Monday, April 6, 2009

The Call to Reinvention

When fashion is a reflection of society it’s no surprise that a fashion shift has begun to mirror the current recession. For the past twenty years our society has been one of excess, filled with debt, beautiful things and living above our means. The current state of our economy has jolted many American’s out of our fantasy land and into reality. We are reassessing our budgets and scrutinizing where every penny is spent. The lifestyle of dropping anywhere from $500 to $20,000 a weekend is a closed era. Regardless of what class a citizen belongs to, living above our means is an age we should considered history.

So what does this mean for the fashion industry? Who is taking advantage of the shift and who is being left out to dry? Couture fashion will never die, it’s a true art form business aside. To say High-fashion is dead, would be the same as telling a musician to put away his instruments. Both fashion and music have great leaps ahead of them, however both industries will soon find their new grove.

Target is the perfect example of a company who is taking advantage of the current fashion shift. They are bringing in top designers who are producing quality fashionable pieces at an economically friendly price.

JC Penney is another to mention. They just released a commercial about their new “make-over” in the women’s department. JC Penney and Wal-Mart are now following Target’s lead in producing an on-trend assortment in their clothing departments.

Obvious companies that were one-step ahead of the shift are H&M and Forever21. The companies who are experiencing the greatest struggle are the ones who accommodated the American fantasy land. There are only so many creative ways you can get people to spend money they don’t have. The events, parties, and incentives will soon find their grave and those companies will have a hard reality, they will either sink or swim. Continuing on their pretentious path will eventually suffocate them, however if these companies accept the call for reinvention they will surely survive.

When I sit down and assess where the fashion industry is headed I can’t help but look at the humility of Chanel in The Great Depression. The fashion industry hit the lowest of lows, however it’s incredibly crazy to see the progress we made bouncing back. Altogether, I’m filled with optimism for the future of fashion. The labels that survive may not have to close doors for a period of time, but they will have to make serious adjustments. This economy is truly challenging our industry to a game of reinvention. This is a trial that the humble will surly surpass and succeed the prideful.

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