- Vivian Hendriksz |
London - PVH Corp., the owner of Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein has entered into a new strategic partnership with global supply chain management firm Li & Fung to strengthen its current supply chain.
The agreement sees PVH Corp replacing its current agreement with Li & Fung into a new partnership which sees the Hong-Kong based company offer additional services to PVH Corp. The new supply chain partnership will be mutually beneficial to both parties, but will focus on Li & Fung sharing its expertise and technology within the PVH Corp. supply chain. The partnership is expected to be complete by July 1, 2017.
"Our focus is to create a more effective and efficient supply chain that will enable us to adapt and evolve so we can stay ahead in our rapidly changing industry," commented Daniel Grieder, chief executive of Tommy Hilfiger Global and PVH Europe. "This transformation in our sourcing strategy is an important step in our initiative to improve speed to market and for the faster integration of consumer insights into our new collections."
Spencer Fung, Group Chief Executive Officer of Li & Fung added: "We’ve had a long-standing relationship with PVH and we’re excited to continue building on that under this new strategic partnership where we’ll have an opportunity to create what we see as the Supply Chain of the Future."
- AFP |
He's been hailed a "fresh new voice" by Vogue, won admiration from Giorgio Armani and bagged an award: Mitsuru Nishizaki is hot fashion talent in Japan. But that doesn't guarantee international stardom.
Loud applause and uncharacteristic cheers erupted from the usually restrained Japanese fashion crowd at the 38-year-old's packed autumn/winter 2017 collection for brand Ujoh at Tokyo Fashion Week.
The models strode out to upbeat techno tempo, tearing up a multi-lane catwalk in a high-energy show starring preppy-grunge, sporty-tailored chic that would not look out of place in New York.
It was eminently wearable with bright high-necked ribbed sweaters slashed at the side, a deconstructed pale pink trench coat and crisp shirts that button front and back to be styled how the wearer desires.
Shoes were trainer-meets-loafer -- black with white soles and a yellow serrated grip, which he calls shark soles, worn with gypsy-style skirts, pin-stripped suits or slouchy velvet track bottoms.
Nishizaki set up Ujoh in 2009 after seven years as a Yohji Yamamoto pattern cutter. Six years later he won a design award sponsored by DHL and then in 2016 staged a show in Milan.
Armani provided his theatre for the venue, though Nishizaki didn't meet the veteran Italian designer in person. Vogue wrote afterwards: "this is how cool girls dress now" and predicted a bright future for him.
But what does it take to make it outside Japan? To follow in the footsteps of Issey Miyake, Yamamoto -- Nishizaki's former boss -- and Rei Kawakubo, 20th century masters who have flown the nest to take their place among the greats in the fashion pantheon of Paris?
What are the hurdles that need to be overcome in a country where the fashion industry is embedded in exacting standards of tailoring, where creativity at times can take a back seat to doing it the right way?
Ujoh is already stocked in more than a dozen foreign cities such as Barcelona, New York and Seoul. Still, Nishizaki's chief ambition is to expand further abroad. But it's a tough road to take domestic success to the next level.
'Give me ideas'
In an interview at his showroom in Omotesando, a chic neighbourhood heaving with high-fashion boutiques, he was polite and earnest, but also shy and nervous behind the wide brim of a black floppy hat.
Nishizaki appears reluctant to present a compelling personal narrative in the rags-to-riches or fashion-ruled-my-childhood style that has helped many celebrated US designers market pret-a-porter to a mass audience.
When it comes to his collections, he says he works in the style to which he became accustomed at Yamamoto: having an open mind and designing freely without pre-selecting a particular inspiration.
"It is a difficult question to answer and I wish you could give me some ideas," Nishizaki ventured when asked if he thought it was harder to break through as a designer from Japan than from Europe or America. But he does admit that the Japanese calendar is stacked against quick success on the international circuit.
Tokyo's bi-annual style fest in March and October comes several weeks after the main fashion merry-go-round in New York, London, Milan and Paris comes to an end.
By then most international editors and buyers are too exhausted and saturated to board a long-haul flight to Tokyo. "What I really should do now is rearrange my brand schedule for press and sales not only in Japan but overseas," Nishizaki said.
Misha Janette, a Tokyo-based stylist, creative director and blogger who has lived in Japan since 2004, said a major challenge for many Japanese designers trying to cut it in the West are different tastes.
She summed up the Japanese market as conservative and casual, rather than expensive and high fashion, warning that simple clothes were "not going to sell" in Paris. "I think the most important thing is to have a balance of show pieces, interesting things that show their viewpoint with simple off the rack to satisfy both. That's hard," she told AFP.
"Most Japanese brands don't have the investment, it's just girls and boys doing it alone out of their garage," she said. "Instead of having this balance of show pieces and wearable pieces it becomes either or." (AFP)
Photos: Ujoh, Tokyo Fashion Week
- Vivian Hendriksz |
The luxury market is by definition opposed to online retail: after all, nothing is in greater contradiction with the demand for style than the ubiquitous availability of an online shop. Still, a successfully merger between the two can be achieved with a large dose of ingenuity as demonstrated by Mytheresa.com.
Not growing at any price
Sebastian Dietzmann, Managing Director of Mytheresa, took to the stage of the trend arena during the Internet World trade show in Munich to provide the assembled world of IT specialists with insights into an online market that consists of several special features. In it, growth happens, but not at any price. The luxury fashion brands Mytheresa is collaborating with as well as the wealthy clients both demand sophistication and special service. ”We would certainly be able to increase our growth quickly in the short term,” explains Dietzmann who has been with the company since 2015. ”But we deliberately restrain ourselves – this restraint is part of our USP”.
It starts with the choice of brands and extends to the selection of each individual item offered online. Dietzmann: ”it is extremely important to us that every single product in our collection is offered exclusively because we like it”. He explains that the secret of success is in the curated offering, saying that: ”our client visits us because she believes that Mytheresa has purchased this item specifically for her”. More than 500 new products appear online each week, as part of the product categories clothing, footwear, bags, accessories and genuine jewellery.
Style is also possible in the internet
Strictly speaking, it is difficult to fulfill the claim of offering a sophisticated line of products online. After all, an online shop is by definition accessible to anyone willing to pay the appropriate amount. Still, an adequate solution was developed for Mytheresa. For example, last year, only Mytheresa and Net-à-Porter were granted permission to sell the new Prada ready-to-wear merchandise online. Because of the curated approach, the product overlap with the competition was as low as 30 percent, says Dietzmann. ”This kind of exclusive access can be limited for example to a specific period of time”, continues Dietzmann, such as it was the case for instance with the launch of the Missoni Yoga Wear, for which Mytheresa obtained the permission to sell it worldwide in the first 14 days. The trust of the brand is important, and maintaining a foothold in this industry is impossible without it. The foundation for this was laid many years ago by the stationary store Theresa in Munich, from which Mytheresa emerged in 2006.
What does service mean in an online luxury fashion shop?
The high-class clientele of Mytheresa is not only wealthy, but it is used to excellent service and naturally also demands the same from an online store. ”Using a chatbot for our customer service would be unthinkable”, chuckles Dietzmann. At Mytheresa, everything must fulfill the highest of standards, from a personal shopping team that provides guidance to the logistics, packaging and after-sales support. Mytheresa clients hail from 120 countries, and patience is not a pre-eminent trait of this clientele group. The company promises to ship the merchandise anywhere within 48 hours. In the USA, the package even arrives at the client’s doorstep the next day. Everything is delivered personally, if necessary several times at Mytheresa’s expenses, if the client is not at home the first time.
Mytheresa has been online since 2006, increasing its growth since the establishment by approx. 50 percent each year. In October 2014, mytheresa.com GmbH was acquired in its entirety by the American Neiman Marcus Group. Since then, the company has been operated as an independent subsidiary by the local parent company NMG Germany GmbH headquartered in Aschheim/Munich. The company is poised to increase its potential, especially with the global expansion. ”We are in the convenient position of growing geographically”, says Dietzmann. Mytheresa is available in eight languages and six currencies.
"The topic Mobile was a hard nut to crack”, reflects Dietzmann in view of the Asian and East-Asian markets. In these countries, online shopping means mobile shopping, that is, the look & feel of an online shop on the desktop had to be transferred to the small mobile format. In the meantime, 50 to 60 percent of traffic is generated via mobile, and 30 percent of transactions likewise take place through this channel. The company is planning to invest more in this area, for example in an Android app, which has yet to be created and is extremely important particularly in Asia. In spite of the multinationalism, Germany contributes nearly one third to the total revenue and this share is growing. But the significance is steadily declining in the context of international growth. Dietzmann: ”in reality, we are growing to a much larger degree in other regions, but these markets obviously required a great deal of attention”.
Channels are also changing in the luxury segment
These days, almost 10 percent of sales in luxury fashion retail occur online, and the trend is rising. Still, this percentage is lower than it is common in the broad fashion market. On the one hand, this is due to the high basket prices in the luxury segment and on the other hand to the fact that it is virtually impossible to compete with the physical store when it comes to service. Dietzmann: ”our clients are obviously just as online savvy as anyone else, but we are selling emotions. It is not easy to achieve the same experience online as it is in the physical store”. Nevertheless, there is movement in the market to change this. Especially China is a major player in luxury online shopping. In contrast, expanding the stationary retail is not a strategic goal for Mytheresa. “This is where our roots are, but stationary stores or the expansion of omni-channel solutions are not relevant for us”, continues the manager. And how is Mytheresa coping with the competition of pure players such as Zalando and Amazon? ”The barriers to entry into the luxury market are extremely high”, explains Dietzmann. ”Designers are actually looking to decrease rather than increase their sales, and therefore, I’m not worried about Zalando.“Photos: Mytheresa.com / FashionUnited
- Don-Alvin Adegeest |
Every day we read headlines filled with fake fews, cataclysmic events, terrorism, political flux and more uncertainty then ever before. Where does that leave brands in the new age of consumerism?
How should brands speak to consumers when half of the world's population is in possession of a smart phone? How can brands and fashion businesses pioneer new eras of growth in a global state of flux?
When everyone in the world can publish their opinion, and see the view of others, how can brands conquer rising polarisation when so many ideas and information exists inside a filter?
The future is defined by progress
The future belongs to those who believe in progress, according to the Truthful Consumerism report released this week by Trendwatching.
Progress, the report states, comes via innovation. Innovating to build a better future, to make better products, to consider the environment and those around us.
This is a uniquely powerful moment to prove who you are as a brand, notes the report: "What you mean, what you believe, and how you make the world better. So your response in this new moment? Harness the power of innovation to build a better future."
Five truths embody the power for brands to unlock the potential of the future. These are transparency, aspiration, positive impact, tolerance and empowerment.
TransparencyConsider this: in a recent survey of over 10,000 consumers from around the world, 78 percent of consumers said it is ‘somewhat or very important for a company to be transparent.’ And 70 percent said that ‘these days I make it a point to know more about the companies I buy from’ (Havas, February 2016).
Brands must recognize that everything they do and stand for is public property. Their internal processes, culture and values are all visible and part of the brand DNA. When Under Armour tweeted pro Trump sentiment back in February some consumers responded by uploading images of burning trainers and publicly distancing themselves from the brand. These negative peer reviews did far more damage than the tweet itself.
Each generation aims to do better than the last. To do better and to get ahead. These values are inherent to humankind are are not going away. As populations get wealthier and the middle classes are growing the race for status isn't only becoming bigger, but also becoming more intense, says the report. The quest for affluence and comfortable lifestyles is as strong as it ever was.
Adidas last summer debuted a footwear collection made out recycled ocean plastic. Veja, also a shoe manufacturer, makes all its shoes with fair trade materials, including recycled plastic bottles. Companies are moving towards more ethical consumerism, whereby the origins of product and processes can be traced from beginning to end. 73 percent of consumers think brands have a responsibility to do more than simply generate profit. Bigger, cheaper, faster and shinier are not the only drivers any longer.
Fashion bible French Vogue this month featured a cover of a transgender model. AirBnb recently offered free accommodation to people affected by Trump's travel ban. As diversity and urban globalization take the world by storm, inclusivity breeds tolerance and tolerance fuels connectivity.
People trust other people like themselves more than representatives of traditional power centers, notes the report. Which is why in 2017 if you are a brand you need to be asking 'how are we empowering our customers?'
In the end, the only insurance against destruction as a brand is to be creating authentic, meaningful value to consumers and the world at large.
Trendwatching was established in 2002, and helps business professionals in over 180 countries understand the new consumer and subsequently unlock compelling, profitable innovation opportunities. For the full report visit www.trendwatching.com.
Photo credit: Veja fair trade, source: Veja Fabecook; Adidas x Parley Ocean trainers, source: Adidas Facebook
- AFP |
Once home to a family of Syrian refugees, a UN tent has found a new life as a dress still bearing the marks and stains of its past. "Dress for Our Time", the brainchild of fashion designer Helen Storey, has turned a discarded tent from the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan into a hooded dress featured on stage at the Glastonbury Festival and in the conference halls of Dubai.
Now on display at the Dubai International Humanitarian Aid and Development Conference and Exhibition, the project aims to introduce the reality of refugee life to audiences who may be physically and politically removed from the conflict. "We're using fashion as sort of a Trojan horse, and from that you're able to talk about something that's more serious... a crisis that involves all of us," said Storey, professor of fashion and science at the University of the Arts, London.
"It was important for me that it did have a history and it was genuinely the shelter to a family, and I think it's that narrative that helps give the piece resonance with people." The tent was discarded when the UN refugee agency, the UNHCR, began to install cabins at the Zaatari camp on the border with war-ravaged Syria. Storey preserved the condition of the tent as she had found it: a stained piece of beige tarp imprinted with the blue UNHCR logo, the remains of a message scribbled in orange marker faded but still visible.
The dress has in the past year made its way down the sidewalks of London to Glastonbury, where Malian singer Rokia Traore wore it on stage last year. Reactions to the dress have run the gamut, from confused to amused to touched. "In London there's a lot of stoping and staring," said project ambassador Louise Owen, who also modelled the dress at the conference in Dubai. "We had a Syrian artist here burst into tears when she saw me in the dress," Owen said.
"It had touched her in a way it wouldn't anybody in London." And while the garment will continue to take its story around the world, one place it will not be returning is the Zaatari camp. "I've taken the view that it's inappropriate to take it back," said Storey. "It's our part of the world that needs education. "It's really a tool to help the Western part of the world be less defensive about this."
Syria's devastating civil war, now in its seventh year, has rendered more than half the country's population refugees. The conflict has left more than 320,000 people dead, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
- Kristopher Fraser |
DKNY has debuted the DKNY Minute, the first piece of wearable technology from the brand. The watch is officially scheduled to launch Holiday 2017, and is one of the many pieces from Fossil launching at Baselworld this week.
The women's watch features a rose gold finish with a black watch face, complete with the signature white DKNY logo, gold watch hands and white indices around the dial.
The watch will also come with interchangeable black and red straps, both featuring a rose gold finish buckle. There is also the option of silver, gold or rose gold faces.
The DKNY Minute is a hybrid smartwatch meant to sync with smartphones, track daily movement, provide a dual time zone screen and track sleep. The watch is powered by a coin cell battery which can last up to four months of use.
There is no touch screen, but, rather, the watch will track activity and send data to I-phones and Androids via Bluetooth. It will also vibrate to alert the wearer of calls, text messages and app notifications.
The timepiece is accessibly priced with a price point between 155 and 175 dollars.
DKNY took a sensible approach to the price point, as the smartwatch market is dominated by low-cost watches such as Fitbit.
Given the brand's recent struggles to make a turn around, after creative directors Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne, who are also the designers of Public School, stepped down from their posts, DKNY needs to figure out what to do to turn a profit fast.
Last year, the struggling brand was also sold to GIII Apparel Group after being one of LVMH's most underperforming brands of the year.
The new approach to the accessories category could be the first step towards making a turnaround.
Image via: 4K HiTech di Paolo Guala Facebook
- AFP |
Loose-fitting "modest wear" combines with monotone sporty minimalism in the unconventional motifs of Rani Hatta's Muslim-influenced collection.
Eschewing the hijab, her female models cover their hair with a baseball-like cap worn over a tight hood and stylish big turtle-neck collar. The up-and-coming Indonesian designer is working to prove that fashionable Islamic style can remain faithful to religious teachings while also appealing to non-believers.
"Because I am an Indonesian, I make clothes for Muslims," Hatta told AFP after showing off her fall/winter 2017 collection at Tokyo Fashion Week. "But my design is very universal, so anybody can wear it." Her contemporary style owes much to her signature straight cuts and eye-catching wide red bands running across tops like gigantic stitches, adding a touch of colour to the mostly black, grey and white lineups.
The material, mainly cotton polyester and bonded fabrics, provide a non-traditional look, while loose-fitting pants and tops as well as long layered vests assure modesty. Hatta said religious requirements do not bar wearers from dressing stylishly. Young Indonesian Muslims in particular are finding ways to stay faithful to the teachings of their religion while exploring progressive fashion trends, she said.
"I want to show to the world that, actually, modest wear can be very cool, and can be very universal, not just a black long dress or something like that," Hatta said. "In my country, the younger generation think that wearing the hijab is really old fashioned and they don't want to wear it. So I made something more for us so the younger generation would be proud to wear hijab."
The Muslim fashion industry is rapidly expanding in the global market, with world brands like Italian fashion house Dolce & Gabbana and Japan's Uniqlo offering Islamic style products. Uniqlo in 2015 enlisted British designer Hana Tajima to design a range aimed at Muslim women in the run up to the fasting month of Ramadan, a big shopping holiday season.
Muslim fashion in Indonesia differs significantly from Saudi Arabia and some Gulf countries, where many women wear the niqab, which covers the face except for the eyes. Muslims are expected to make up nearly 30 percent of the world's population by 2050, according to Pew Research Center, and Indonesia is aiming to become a leader in global fashion with its budding modest wear trend. "We have 250 million people in Indonesia, and 70 to 80 percent are Muslim," said Lenni Tedja, director of Jakarta Fashion Week.
"The modest wear fashion is now very creative, very fashionable, very stylish, so that is why more and more young ones start wearing modest wear," she told AFP. She added that the Indonesian fashion business sees potential beyond Muslim consumers. "Our modest wear could also be worn by non-Muslim(s)... without the cover... so actually the market is very wide." (AFP)
Photos: Rani Hatta, courtesy of Amazon Tokyo Fashion Week
- Vivian Hendriksz |
London - Sheer or padded; push-up or moulded; lace or solid; strapless or not; plunge or full-cover? When it comes to different bra styles available on the market the choices seem endless. But did you know that in spite of the wide range of bras available today, which span from bralettes to bras without underwire, the modern bra was not even invented until the late 19th century?
The history of the brasserie
In fact, the modern bra only celebrated its 100 year anniversary in 2014! Interested in learning more about the history of the bra? Then read the infographic from Hunkemoller on the evolution of the bra.
Unfortunately despite the wide array of brands and styles available, intel from the likes of lingerie retailers Rigby & Peller and Chantelle indicate that a third of women in the UK wear the wrong bra size. Most lingerie companies recommend women have a proper bra fitting every year, or every six months, to ensure they retain an accurate measurement of their bra size, as breast sizes can fluctuate monthly depending on hormones, weight loss or gain and changed in the body due to exercise or surgery.
The average breast size of women in the UK has jumped from a B-Cup to a DD-Cup over the past hundred years, according to data from the University of Portsmouth's Research Group in Breast Health, as women have grown larger in size with time. However the majority of women in the UK would rather wear the same old bra in the same size they always purchase than risk going out and purchasing a new, uncomfortable expensive bra. Which is why lingerie retailers, like Triumph, Hunkemoller, Chantelle and Wacoal all offer expert fitting seasons in their stores to help female consumers fit their perfect fit and style.
Photo and Infographic credit: Hunkemoller
- AFP |
For years headquartered in dull but convenient shopping malls, Tokyo Fashion Week has always been a poor cousin to the artistry of Paris or the commercial dynamism of New York. But this season a growing number of designers are branching out in search of new pastures, consciously or sub-consciously taking tips from the more seasoned fashion weeks where location can be everything.
When Alexander Wang made the international fashion glitterati decamp from Manhattan to Brooklyn on a cold February night in 2014, it was considered not only daringly innovative but drove headlines for days. Likewise when Hedi Slimane brought a full-blown Saint Laurent runway show to Los Angeles in 2016, or Raf Simons covered walls in more than a million flowers for his Christian Dior debut in 2012.
While not scaling such dizzying heights of extravagance, designers in Tokyo are starting to cotton onto the concept that the architectural wealth of their capital could be a more atmospheric backdrop to their style offerings than the ninth floor of Shibuya's Hikarie mall.
With that in mind, one label -- support surface -- invited hundreds of guests to a new indoor running stadium, built as a training ground ahead of the 2020 Olympics in Toyosu, an area of reclaimed land in southern Tokyo. Designer Norio Surikabe said he chose the site for the aesthetics of its curved, mesh-effect ceiling and wooden beams, and its novelty value in having only recently become available for hire.
"I just felt intuitively that this place would be nice," he said. "I thought doing the show somewhere not urban like Shibuya with a wide sky could be good for refreshing the mind."
To invigorate the audience of buyers, fashion press and fashionistas, live musicians performed original zen-like music and a lighting expert was selected to bathe the runway in bright light. It was a beautiful collection, deploying Japanese techniques to present a loose, minimal look for the professional woman with floral silks, blue leather and dusky rose shearling that bobbed like clouds.
But there was one drawback: the early Spring chill that permeated the cavernous structure left guests shivering in coats and models deserving a prize for gliding obliviously down the runway. "It's quite far, but the show was really good so I'm fine with it now," said one elderly male guest after what was a 50-minute ride one-way on public transport from Shibuya.
"It was also cold, but I think that it made the show more stylish!" The weather put more of a dampener on matohu's show at a Buddhist temple, where the original hope was that a 16th century gate and Tokyo's iconic telecommunications tower would illuminate the runway for a meditation on the symbiosis between past and present aesthetics.
Tokyo's famed cherry blossom season may have officially kicked off that morning, but it poured with rain and the audience was forced to sit under a concrete walkway, view obscured.
Keeping it fresh
It was left to free-flowing sake, dry ice and space heaters to conjure up an atmosphere more esoteric than the sobriety and near silence of the ninth floor of the Hikarie mall. "When we came here... we passed through the gate, we saw its black silhouette and Tokyo Tower and it was like the confluence of the past and the future," said Hiroyuki Horihata, one of matohu's two designers. "We felt transported through time," he explained.
Name. followed with a runway show at Earth Studio -- a huge recording complex underneath Tokyo Tower, a self-supported steel communications structure and local landmark modelled after the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Designer Noriyuki Shimizu sent his models down a raised catwalk, chest-high to a standing audience invited to sip beer and Red Bull in a room that evoked more nightclub than staid runway.
Shimizu said he wanted somewhere new for his sporty, urban collection that was all layers, skirts for men and corn rows entitled "delirious odyssey" and "an exploration of youth culture from various countries." "I thought that the way you came to Tokyo Tower was connected to my theme somehow," he explained.
"No other brand has had a show here and I hope there's also an element of keeping it fresh." (AFP)
Photos: matohu and Name AW17, courtesy of Amazon Tokyo Fashion Week
- Kristopher Fraser |
OPINION Since 1997 when he was appointed creative director of Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs has been synonymous with luxury. The designer is easily a household name, and is known by everyone including those buying his rollerball fragrances at Sephora to the ladies and gentlemen shopping in SoHo, where he opened his first boutique in 1997. For the past several years though, Jacobs' collections have been, to put it politely, lackluster.
The proof is also in his sales figures. Last year when Marc Jacobs' parent company LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton sold DKNY to G-III, there was speculation that it would also sell the underperforming Marc Jacobs brand as well. However, this idea was quickly dismissed by LVMH cfo Jean-Jacques Guiony who said "This is not an idea that has crossed our mind. We believe in the long-term potential of the brand and we are convinced we can create value at Marc Jacobs.” While LVMH does not publish figures for individual brands, Marc Jacobs was one of their worst performing.
Jacobs was once the luxury conglomerate's golden boy, helping the company rake in major revenue from the coveted designs he churned out for Louis Vuitton. However, at some point between his divorce from Louis Vuitton and an attempt at emerging himself in solely his own brand, he got lost along the way.
Marc Jacobs no longer the designer he used to be
The first collection he presented for fall 2014 was an array of scoop neck tank sweaters, and a color palette that was a combination of neutrals and pastels. They were the perfect outfits for someone who had a luxury spa date planned, but not someone looking for an outfit to compete with other luxury brands like Gucci, Prada and Burberry.
For a man whose collections were once known for sequins, color blocks, bows, and bold colored sweaters, it was like he lost a bit of himself.
One potential reason for that: he plans on launching an IPO for the brand. The potential of Marc Jacobs going public has been the talk of the town for over two years now. In the wake of a potential IPO, Jacobs even put an end to his popular diffusion line Marc by Marc Jacobs so he could bring his entire collection under one name. It was seen as one of the first majors steps toward going public that would appeal to investors. However, at the time the problem with this was 70 percent of retailers and department stores carried his diffusion line, but not his main line.
His main line was originally at a much higher price point, but after consolidating the line into one, the range of price points expanded as well. However, this did not mean the quality of designs expanded.
For spring 2015, the designs were not-so-interestingly uniform, and appeared to be inspired by a combination of army uniforms and nurse scrubs. While high-fashion often finds inspiration in the utilitarian, this was one of those times where the inspiration missed the mark.
After years of giving so much to Louis Vuitton, it's like Jacobs was left with little to give his own brand.
His spring/summer 2017 collection, which hit retail this week, made headlines last fall, but for none of the right reasons. There was controversy over his choice to feature models with dreadlocks, which many saw as offensive and inappropriate given the relation of dreadlocks to Black culture and his show featuring predominantly White models. If your clothes aren't making headlines, something had to.
As for his most recent fall collection which debuted at New York Fashion Week, it was like he took the "throw something against the wall until it sticks" approach. He's gone from loungewear inspiration to outer space inspiration, and he finally decided to take a chance on hip-hop inspiration.
Between his coats that looked like something Lil' Kim wore in the nineties to the track pants that looked like an upscale version of Juicy Couture, there was nothing that really said Marc Jacobs. There was no sophistication, just an attempt at trying to sell some clothes.
Jacobs would do well to revisit his archives and try and find himself again. The fact that a man who was once one of the industry's most respected designers has fallen so far from grace is truly, for lack of a better word, tragic. What happened to the tailored blazers, the office chic knits and those Hollywood worthy cocktail dresses?
Every season gives Jacobs a new chance to get it right, but there are only so many chances to give. Maybe he will just get lucky with this hip-hop inspired collection, as the particular music genre has long been a major influencer of the fashion industry. The outfits were street style worthy, but now how will the street style stars respond?
Until then, will the real Marc Jacobs please stand up?photo:images via Marcjacobs.com