The World of Fashion May Change How They Do Runway Business, But Not Their Creative Collections
It is hard to imagine the glitzy and glamorous world of high fashion and runway extravaganzas being affected by a little thing like a global economic meltdown. Much like every other industry, the fashion industry is not immune to the reality of the economy. They have found a need to acknowledge the global recession simply because it really has affected everyone including their high fashion loving retailers, manufacturers and, most importantly, their customers. Lovers of high fashion may have found one bright spot at the end of the dark economic tunnel. They may be noticing that fashion designers are actually putting customer needs first.
Evidence of this move to cater towards the customer’s needs rather than bath in appreciation and applause from other design houses and celebrities can be found in how runway shows are beginning to change. The typical runway show has been the backbone of the high fashion industry. Usually put on twice a year by designers, these elaborate shows are the centerpieces behind fashion week around the globe. Cities such as Milan, Paris, London, Tokyo and New York dedicate a lot of time and energy to these seasonal events. A top designer might typically spend between $200,000 and $300,000 per runway show. These costs have grown steeper over the years as the shows have expanded and become more glamorized. The designers pay enormously for a venue, top name models, an army of stylists and makeup artists. These celebrity drenched affairs all contribute to making high fashion and runway shows a $300 billion industry globally.
The disconnection from the reality of everyday life for most fashion lovers has both helped and hindered the effectiveness and profitability of the classic runway show and fashion in general. While new high fashion collections create an escape from the bleak realities of the world right now, it also shuts out potential customers. Runway shows highlight fashion coming into season which isn’t available yet and they are closed to the public. This leads to distance between the designer and the customer who wants to wear what is new immediately, not wait months down the road. With the internet showing the world what will be in next season, celebrities wearing it immediately, and knock-offs available before the real deal is, it is no wonder designers are searching for a better way to reach their loyal followers and keep their collections relevant and new. All of these factors have forced the fashion industry to see the need for a change and either evolve or become irrelevant.
This evolution has made designers and retailers realize loyal fashion followers are more aptly investing in high price accessories that can refresh what they already have. Gone are the days when people invested in a new wardrobe each season. Gone also are the days of bragging about having the most expensive piece of a designers collection. The cheap chic movement has altered how designers do business and create their clothes.
This forced ‘catering to the customer’ feeling has led to smaller shows with exclusive guest and the revolutionary idea of selling their pieces at the shows. This creates more of an immediate sense of gratification for both the customer and designer. Runway shows were never overtly profitable for the designer before. Now, with smaller presentations, a real connection is being made with the fashion lover. Lessening the gaudiness of the traditional runway show and replacing it with a real fashion presentation and sale is also forcing designers to meet client’s needs immediately rather than remain aloof and unaware of their fans.
You might assume this move toward intimacy will slow down or deflate the allure of the high fashion industry. Quite the opposite has happened. These moves to ensure customer satisfaction has produced the most creative and innovative collections in years. The upcoming spring collections Chanel, Prada and Valentino have all been reviewed as the best they have put forth in years. Other major fashion power houses have also been working overtime to give the customers, new and die hard loyal followers, the best they have to give. Innovations with fabrics and top designers set each fashion label apart. Competing for the attention of cash strapped customers has sparked the best in designers and really revolutionized how they will conduct business in the future.
Just as fashion changes each season, a changing world has forced the fashion industry to start changing too. Rather than grounding the runway show and high fashion industry in general, changing how they do business will only better the industry and the fashions they create.