- Don-Alvin Adegeest |
2015 has seen unprecedented changes in the fashion industry, from non-stop shuffling of creative directorships at the luxury houses, to international brands folding their businesses, to well known figures citing the industry is too challenging and all-consuming for designers to truly flourish. All in all it can seem a little daunting for someone on the cusp of launching their own collection when the opportunities seem much further out of reach than failure. You may well be asking yourself 'how will I succeed,' and 'how will I manage amongst a sea of competitors.'
Because the truth is, there is no shortage of fashion or clothing available to consumers. There are so many brands, sub-brands, labels, celebrity endorsements, and commercially-led fashion, that to find find one's niche and develop a brand in an over-crowded marketplace is frightfully challenging. For every successful brand that launches, several will fail. There simply isn't room for everyone in the fashion pool. But unlike other industries, it is not a case where the most talented will survive. It is those who are savvy, who find a way to communicate and entice a consumer, that will be leading the pack of up and coming brands.
There is no formula for success
While there is no single formula to achieve success, it certainly doesn't hurt to follow those who have made it. Look at brands similar to yours and chart their rise to success: How many years did it take them? How does their product identify their dna? Are they commercial or niche? How active are they on social media? How wide are their distribution channels?
With a world of information available online, it is easy to find resources with just a click of a mouse. Most brands will have a stockist list available on their website, but there are plenty of online sources that publish this info. Similarly, charting a brand's distribution path is not difficult to come by. Which agencies and showrooms represent them? In which markets are they wholesaling? Which fashion weeks are they participating in? Who looks after their public relations? It will take a while for a new brand to find the right partners – and as we mentioned in our previous series – this is not an industry where you can do it on your own.
The good news, however, is that fashion will always be open to something new. Innovators and creatives that can express a unique point of view via their collections, that have something relevant to say and at the same time present something desirable, should not struggle to find an audience. There are so many tools available, from the British Fashion Council to UK Trade and Investment, to industry bodies that are in place to support new brands, so don't hesitate to reach out.
Listen to your own voice
The challenge lies in being able to listen to your own voice, to express your creativity via fashion, but to allow those with genuine support and advice to help you grow and develop. Of the millions of voices and opinions, this is an industry with a colossal ego don't forget - the key is to stick to your own ideas, as after all that is what people are buying into in the first place. Don't be afraid to be bold, to challenge convention, and to do things your own way. Fashion loves an outlaw, and the road to success lies not in following a formula. In fact, the road to success is paved with failure. It is the wisdom it teaches us whenever there is a bump on our journey, that will bring us closer to achieving our goals.
Of all the advice that will be dispensed your way, “be yourself” will prove to be the most useful. Whether are you a budding designer, stylist or fashion creative, having a sense of self and knowing who you are is reflected in creative work, and it is what inevitably makes you stand out.