FBNYC Retail Talk: Success over Fashion

Success Over Fashion

So this morning in between breakfast and hearing that New York will be hit with yet another snow storm. Urgh, will it ever end. I came across an article on the BOF website (Business of Fashion) called, The Secret of Saint Laurent’s Success. Now, I am in no position to say what is the trend of success in the fashion industry, but of course having an analytical view of what is going on in the business that I work in, leads me to believe that the success of a brand is based on how much monetary gain the company can achieve. and to keep that trend consistently going.  How are some companies able to achieve this? Is it planing, a good business plan, products that a wide range of consumers want? Hmmm

Let’s take a look at Saint Laurent ready to wear line now being led by Hedi Slimane. The designer known for his rock in roll esthetic that he cemented with Dior Homme has now rolled it into Saint Laurent so seamlessly. Even I catch myself drooling over the patent leather cat boots and tailored blazers that would make Bianca Jagger happy. Now with three years under his belt and the brand’s name change dropping the “Yves” Saint Laurent sales have tripled in such a short amount of time.

So what was the formula to change the Parisian brand?

“While much of what’s talked about around the label focuses on the message and the mood, for us the focus remains on the product. It appeals to a much wider demographic than much of the fashion press would have people believe,” said Judd Crane, director of womenswear and accessories at London department store Selfridges.

Interesting view to say the least. But extremely relevant. So what Ms Crane is saying that the “fashion aspect” of the brand, the reputation is not a huge factor in the brand’s success. But the products being offered is the driving force behind the success of a widely acclaimed design house. Trend forecaster Li Edelkoort has published her Anti_Fashion manifesto, outlining why she believes the “fashion industry is dead”. The trend of focusing on the products offered over fashion seems to be the way the consumers can relate, thus creating more demand and sales. Kinda sad if you think about it. In the new trend analysis she specifies ten points of how the fashion industry will be moving in the next ten years.

“These ten points argue that the industry has reached a vanishing point of fashion,” she writes in the manifesto. “This means that the economy of clothes will take over from the turnover of fashion.”

So, in a way Saint Laurent is on the right path of proving Edelkoort’s theory. That “fashion” as we know it is dead, but new ways will be evolving. With more ways for a brand to reach more people through the Internet and social media platforms, I believe the fashion industry can offer other ways for brands to gain success.


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