The geeks now have another uniform!
So I found the best article for my last blog. It is about how fashion students should stay focused and take risks even with the rocky economy! It requires focus, creativity and communication with the customer. There was an event hosted by the YMA Scholarship Fund and sponsored by DOW XLA on December 2 where several famous fashion-people spoke.
Moderating the discussion the direction of fashion in the changing economy was Tim Gunn who asked questions to panelists that included designer Zac Posen; Les Steiger, senior vice president of men’s at Macy’s Central; Alex Gonzalez, principal and creative director of AR New York; Mary Alice Stephenson, style expert and contributing fashion editor at Harper’s Bazaar; Mindy Grossman, chief executive officer of HSN, Inc. and Josh Button, model and menswear fashion consultant.
Everyone was mainly optomistic, given the current shaky climate, and said instead it is an opportunity for companies to re-focus the essentials of their brands.
“Define and redefine your look,” said Posen, whose mentor, the late Hal Ruttenstein, had also advised him. “Create your own look, and know who you are and know who the customer is.” But, he added, “There’s no formula.”
“Communicate your truth to a wide audience,” said Alex Gonzalez, who founded his own advertising agency ,”but don’t speak to the lowest common denominator to survive. Hold to the truth.”
Mindy Grossman of HSN, Inc., said that brands that can tell a story and connect on a deeper level with their customers will survive.
“We offer great stories and great storytelling, and we understand what our customer is thinking and feeling,” she said of her popular shopping channel. “There’s never any bad news on HSN,” she joked. “If you’re tired of watching CNN, watch HSN!” She also said that the products you sell have to be unique or special, something that “you can’t get anywhere else, but is accessible.”
Les Steiger, who said that at Macy’s they add 20 new brands each year to their stable, said that it’s harder to launch a full collection initially, so “find a niche, whether it’s shoes or it’s t-shirts,” he said.
Mary Alice Stephenson pointed to the internet as a tool enabling brands to have more of an emotional connect with their audiences - now, even luxury brands selling $100,000 diamonds have original content on the Web.
“Fashion has to be inspirational,” she said. “Luxury brands have to communicate what buying their product makes you feel on the inside and how good it makes you feel.”
Still, the rules for luxury brands have changed, the panelists agreed, but that doesn’t mean designers or companies shouldn’t take risks.
“Everyone I know is cutting back in some way,” said Steiger. “We’re competing for that discretionary dollar. But in fashion, we need continued innovation.”
Born Free USA, Animal Protection Institute and Emagazine have teamed up and came up with a great idea.: FFFashion! It is a fur-free fashion design competition. The point is to promote the ethical and environmental benefits of not using fur while giving independent designers an opportunity to showcase their talent for a worthy cause. There will be several green-celebrities that do the judging such as Summer Rayne Oakes, Sophie Uliano and Brita Belli. This sounds so exciting and I can’t wait to see/hear more about it! I think it is about time we start looking at the world around us and caring and preserving it for what it is.