not necessarily talking about the same vainness between the average person and the Fashion Professional when regarding the subject.

By its very definition, it concerns the overly fuss and high opinion of one’s appearance (although everyone would know how subjective that is). Immediately, fashion becomes vain, but only to the point that one allows it to be; failing to meet clothing with an intelligence, a core meaning that justifies the whole fashion label, its heart and how it runs.

For once, the truth is spilt out that I think everyone knew but didn’t sought out to talk about, because fashion is vain. The media, the fans, the consumers will speak of the latest looks but not necessarily of how the business runs (maybe with a bit more research they can), and thus, the industry is a mess. The seasons go by so fast (albeit not in the same wavelength as fast-fashion), that not all fashion labels can keep up. Alas, it is shown that being so strong in the design and production department doesn’t always benefit the business side of things. It’s a numbers game after all. Speaking of which, new fashion labels will struggle with initial recognition and staffing unless they have the experience and know people from those networks. Big-name brands such as Burberry have no qualms in staff – they most likely have a department for everything: PR, Production, Design, Sampling and lest not forget the divide into Womenswear and Menswear. Small labels? ‘Departments’ is far away from reality with employees being multi-taskers at best.

Ironically, the fashion labels that do not make it are ‘in vain’, since being as self-centred as the singular word suggests, lacking a business mind really costs, leading to an eventual fold-up of a brand. And it was refreshing to read an article that touches on that reality because it is real and it does happen, as the end of an era for design duo Meadham Kirchhoff suggested. At the very realm of ‘creativity’, comes other posed questions: Is it wearable/functional/practical? Will it sell? Though, these factors are not relevant to certain designers. One then begins to wonder: how far can the industry fund full-on-creativity-zero-wearability? Because as far as the likes of Gareth Pugh is concerned, many others are also running into a financial struggle that spells out an indefinite future.

Fashion, sadly, is materialistic. It thrives on spending money, on our desires. It thrives on money to cycle in and out, in and out (as with all other businesses) hence a start-up is always a gamble. Ultimately, wearability is connected with saleability which is no game in the industry. Alexander Wang is a success story but not a formula for all. If French designer Alexander Mattiussi can wait 10 years to launch his label successfully after a failure, those years of exterior experience makes all the difference in developing character, mind and business judgement. Experience is what truly bridges the gap between student and professional.

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