Issue preview.On-Off insight

By Jo Phillips

In order to celebrate out new S/S preview issue we asked creative director Lee Lapthorne or the show schedule On-Off on his thoughts about whats going on in the world of fashion

So with things like shows now being streamed live and designers like Givenchy showing their shows so the general public could be guests alongside press and buyers, are we now in the age of democratic fashion? Is Fashion SO accessible that its lost its edge?

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Fashion has become more accessible and open to all. There is a sense that it has lost its mystic and has now become a direct sales and marketing tool for most brands. What also must be considered is that buyers are now spending the majority of their budgets on pre collection. This will of course have a knock on effect for Ready to Wear. Moreover our industry is, in general over saturated with designers. I strongly believe that moving forward, the only way in which designers can truly impact the consumer and stay ahead of the high street is to show in season. Even better option is to sell directly to consumer from the catwalk or web as other major brands such as Burberry are currently doing, as well as inviting their top buyers and media of course. Ideally the designer would show SS in London to the wider community and then go on to preview AW in Paris where you still get to see high profile media and buyers, who allocate budget for designer collection in this city.

It’s not just the fashion industry that has opened its doors direct to the general public. Design week has for some time now added a consumer day onto their 100% design show and the trade show “Design Junction” sold tickets to the general public to view and buy directly from the product designers.

Really, fashion has not lost its edge. However, it is the case that fashion week has changed its proposition than say 5 years ago and its time the industry addresses these changes and, critically moves with the moment.

With this exciting new age of technology taking place, designers should be connecting with their target audiences now with ease and precision, instead it seems to have become more complicated and confusing.

On the whole,the world of fashion is over saturated. Creative & emerging designers are trying to break through, in direct competition with super brands who dominate the market place. These brands have the power and infrastructure to sell directly to their consumer before the model has even stepped off the catwalk… the question is how can a new designer compete with this?

On/Off Autumn Winter 22/2/2010

Is there a need for a fashion week and fashion shows, when brands are showcasing direct to the consumer via the internet and open tickets to the show itself.If so where does this stand with new talent finding its feet and being able to find an audience?

Having consulted for and launched new designers over the past 15 years I have seen first hand the elements that lead to successful brand. Fundamentally its being strategic and understanding that it’s a long term plan. Designers need to build their brand and stay focused. What is it that they are offering that is unique and not already in the marketplace? What is their end goal, to be stocked in every major store across the world? To become ‘uber’ famous? To become the head designer of a major fashion house? Happy to earn a living doing what they do and selling. These paths are all very different and would require entirely different strategies.

picture by Geoff Pugh    1/3/2012 Yang Du ON|OFF Paris  AW 2012

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