WHY FASHION IS FAILING.
On the eve of Black Friday (and its harrowing projections), with retailers across the board taking a knee, with some of my favorite designers going from fashion house to slaughterhouse, there's plenty to blame. I've been in this business for 12 years and never seen anything like this. High and low, the struggle is real.
- •Fast fashion.Cheap. On trend. And immediate. How can traditional brands and designers keep up? Our only defense is strong branding, but when the cultural aesthetic is a de-branded one, does it really matter that you paid $400 for those jeans, when they look just like these 2 for $19.99 pair that'll unravel by evening?
- •The Internet.E-commerce razed the shopping mall. The web leveled the playing field for competition. Anyone with a social media handle is now a brand. Anyone can Squarespace an Online Shop into a peer-to-peer enterprise. The Internet also gobbles up and regurgitates trends, accelerating fashion, and diluting the narrative. Fashion is an art, cultivated through the community, harvested through social movement. Now, it's a hyperactive video game fueled by celebrity and margins.
- •Low barrier to entry.1-click accessibility to production and resources. Instagram has eviscerated PR and editorial. Anyone can play, which then means, everyone plays. Inspiring and creative? Completely. Sustainable? I'm afraid not.
- •Athleisure. Activewear. Whatever it's called.Comfort over luxury. Health over wealth. The fashion of athleticism trumps that of opulence and exclusivity. We are now okay with dressing like everyone else as long as what's underneath is curvier and muscular than the next.
- •Discounting.The silent killer. Customers are now trained to wait for the discount, because eventually, it will come. And it'll be heavy. This December, most big-box retailers will be going on sale BEFORE the holiday - Black Friday is now a Black December. But, beware the slippery slope. Discounting is a dangerous and deadly game that all Fashion has succumbed to.
- •Global warming.Seasons out of wack. Trying to sell the same product to a below-freezing Europe, when it's 90-degrees in Southern California. Fall collections of coats and sweaters stockpiled, price-chopped, and dumped into a dawdling Winter. The end (of fashion) is near.
- •Reclusiveness.Netflix and chill. Postmates and ill. Amazon and (what the hell do I do with all these cardboard boxes?) With less incentive to leave the house, there's less demand for outfits. No one can see what we're wearing in our avatars.