Friday, October 15, 2010

Changes in the Fashion Scene

From Vogue UK
I had the privilege of interviewing many long-time fashion professionals for my Behind the Scenes editorial series in Fame'd Magazine.  The last few months there were also conversations with industry insiders to get their thoughts.  For better or worse, here is an overview of ideas that have been presented to me by a wide variety of designers, event producers, photographers, etc.  The underlying theme through it all is we have to let go of the need to get it for free.

--"Everyone wants to borrow rather than buy clothes for A-list Red Carpet events."  While this is common with high level stars, does this really translate into sales in lowly Vancouver?  In talking with an L.A. stylist, the top celebrities wearing your brand does help promote sales, but the showrooms carry media samples that are only used for this purpose.  Locally, I'm not sure the same holds true, especially since the write-up under red carpet photos that are published rarely indicate which designer's garment is being worn.

--"Too many people expect to be on the list for free admission."  I try to only attend events for free if I am clearly invited as media (or a customer) and I am upfront from the start what I can offer in return.  To me it's a contract between 2 business people.  EVERYONE wants quality events and is quick to criticize if they're not classy enough, but I don't think most realize the cost.  Recent runway shows that were highly praised as what should be happening cost from $25,000 to $65,000.  That's a huge chunk of money.  If we want more quality events we have to be a part of the process of funding in some way. The bottom line is that we have the talent here to do amazing things, but without financial backing it is impossible.

--"Now that everyone thinks they have become an expert on digital photography and Photoshop, the market has become glutted with people who will work for free or very low wages. " A long time professional photographer shared with me how the market has bottomed out and he feels the quality of what is produced has been watered down as well.  It used to be you couldn't get published until your skills reached a certain level. This is no longer the case with Facebook, Model Mayhem and the like, and everything is being called an editorial even if it is only a creative or submission (email me for his definitions). The only personal comment I have on this is that I routinely see budding photographers put up large numbers of photos that include many shots of lower quality.  If you want to improve as an artist, learn to edit and only put up examples of your very best work.

There is no turning back from all the technological advancements and, while they come with negatives, there are also many positives. I wouldn't have had the opportunity to develop as a writer if it wasn't for an on-line magazine and some of the great writers I work with have come from the blogging world.  So the new technology holds promise as well and those who rise to the top will most likely be those who are not only gifted artists, but know how to adapt and use it to their advantage.

In the end, for the industry to survive and continue to produce wonderful garments, events and images, we have to let go of the entitled mentally and start supporting the artistic community by being involved in a monetary way.


  1. Good article, Marilyn. I certainly agree on all points. Support isn't just talking the talk. Promoting is great, but supporting is a completely different ballgame.

    And artists should not undercut each other... All that does is devalue the profession for everyone.

    As for the large numbers of low quality photos on FB, that behavior is not reserved for the budding photographers only. I always say posting 5 GREAT photos is better than 500 blurry photos.

    Thanks for sharing these thoughts.

  2. Facebook and Blogging have increased public access to the Fashion Scene. The rise of the internet has meant that the world of newspaper and magazine publishing is in transition. I love the new diversity and independent points of view but quality is an issue.

    Learning how to edit your own work is tough but crucial. Self editing it will ultimately improve the quality of any creative material published on the internet. Photographic works and writing always benefit from editing.

    I am only beginning to grasp the importance of this. Personal and artistic interests are of less value to web readers than is a well thought out and edited article. No one wants to see a blurry picture of my cat :)

    PS: I edited this comment, found 2 spelling mistakes and fixed them.

  3. Well said Marilyn!