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‘See now, buy now’ sees an industry divided as Italy’s Fashion Chamber rejects instant fashion

By Vivian Hendriksz


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London - Debate concerning the current affairs of the fashion system has resulted in the rise of the direct-to consumer business model. Whilst a number of global fashion houses, such as Burberry, Vetements, Tom Ford and Tommy Hilfiger, have announced their intentions to break away from the traditional calendar to cater to consumers need for instant gratification. Others such as Kering and France’s governing fashion organization, which represents the likes of Chanel, Hermes and Saint Laurent have all voiced their firm opposition to uprooting the system.

France and Italy oppose the UK and US opinion on direct-to-consumers business models

The discussion continues to unfold at Milan Fashion Week, as those in favour of “slow” fashion, rather than the new, even faster pace business model voice their thoughts on how the current system works against the values of a quality, luxury, craftsmanship fashion house. The president of Italy’s fashion Chamber, Carlo Capasa, believes that Italian fashion is driven by “a spirit to create desire,” whereas fast fashion is made “to satisfy a need.” “The difference between creating a desires and satisfying a need is the difference between slow and fast fashion,” he said to the Associate Press. According to president, it takes both time and research to develop fashion innovations in the form of new designs and technologies. And it also takes time for the public to fully understand and embraces these changes as well, he said.

The waiting time, or incubation period between the presentation of new collections and their actual arrival in store is important, added Capasa. “[It’s needed] for people to understand the message. Because if a creator is a true creative, he is proposing something that doesn't really exist," he stressed. Karl Lagerfeld, designer and creative director of Fendi, Chanel and his eponymous label echoes Capasa sentiments in an interview with Business of Fashion following Fendi’s AW16 show during MFW. “I can show my collections and sell them and give people the time to make their choice, to order them and to make them beautifully produced and editors can photograph them. If not, that's the end of everything," he said.

“People who have 300 shops like Fendi can do it, but then you have to make it already six months before, show it to the editors and somebody will see it anyway... that's impossible," he added. "And people who have no retail shops, well, they don't know what to do." Nevertheless, the German creative head is aware of the shift taking place within the industry and cannot ignore it. He already designs a capsule collection for Chanel which is not shown to any buyers or press prior to arrival in store. “The world is changing — not always for the best — but we have to follow the changes and the Internet, but there is a way of doing it, you know?”

Mario Boselli, the honorary chairman of Italy’s fashion chamber, sees the ongoing debate as a contrast between how the UK and US fashion houses run their business models against the more conventional approached favoured by the French and Italian fashion houses. “New York has always been the land of branding and marketing. We and France, we are more the area of creativity and manufacturing,” Boselli said. “I think the logic is different. They follow their interest, we follow ours.” For smaller fashion labels, or emerging designers the continual shortening of the fashion cycle is trying.

“People should understand, if you make something that is about research and luxury and beauty, it needs time,” said Faust Puglisi, an Italian designer who make his first fashion mark in the US. “I don't understand what is going to happen in the future. We can kill ourselves.”

Photos: Prada, Fendi and Gucci AW16 shows, Facebook

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