Designing for the Bottom Line

“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

Decisions, Decisions

In a recent bout of online shopping, I found a blouse I really liked. Two weeks later…it’s still sitting in my shopping cart.

Background: this particular brand passed initial inspection so I decided to look around at their clothing. One top in particular caught my eye and I was 95% of the way toward making a purchase when a little voice in my head stopped me. “What is the fiber content?” it said. A sigh of annoyance escaped me – have I mentioned how I adore this pesky thing called awareness? To appease my conscience I headed back to the detail page and that’s when I discovered the top was 100% rayon. Ugh. Why did I have to see that? Continue reading