“Fashion is made to become unfashionable.” -Coco Chanel
And yet for some reason we’re still surprised when a once trustworthy market dries up and disappears completely. My hunch is that this surprise is due to the way many outside the fashion industry have come to treat brands: as any other kind of business, one that doesn’t have to bow to the fickle nature of fashion trends.
I become uneasy when I hear of a fashion brand going public. This was extremely popular in the 1990s as brands first discovered that the additional funding from an IPO could assist them on the road toward global expansion. We saw the creation of luxury conglomerates run by outsiders to the fashion industry (i.e. Bernard Arnault at LVMH Moët Hennessy) bring an entirely new mindset to the practice of selling clothes. Instead of hemlines and silhouettes, the conversations turned to growth and margins – to making creativity as profitable as possible. Continue reading