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Overheated! Is Fashion Heading for a Burnout?

With its chaotic fashion weeks and accelerating product cycles, is the system spinning out of control and heading for a big burnout? WWD polled a wide swath of designers, executives, editors and others to weigh in.

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With its chaotic fashion weeks, torrents of tweets and Instagram posts, accelerating product cycles, and hype machinery in overdrive, the industry seems to have embraced warp speed as the new black.

Is this a sign of fashion’s rude health, its popularity spiraling with the aid of new technology and tight ties with Hollywood, music and art royalty? Or is the system simply spinning out of control and heading for a big burnout?

This story first appeared in the October 27, 2015 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The answer depends on whom you ask.

Valid questions all, with no easy answers. WWD polled a wide swath of designers, executives, editors and others to weigh in.

Karl Lagerfeld, who powers through his crushing workload with glee, is at ease with whatever the fashion world might throw at him.

“If you are not a good bullfighter, don’t enter the arena,” he says. “Everybody is allowed to show a collection. There may be too many — but that is not my problem.”

Livia Firth, founder of Green Carpet Challenge and creative director of Eco-Age, the brand consultancy that focuses on sustainability, has another viewpoint.

“Since I started focusing on the fashion industry a few years ago, I keep hearing the voices of designers and journalists all saying the same thing: The fashion cycle has become mental. Too many shows, too many collections, too many looks, styles, pressure. The result? Designers’ creativity is compromised, journalists are running on empty and we — the famous consumers — are bombarded day and night with the ‘latest thing we must have’ if we want to be cool,” she said.

To be sure, the recent round of international collections generated lively discussion about whether the overload and fatigue many professionals acutely feel will start infecting consumers, who are increasingly witness to the same frenetic spectacle via the Web and social media.

Raf Simons, who dropped the bombshell last week that he would exit Dior after three-and-a-half years as creative director of its women’s collections, said his decision was “based entirely and equally on my desire to focus on other interests in my life, including my own brand, and the passions that drive me outside of my work.”

The Belgian designer had hinted fashion was at a breaking point just before Dior’s Oct. 2 show, which would be his last for the house.

“I’m questioning a lot,” he said, referring to the now palpable sense that the overheated runway system has reached a volatile tipping point. “I feel a lot of people are questioning. We have a lot of conversation about it: Where is it going? It’s not only the clothes. It’s the clothes, it’s everything, the Internet.”

Are overlapping fashion shows — and fashion weeks — in anybody’s interest?

Should runway shows just go direct to the consumer, in line with spectator sports, theater and other entertainment?

 

Karl Lagerfeld
“I have no problem, but not everybody may have dream teams to do all that work. It goes with the times we live in. There is no way to look back. For some people and smaller companies, it could become too much but big companies like Chanel, Dior, Vuitton, etc., are organized to face the speed.

There are so many different levels of business and so many different possibilities today. The thing that I hate most are designers who accept those very well-paid jobs and then think the demand is too strong, that they are afraid of burnout, etc. It’s a full-time job, not an occupation between others. Fashion is a sport now: You have to run.

I have no ideas how to improve an industry that suits me perfectly. One has to be well organized with good people. But that may be the most difficult.”

Ralph Lauren
“My Collection fashion shows have always been like movies, but in a subtle and nuanced way. It’s never been about producing a larger extravaganza for me, as then it becomes too much about the theater. The clothes should be paramount, and the press and retailers need to see the detail and how the clothes breathe and move. My first shows were held in the living room of my offices, which had been converted from apartments in a brownstone. I would walk the small group through the line, in some cases with one or two models. I have always believed in that intimacy and personal connection. To see, touch and feel the workmanship and fabrics is so important. I still believe a designer must never lose sight of the real message — the clothes themselves.

Having said that, the importance of influencers, new media and the use of innovative technology to expand viewership of a show is clearly a reality. This past season we worked with Twitter to live-stream our Collection show via Periscope to 10 million users and simultaneously on a video billboard in Piccadilly Circus in London, one of our most important markets. Last year we used the most innovative digital special-effects technology to produce a 4-D fashion show in Central Park for our Polo brand, creating billions of impressions. Expanding the number of eyes that can see a collection is definitely good for increasing the designer’s message and helping enhance brand awareness and visibility.”

Giorgio Armani
“Fashion has become one of the principal actors on the vast stage of communication and, as always happens in these cases, the same elements that decree its success can provoke its crisis. The feeling that there is too much of everything and that everything goes too quickly has long been clear to me. Technology and the current lifestyle lead to an increasingly stronger acceleration. Fashion also needs pauses, and sometimes silence, to be fully appreciated.

Opening runway shows to the public would be confusing in terms of timing and would amplify and accelerate the system: you would see in March shows for fall and winter and you would immediately want certain outfits that are not yet in production. This would require us to work as in fast fashion, reorganizing the entire pipeline, also surely changing the quality and especially the creativity, which is what fashion feeds on.”

Michael Kors
“Is fashion overheated? Listen, the reality is that we have never in history had more people more interested in fashion and style than we do today. [Never] a more diverse group of people — all incomes, all ages, all nationalities, small town, big town, medium town. So for me to say is it overheated — I just think it’s actually more compelling to more people. I wouldn’t say it’s overheated. I would say there’s more attention on it than ever before; it’s not a private little insiders’ game anymore.

Today, people are interested in every part of the scene of the fashion world. I think maybe it’s — if you want to say overheated — sometimes when you have the lights on you, it’s hot.

It’s the excitement that the public has about fashion in general. I think that’s why you see more people getting into the game in one regard or another, however they decide to show. Ten years ago it was a much smaller show calendar….The reality keeps changing. Someone being able to shop online in the middle of Montana — they weren’t in the game before and now they’re in the game. I think that if anything, that’s why we have more shows. More, more, more.

I’m not an editor so I don’t attend….You have to realize designers feel the same way, if you do men’s or the designers that do couture collections or designers that do more than one brand. It’s just the nature of the world today… people are more engaged than ever. As a retailer or editor, you could travel across the globe and always go to a fashion show. I don’t say it’s good or bad. Just different. It’s tremendously different.

I’m calendar-crazy. I’m talking about when you buy something. Most people today want the gratification. Quite frankly, if you buy it on Friday afternoon at 4 o’clock, you want to wear it on Friday at 7. I feel that now with the idea of immediate gratification, we probably are shipping clothes too early. We’re also promoting them too early.

We’ve pushed everything early. The consumer is actually shopping closer to need. That is my biggest concern. When I do pre-fall, we ship cotton dresses and bathing suits because I think it’s insane [not to]. I don’t think that I can organize the entire global fashion calendar, but I certainly think that everyone would benefit from having fresh product in the store when the consumer wants it.”

Donatella Versace
“I love the pace of fashion. Fashion is about moving forward, and moving fast. One of the greatest pleasures of my life is how the new generation has connected with Versace. If you complain about the pace of fashion today, you are closing the door on the future of fashion. We should not be talking about limits, but about opportunities.

That’s the world today and fashion is about change and evolution. I love the immediacy of life today and how the doors of fashion are opening up so everyone can feel part of a global tribe. We started with a revolution at Versus Versace, transforming it into a ‘see-now, buy-now, wear-now’ brand; it has been the most extraordinary success, finding a whole new audience who lives their lives online. At my most recent women’s wear collection, we put the sequined leopard-print Palazzo backpacks in some key Versace flagships and e-commerce, because I wanted our customers to get a taste of the catwalk right now. Why should they wait till next season? I believe rules are there to be broken.

We should be excited that there are more people around the world who want to be part of our world. It’s amazing that the world has fallen in love with fashion, and has a hunger for more. It makes me want to work harder than ever.”

Jonathan Anderson
“I think the speed at which the fashion industry is going is fundamentally what we expect of fashion today, as ultimately, this is the way the world works. It is about the chase against boredom. We have to adapt to the speed like we have had to adapt to other media. I think it is a sign of the times and it is not just fashion experiencing that; music, film and art are all experiencing this thing where we need to keep up with the pace of the world. So I don’t think it is an issue. You have to be able to manage it.

It depends on the person. I think if you are an individual who takes care of the situation, then you are fine. You have to protect yourself. It is about strong teams and good management that helps to maintain that you don’t overheat. I think you have to keep very insular and very focused on what is important to you and to not listen to the outside world.”

Renzo Rosso, President of Italian fashion group OTB
“Fashion is now full of people doing social networks, crazy things, just to make people talk. I don’t want to be part of this system. I just want the beauty and the dream.”

Paul Smith
“A lot more people are fishing from the same pond, and so therefore there is an overdistribution of product in the world. There is far too much product and there are far too many shops that have the same or similar appearance, and I think in the next 10 years, you will see big adjustments in a lot of the large corporations. They will have to rethink their strategy and maybe they will have to understand that leveling out their businesses is acceptable, because they are being so aggressive about wanting more, more, more all the time and it’s like if you keep blowing up a balloon: eventually it will burst. And so I think there has to be a time of readjustment in the next 10 years. People will have to just calm down a little bit.”

Marc Jacobs
“I love fashion. I enjoy putting on shows and creating collections and designing. And I question: Who is it all for? Where does it all go? I question all of it. But I continue to do it because I continue to love it and that’s it.

I think all of those things [digital access; social media] become additional things to think about. But it’s not like, a does-this-tick-every-box sort of thing….There’s more on that list to look at and try to make sense of and utilize….These are questions. There are more constants and yes, it is more exhausting.

We — meaning myself and the design team — we don’t say, ‘will this work on Instagram? Will this work on our Web site? Will this work on the sales level? Will this work on the show level?’ We work on a show and we work simultaneously on things that we think are versions of that show, but geared toward different markets…

I don’t know how to do it any other way [than to focus on the creative process]. I can’t do this by calculator. It is an emotional and autobiographical process. It is about responding to something in a certain moment and continuing to edit and add to one response throughout the process as you experience different things. What you end up with is the result of the time period, which could include memories, experiences, a litany of things like this.

Last time, there were a lot of things I was trying to figure out; yes, the Instagram thing was stimulating and yes, there was the equality of gay marriage and other things on my mind.…It still came from the same place it always comes from, which was, what are we going to make, and let’s go through this as a creative process.

So we’re just coming from the same place [as always], which is, I like to make things and show them in a way that takes people somewhere and entertains them. And takes on the next life, which goes to a store and people can’t resist them; they’d pull their heart out wanting them, rather than that they need them. It’s a form of entertainment.

This is all I ever wanted to do. Then you think, I don’t want to do a lot of the things I end up doing in a week, but they’re part of the job. It seems the scale has tipped. There’s a lot more stuff I don’t want to do than I do want to do. But what affords me the time and the luxury to do what I want to do is by doing all of the other stuff, things that require a different part of my brain and a different type of energy. That’s reality. It’s still called work; it’s not called fun. But the pleasure I get out of the creative part, the part that I really love — even with its pain and stress and obstacles, I still love it.

Yes, the balance of time for that is so little compared to all of the other stuff. But again, I still would rather deal with all of that just to have that moment, to work on those six weeks of shows that are intense and those nights that are around the clock, and the reward of having created something that lasts for seven minutes that feels right. It’s still all worth it.”

Rick Owens
“I don’t really see a problem: I tend to look at these things as evolutionary. The fashion calendar is just having a cultural moment like the Sunset Strip in L.A. did with rock bands in the Seventies. In retrospect, we might look back and see this period as a breeding ground for a golden age of design. The energy will eventually dissipate and the crowd will move on to something else. As for myself, I feel stimulated and the volume of stuff I see that I don’t really agree with stimulates me to react, which probably makes me work harder. And busy hands are happy hands.”

Diane von Furstenberg
“Fashion is by definition a reflection of what is going on in the world. We live in a moment of total disruption as our tools change and the speed increases. Everyone is surfing a tsunami, trying to understand how to deal with waves of so much information, so many images. As always when in periods of change, clarity and quality become imperative.”

Dan Lecca, Photographer
“What matters the most today is how many front-row seats a certain fashion show could have in order to accommodate not the most important editors/buyers of our industry but the VIPs, socialites, bloggers (who, by the way, have earlier backstage access than the photographers who cover backstage) and certain celebrities who are more important than the clothes in the show.…It is a disgrace.”

Anna Sui
“I agree [that fashion is overheated]. But I don’t know really what we can do at this point because it’s where we’re at right now. It’s not just fashion, it’s everything. It’s the movie industry, the music industry; it’s sports. Everything has gotten to this point and celebrity, too. It’s all so immediate, all so in your face, you can’t calm it down anymore. I was at dinner the other night and somebody was looking at their phone and it was like, ‘breaking news!’ And it was like, what Kardashian did what. That’s just kind of how it is now. You used to have to wait for that monthly magazine or tabloid to tell you who was sleeping with who, and now it’s just in your face. That’s what’s happened with fashion, too. It’s just different. It’s the new now. I don’t think you can really do anything except adapt. That’s what we’re all trying to do.”

Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren, Designers who stopped ready-to-wear to focus on couture and perfumes
“We sometimes speak about the fashion industry, or at least the business of fashion, as a puzzle that we keep trying to solve. The speed at which it has to be done does not help us: We are reflective people and we need time to create. We tried very hard to follow the rules, but more and more felt that our creativity functioned differently and was at odds with the demands of the industry.

For many designers it works and they make beautiful clothes, but for us it just didn’t work. Focusing on couture and fragrance gives us a breather and brings us back to our personal basis: the joy of creation. But creativity is not what sets the pace — fashion is an industry that is driven by money. Money is the motor, and the bar gets raised by those players with big distribution networks that need constant refreshment. Fueled by (social) media constantly looking for something ‘new,’ sometimes regardless of quality. Ultimately, there is always space for something new that is truly outstanding and amazing. But quality and real, authentic talent are rare. So something really new just doesn’t come about that often. Having said that, the market for beauty products as well is often said to be saturated, but somehow our fragrances made a difference. So it is possible to make an impact.

We try to listen more to our feelings, even if they say that we should not do what we are expected to do. So more generally speaking: creativity is the fuel of the machine. We think we need to take very good care of the fuel.”

Stefano Pilati
“I believe parts of fashion have shifted from being something ‘aspirational’ or a ‘way of being,’ to a ‘form of pure business,’ and lately, most egregiously, ‘entertainment and spectacle.’ Fashion designers might adapt their instincts to fulfill the latter, but not without compromise; especially for those designers who still believe in fashion as a form of artistic expression for valid solutions to enrich people’s lives.

The fashion industry is saturated, and in my opinion, imploding as a form of evolution. Imploding isn’t necessarily negative (in science negative is as valid and significant as positive). The question is: Where is this implosion leading us? This is a very difficult question to answer with any certainty.

Nowadays, the success of a brand is left less and less in the hands of the designer, who in most cases is deviated by ambitious marketing achievements and entertainment ‘scripts.’ From a personal point of view, integrity of the ‘soul’ of fashion is what can make fashion survive for what it is and not what it isn’t.

Currently, people use a form of communication, or use their communication tools to entertain ‘their audience’; the ones that follow them and respond to them, even if not necessarily belonging to their amicable sphere.

We should direct our work to an ‘audience’ who truly understands and is able to enjoy it actively, and not just passively even within the social structure that it generates. An audience, inside and outside the fashion-business arena, who supports the message that designers offer, with due respect, without mistaking them for cash machines.”

Alber Elbaz
“The more I talk with people, I see everybody looking for a change, everybody. There is not exhaustion but almost like a confusion of what we are and who we are in fashion. I ask editors ‘how are you?’ and they say, ‘I cannot see 60 shows in one week.” I ask writers and they tell me, ‘I cannot keep writing reviews in a taxi and between shows having an apple and not being able to digest what we saw. We need to think.’ I’m asking retailers, ‘what about you,’ and they say, ‘you know, we used to be buying a lot, but we also used to be on the floor to see the clothes. But now we see numbers and shows.’

Is this industry only about numbers and shows? That’s a question. And we, the designers, did we change? Our title first was designer and then chief creative director, because we have to be creative, we have to direct. Now we have a title, it’s image-maker. Image became a huge part of our job. Now, when you are a designer, and you went to a fashion school, FIT or Parsons or the Royal College, you learned about cuts and the body and innovation and about newness, and this is what we were trained to do. We did not go to a school of communication. We went to a school of fashion. We didn’t learn business and we didn’t have concepts of communication.

Today, I have a feeling that people come to see a show or they see a show on the Internet, and they’re looking for entertainment. Are we turning into an entertainment business? Is that the fashion business? I’m questioning. I’m not criticizing, I’m only reflecting. I feel that today in order to have a voice, it has to be loud. You have to be loud, otherwise you cannot exist.”

Alexander Wang
“When I took on Balenciaga, it was an incredible opportunity at the time when I thought, ‘Well, I never wanted to define my own brand by price point, by just being a New York brand.’ The idea that I wanted to speak to different customers and see how I can communicate with them and where my audience lies was a great opportunity to do Balenciaga. At the same time, H&M came. It was really an incredible three years where I had so much exposure on so many different levels. After that, coming back here, it’s given me so much more discipline and focus into where I want to go.

Specifically speaking about the show system, I think that’s something everyone is challenged with — the immediacy of things, and the idea of how to deliver in this system, where the attention span has become nonexistent.…Our brand, as opposed to Balenciaga, or even a much bigger brand where you own all your own retail, portions of your supply chain, they can dictate a lot more in terms of changing certain things. We were looking at the calendar the other day and were like, what are the hard deadlines? It’s the show. That’s something that we cannot control. We have to have the collection ready, etc. Those are pillar dates we work toward.

There are very few exceptions. Whether you’re a lot smaller or you’re completely outside the system like [Azzedine] Alaïa, or if you are someone like a Chanel or a Dior, where I feel like they have the financial, they have the infrastructure — like what they did with the resort shows, where they can fly the whole industry, make their own deliveries all that, we’re more in a situation where we have to follow the system. We’re realizing a lot more, at the end of the day, it’s becoming much clearer that fashion is a business and the first priority is the consumer. That’s why everyone is trying to go omnichannel, direct-to-consumer through social media or their own magazines and building into their own retail. It’s not just the journalists but the buyers. Their position is being reevaluated. I don’t have a hard feeling or answer, but it’s definitely something we continuously talk about in terms of who we invite to the show.”

Glenda Bailey, Editor in chief, Harper’s Bazaar
“Diana Vreeland famously said, ‘The eye has to travel,’ but these days, the eye gets really tired. There are so many images being flung at us — as editors and consumers — it makes you crave simple beauty and great design. Look at the success of Valentino and Gucci, for example. Maria Grazia Chiuri, Pierpaolo Piccioli and Alessandro Michele are consummate designers who prioritize sensitivity, artfulness and craft. Well, craft with an Instagram account.”

Bruno Pavlovsky, Chanel’s president of fashion
“Consumers are increasingly busy, and there are a lot of brands that are able to provide them with more and more information. So you have to put yourself in the position to offer more. That doesn’t mean you have to interfere all the time with customers. It’s more about what I call a luxury positioning. You have to be there when they want you, and you don’t have to be there when they don’t want you. It’s more an invitation that we give them. It’s more up to them than up to us. The level of expectation is higher and higher, which is good news for everyone. But it’s not that we need to be aggressive with our customers. I think that Chanel is about a dream, and we have to position ourselves keeping this dream alive.”

Thom Browne
“I agree that the fashion world in general is moving very fast. But for me, it’s always been about doing things my own way. In recent years, I’ve added pre-collections to my business, but I only did so when I was ready. Fashion shows for me have never been just for the consumer, but to create an experience and to provoke and to simulate the mind.”

Jean-Paul Goude, Photographer and art director
“The more excitement there is, the more work there is. But the challenge is to keep up the quality. Excitement — even hysteria — slipped through fashion’s fingers and was captured by entertainment, with sometimes unfortunate results and a dash of vulgarity. There’s an opportunity for fashion to reappropriate the excitement and raise fashion shows to the level of the opera or ballet.”

Pierre Rougier, Founder of PR Consulting
“I think it’s an age-long problem about the shows and the system. That’s never going to be resolved. Shows work somehow. Are there too many? Probably. I think because it’s working and it gets you a lot of publicity, and if you get the right people in the front row, it creates more and more publicity because of social media. More and more brands maybe should not be showing and are having shows and I think that’s part of the problem. What’s very complicated is the pace for designers, and that, I think, is a huge problem. From the designers’ standpoint, it’s maxed out, it’s too much, and too many seasons. We have to find a way to feed that ever-hungry machine. I don’t know what the solution is. A lot of houses that can afford it have different teams that work on pre-collections and resort. It’s great for houses that can afford it. For smaller houses, I don’t know what to say about that. It’s way too much. It’s killed a lot of young talent, a lot of young houses. They just can’t feed the beast anymore and are left behind.”

Livia Firth, Founder of Green Carpet Challenge and creative director of Eco-Age
“Basically no one can keep track anymore. So what’s the solution? Could we ever go back to how it used to be, to fashion actually being a source of inspiration for all? The answer is a huge ‘yes.’ If every designer, every journalist and every woman and man could commit to slowing down, we would really end once and for all the fast-fashion machine which has destroyed all. This revolution must start from each one of us, from the wonderful designer who refuses to create more than four collections a year, to the talented journalist who refuses to write about every single show on earth, and from us wanting to buy ‘the latest.’ Fashion is hugely powerful and we need to claim that power back.”

Tommy Hilfiger
“With social media, with the Millennials who are crazy over their heroes like Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner and all of these girls, [fashion is] red-hot. Our success is proving that, because we generated more than 845 million impressions on the last show. We had 290,000 new followers the next day from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and were trending globally on Twitter and Instagram — all over the world, all news; we’ve never had that kind of press. It’s all because of social media. Having Bella Hadid and Hailey Baldwin, all of these girls tweeting and Instagramming from backstage, doing selfies with each other and all of the craziness with all of the social media takes it to a whole different level. Fashion shows have been fun and interesting and we’ve used them for marketing and positioning of the brand over the years, but nothing like it is today.

We’ve also integrated programs like social concierges, the [Twitter] Halo, we did the Vine booth, we’ve got all of these bloggers coming to the shows, they reach millions of fans. We’ve launched a virtual reality experience. We’ve led the social media conversation during New York Fashion Week the past five seasons. You can’t buy that with an advertising campaign, a media campaign. It provides a global media platform to launch our brand story. It amplifies our brand.

It’s entertainment, and the way we’re doing shows now is really about creating unique experiences for the audience, whether they’re students or [other] people watching the live-streams in real time.

I love the idea [of opening shows up to the public]. It’s figuring out how to do it so the editors don’t feel that they’re in some public spectacle because they have to do their jobs. But I love the idea. We have people calling us wanting to buy tickets; we have people e-mailing us for tickets. We could open it up to the public and it could be a phenomenon. If we were to sell tickets, we would probably donate the money to charity; it wouldn’t be a profit. But I like the idea. It is entertainment and it’s an experience. People want experiences nowadays.

I think we need both [audiences]. I just have to figure out how to do both because it would become extraordinarily expensive. The shows we produce now are incredibly expensive, and they’re just for editors, buyers, influencers. If we’re going to do something for the public [how to do it] where it wouldn’t be a double cost?

We’ve selected items that can be bought on tommy.com directly off the runway. It’s our ambition to increase this because it’s been so successful. Shoppers don’t want to wait anymore. They see something on the runway, they want it that day. It’s immediate gratification, especially for young people.

The world of social media and celebrity is on fire because young people are so attracted to it. Look, people love fashion, entertainment, music, festivals, they like experiences that have this pop culture element to them. I would like to make [shows] even more democratic because there’s so many people out there who are followers, they want to become more a part of it.

Live-streaming was really the first step, allowing the public to see the show. Now we have 845 million impressions after the show. That truly is because of social media, bloggers. Two hundred ninety thousand new followers that week on Facebook. It’s incredible. These numbers are wild. Whether or not they translate into sales, we don’t know yet.”

Jason Wu
“It’s a lot. But for me, I love what I do. For me personally, it doesn’t feel like too much. But it’s a lot. I think you can say that about everything. I myself am a consumer of media and I am always looking for more and want more. I guess until we all slow down, we all have to keep up the pace.”

Ed Filipowski, Co-president and chief strategist at KCD Worldwide
“As an industry, in the past decades we have been transformed by globalization and now digitalization, the latter of which is really just an iceberg with the tip showing. Why can’t we embrace this time now as a golden age of fashion, a time in our history where we have more abundant opportunity than ever? We are a desired industry, wanted by the art world, tech and the digital sphere, all forms of entertainment and celebrity — theater, music, film. The collaborative lines are blurred, we all inform each other. Yes, there is undoubtedly great change and with that comes some new questions and challenges, but my advice to clients is it is shortsighted and a no-win situation to look back at what ‘isn’t.’ A true visionary or an industry that breaks new ground is one that doesn’t look to the past, but just keeps moving forward. Fashion is a small part of a larger cultural transformation we are all part of, and to think we need to ‘fix it’ is myopic to say the least. I won’t even have a conversation about old formulas of what has worked in the past. This is the time for pioneers, keeping a few steps ahead.”

Oliviero Toscani
“Fashion is not overheated. In the world where everything is violent and war and money and finance and those idiots on Wall Street.…I think it is very useful. It’s a very good antidepressant in a way, but at the same time, there are women, especially, who get depressed because they don’t look so good, they don’t accept themselves, they don’t like themselves. That’s a pity. I think there have been fantastic designers who accept all kinds of women, who could make any kind of woman look great because of their personality. I think it should be more and more like that instead of discriminating — I think that’s the limitation of fashion. But otherwise it is necessary in the world we are living. Somehow, it’s like music. You don’t really know if it’s necessary — of course, it is more than necessary.”

Umit Benan
“Social media is controlling fashion now. And I don’t like it. The attention to workmanship is disappearing. It’s all about marketing. I absolutely think someone should stop this. Attention is good. But I think it’s time for the brands to control the final [customer]. Slow down a bit. As long as the big brands serve in such a fast way, the final [customer] gets spoiled, [wanting] more and more and faster, newer things every two weeks. But also, if the big luxury brands slow down, then the mass market will take the opportunity to steal a piece of the cake as seen by Zara, etc. So yes, it’s too much!! Too fast! Change? Hopefully. How? Have no clue!”

Dean and Dan Caten
“The fashion system is like a machine: it goes fast, there is no slowing down for anyone. Designers and brands have to create and show at least six collections per year in order to satisfy the retail and wholesale expectations, but you cannot just give it to consumers; you need to consider all the entertainment around it even if in today’s economic situation, maybe it is more important to focus on new ways to use fabrics and use new technology to show fashion in a new light. Keeping an eye on heritage, focusing on innovation: maybe this is the winning key for today’s success.”

Anya Hindmarch
“On the contrary, I think there is a growing and increasingly widespread appetite for fashion as another art form in the way that people queue up for the latest exhibition in all the art galleries around the world. It’s not going away. By contrast, I think that the delivery of fashion content, be it shows, digital or events, will morph into a very direct conversation with the consumer. I think it’s an exciting time.”

Joseph Altuzarra
“It’s two separate issues: One is p.r. and one is retail. The interesting thing to me in this era of social media and celebrities as brand ambassadors and fashion as entertainment is, through all of this, clothes still sell because someone puts it on their body and they like how it fits and it’s the right price and feels unique….I think a lot of the focus is on the intensity of the public relations effort and the intensity of the public arena that fashion has become entertainment. Sometimes I think that it’s really disconnected from what people actually buy.”

Daniella Vitale, Chief operating officer and senior executive vice president, Barneys New York
“The biggest issue is there is so much pressure on designers and emerging brands to put on a show or presentation. Their money and energy should not be spent on this. They should be spending money on getting the product right, quality, production and do what they do best — which is design. We spend so much time going to presentations and shows that fall flat because they do not have the resources to do it properly. That is so defeating for a small brand. We try and see everything, but more inspiring is when you get into a showroom and see amazing product. Nowadays, press and brand awareness comes in many forms and the use of technology and social media can be as effective as a presentation.”

Derek Lam
“It definitely feels like a moment of reckoning, only because we as an industry have been talking about this for quite a few years. The pace just seems to accelerate, as opposed to making a conscious effort to address what needs to be addressed, which is this oversaturation of design, especially in fashion, and all the information. It’s almost out of our control, meaning the industry, because there are so many moving parts, and where do you start?

We made the decision for pre-fall not to do a look book shoot. We’re just going to show it in the showroom for sales. Obviously, we’ll have a press day, but I wanted to dial it down, that necessity of constantly having something up online. It makes me feel more comfortable that we’re not just pushing things out there. I think sometimes, especially for someone like me, the client is not looking for, every four months, some kind of new proclamation. So why do I need to feed into that?

When you look at the movie industry and the studio blockbusters, they’re not going away and each year one or two movies hits that ‘made more money than ever,’ a bigger audience, you know? But there’s a huge turn to independent filmmakers and more interesting television. So you see that whole shift. I think there’s probably a parallel with fashion.

What is the client looking for, the ones who are not looking for revolution? They’re looking to be excited, but they’re not looking to have to think too much about it. They want to be satisfied and entertained and nourished by fashion, but they don’t need it to be a huge seven-course meal.”

Nick Knight, Photographer and founder of ShowStudio
“I think it’s a really good pace. I don’t find it fast, because life is fast. I don’t find it fast in a detrimental way. I think it’s about emotions. It’s about you falling in love with a piece of clothing and it happens straight away. I always felt frustrated before the Internet, because you pour your heart into your work and nobody sees it for three months, and by that time you’ve moved on and you don’t have direct contact with your audience. So I like that sort of spontaneity of Instagram and I like the fact that it’s happening live. It’s like you see a dress walking down, and immediately you have a reaction.”

Damir Doma
“It started with the introduction of pre-collections, which meant more drops, more communication and a change of communication via social media. Social media doesn’t have time to go deep into the subject, it’s maybe exciting for the viewer, but it takes value away from creativity. It’s not just about the clothes anymore — their construction and fabrics — but how the brands present themselves. Too much stays on the surface, and that’s a pity. The market is definitely overheated, which also renders it unstable. My solution was to take myself out of the system. I was a hamster in a spinning wheel, creating one piece after the other — it lost substance. Now I create my own tempo, having gone down from 10 collections a year to four or six. I prefer for my brand to be niche with a smaller turnover but a stable customer base, instead of playing the game.”

Marco de Vincenzo
“Over the years, we saw a crazy acceleration in the timing of the business. In the past, there were some quieter moments when you had the chance to reflect on your work, which was something extremely useful. Even if sometimes being under pressure pushes us to give the best, I also think that if the whole system doesn’t slow down a little bit, we risk to start recycling old ideas and not creating anything new. Creativity is in danger. It’s becoming a war, where we are bombarded by a million ideas and finding room in the market is pretty tough, especially for small brands that cannot do an extensive communication. In addition, I think that cutting time lapses between when you show something and when you sell it, you kill that sense of waiting, which is actually exciting. We are living a kind of schizophrenic time where it’s very hard to make a long-term plan.”

Katie Grand, Freelance stylist and editor in chief of Love magazine
“Everyone certainly feels the pressure of delivering more. Marc (Jacobs) now goes into the resort collection with a different mind-set. It’s not clothes on a rack anymore, but a show. And shows themselves have become such a spectacle, with all the extra material that can be generated. There are very different goals now. You find yourself at 2 a.m. doing a whole fashion shoot before a show — on top of working on the looks and the fittings.

Designers — like Marc and Tomas Maier — are also getting very interested in their own social media accounts. Marc has become obsessed with Instagram and Tomas has caught the bug, too. Designers are choosing to add more noise, they’re giving themselves an extra layer of something to worry about and iPhones generally are making people more easily aware of what’s going on.”

Julie de Libran, Creative director of Sonia Rykiel
“Fashion is quicker than ever before. We sometimes feel we don’t have that time to reflect, explore and experiment enough with new directions. I would love and have tried to slow down that process. We have made the customer and markets used to seeing new merchandise in shops frequently. I believe this is not just in fashion, I have this feeling of things moving so fast and I wonder sometimes if we are forgetting all the work that is behind every piece we see and how those pieces have a certain value and are actually timeless. That is what I am interested in creating more and more.”

Massimo Giorgetti, Designer of MSGM and Emilio Pucci
“The fashion world is spinning very fast; we have to work on collections and pre-collections and those today are important for the business, like the main ones. We also have to think about and work on the fashion shows and ad campaigns, without disregarding all the creative process of a collection (from the inspiration to the show). Therefore the timing is very tight, and the work for the designer and his team is getting harder. In my opinion, all these new opportunities represent a big business, but it has to be positive for the people working on the project, and it has to naturally respect the DNA of the brand. Today the Web offers customers the possibility to share the magic behind a fashion show. It’s a very democratic tool for all the people not involved in the fashion world. But I think that a show should only be for people working in the fashion arena because even if fashion shows are full of glamour and allure, they still are a working moment. During the 15 minutes of a show, buyers can already have a first idea of what they can buy for their clients, and the media can express a point of view.”

Sarah Rutson, Vice President of Global Buying, Net-a-porter
“We at Net-a-porter.com not only embrace changes in our industry, we encourage them. Change is what forces you to innovate, and innovation in our business is critical. The level of attention afforded to the fashion industry by the customer is at an all-time high, but this is an advantage for us. Now more than ever, we must look, listen and respond in true dialogue with our customers, and indeed we have the technology and tools to do just this. It has to be a conversation, not just between retailers and customers, but between brands and retailers, and brands and customers. We must address the needs and wants of the customer in order to succeed. This means being where she is, giving her what she wants and serving as the ultimate zeitgeist who leads her toward the direction fashion moves. E-commerce is the fastest way to directly engage with and respond to the customer, and she relies on the ease and speed of accessing fashion through the click of a button. The modern customer is hot-wired to focus on the now, and wants things quickly, with the luxury service for which Net-a-porter is renowned. I think there has never been a more exciting time to be in this business, especially in luxury e-commerce, where we are excited to continue creating the future of fashion.”

Yeohlee Teng
“I don’t think there will be a breaking point. Human beings are very sustainable creatures — they just evolve. I can’t be gloom and doom about it because I don’t feel that way. This is what it is — deal with it. It will evolve into something else and be ready for that. It’s just life today.

There’s the old school who says, ‘Limit the shows.’ Who are we to tell somebody they can show or they can’t show? That is so elitist. It goes against my grain. If you set up a group that says just 100 shows, that is so undemocratic.

Instantaneous communication is what drove it to its pace today. Whether it’s good or bad is hard to weigh. I don’t think it’s specifically the arena of the designer who has to crank out a lot of work. I think everybody does. It’s like circles — rings around each person. Like in any circumstance, survival of the fittest applies to some degree. It takes a certain amount of will and gumption to be able to think clearly when there’s such cacophony going on around you. I don’t think whether it’s really good or it’s bad, I just kind of think how best to deal with it. I like to try to understand what is going on and hopefully respond appropriately. But there’s no getting away from it. If you don’t learn how to deal with it, you die or you get crushed.”

Cindi Leive, Editor in chief, Glamour
“I understand it’s a problem, but it’s a pretty good problem to have.…Everyone needs to decide if fashion shows are intended to be consumed on social media…as a marketing campaign…or if they are for editors to review them for retailers.…There’s a hunger for seeing and consuming fashion. The alternative is if it’s an industry no one cared about. Even if it’s a problem, it’s a good problem to have.”

Garance Doré, Blogger
“A few years ago, we saw a change in behavior in our readers, who are very hungry for fashion, but started engaging much less during fashion week. I already could feel that fashion weeks felt overcovered and didn’t feel so new and exciting anymore, but for the first time, the readers were telling us directly.

It also followed an editorial questioning about what we want to bring to our readers, and I answered very fast by choosing to cover precise moments and key events, as well as brands that resonate, and in a very personal way. Very quickly it picked up and engagement toward fashion covered that way has never been that strong, as well as trust toward what appears on the blog.

So my answer would be yes, there is too much of everything and it has had an exhausting effect. And in that kind of environment, bringing a different point of view and setting a different tempo was a very good move for us.”

Jean-Marc Loubier, Chief executive officer of First Heritage Brands
“Fashion as a whole is just mirroring a world where speed, congestion of images and instant everything are consumed — too often without consideration and a long-range view. We must expect more from the fashion world and its leaders if we do not want to go out of fashion.

Fashion has become a huge global business based on the tremendous global development of middle/upper classes with the related mass consumption made possible by the availability of relative low costs to supply mostly disposable products.

I believe in the future of our industry as soon as we recognize the real ‘costs’ of what we propose, meaning the values of what we propose. This is a call to rebalance our focus more upstream and not just trying to impose ‘obsolescence’ through huge communication budgets, store networks or omnichannel.

I believe in our fashion shows, in their intense moments when they are part of a chain, not just an instant communication blast. A whole industry gathers and each member plays its demanding role: The companies propose creation and products, the media play their role of filter, giving background and perspectives, and the buyers make their choice and secure diversity. The key structural moment in the industry should not become just a trivial communication tool.”

Fern Mallis
“At the end of the day, of course it’s good that people are so interested. Fashion is to be consumed, and if customers don’t wear it and buy, all the hoopla and all the money spent is really a big waste. When I was at the CFDA, I was a big proponent of trying to create a more consumer-driven fashion week that was about collections when they’re in the stores, way before there was a Fashion’s Night Out, trying to do something that generated business for the customers. That’s really the endgame, and those are the people who we really need to get excited about the stuff. You want them to see a show and then put their hands in their pockets with their credit cards and go shopping. Macy’s did a show this year at the end of fashion week at the Theater at Madison Garden. I thought it was great. It was a great attempt at owning that opportunity. You take advantage of the runway and all the publicity that happens that week and then create a consumer event for people to go shopping.

It’s all out of hand, but it’s all in your hand. You’re taking on the world in your hand. Nobody claps anymore because they’re busy taking pictures. Even at concerts, all you see are cameras in the air. It’s changed everything we do. You can complain about it, but it’s not going to get any better.

Sure, too many people are showing, but how do you know who the next talent is? Who wants to play that role, and play God, and say you can’t show? Everybody deserves a chance. There needs to be a lot more information and inform people so you know what you’re going to see.”

Massimo Nicosia, Head designer, Pringle of Scotland
“Fashion has become the fastest-moving design discipline, and part of the social pop-culture in the most inclusive sense. Once fashion was exclusive and elitist and it was targeting a niche of insiders. Fashion is now moving at Instagram speed and has to generate content at a frenetic pace, sometimes flirting with the ‘quantity-over-quality culture.’ We should allow ourselves more time to create something truly considered and resolved; the time you are able to spend on things is becoming the ultimate luxury in fashion.”

Ralph Toledano
President of Puig fashion division and the Fédération Française de la Couture, du Prêt-à-Porter des Couturiers et des Créateurs de Mode

“The industry has seen tremendous change in the last 20 years. It used to be designers/artisans designing ready-to-wear lines distributed through wholesale, and now you are talking about giant global brands with their own retail networks and a much broader product range.

Yet some things are exactly the same. There were pre-collections back then, but they were not presented to the press because they were incorporated into the shows, which had 60 to 90 exits. I pulled out a Paris Fashion Week schedule from 15 years ago and there were the same 90 shows. We have not increased the number. New York has expanded. Milan has shortened. This is the reality.

Of course, there’s some disconnect between the time we show and the time customers can find it. On the other hand, consumers are very educated and they know that. Even if we wanted to show when the garments are shipped, we would have to show it to the press and to the customers several months before. I don’t know any designer who would put a collection on ice for four or five months. You have to adapt to the times and look forward.

Burnout is something that can happen in any industry. In my opinion, it’s a management responsibility to make sure that doesn’t happen. I don’t think the shows are the problem — they are even a reward for the whole design team. It’s true that we see competition increasing and pressure increasing, but this is not specific to the fashion industry. It’s the manager’s responsibility that this doesn’t happen and to make people happy.

Fashion shows are very, very important in terms of creativity, of commitment, of execution, and of dialogue between the press and consumers, between vendors and their clients. I make a lot of decisions after a show because you see much, much better your strengths and weaknesses. We can’t just blame an anonymous system. There is a dual responsibility. The responsibility of management is to protect designers and make sure they handle the demands. On other side, the designer is responsible when he takes the job to do what is needed to meet the demands of the market and remain competitive. It’s a management tool for sure.”

Chiara Ferragni, Blogger
“It’s a great moment for fashion and a lot is changing and growing. Internet and social media made it all faster and easier somehow…and of course, more accessible. Fashion is not that secret or elite thing it was before. Nowadays, there are not only fashion weeks as main events (which anyway run all year long on the worldwide calendar). [Now there is] the sensation that there is an unmissable event I could attend every day. I think this is not something that is going make the system collapse, but it allows to strongly affirm who you are or what a brand is. There are a millions of occasions, but maybe just a few of them are good for yourself or for your products. I guess everyone (including fashion clients) know it, too. There could be millions of bags or brands, but there will always be that one that you somehow truly desire and feels like yours.”

Leandra Medine, founder of Man Repeller
“I’m not sure if this is going to answer the questions, but I do think that Raf Simons’ departure from Dior has been a bit of a wakeup call for a lot of people in fashion. It was like a selfless and heroic act of personal betterment that I think many of us have de-prioritized in order to “succeed,” sort of forgetting that the pursuit of success is one that is supposed to be motivated by achieving quality of life.

Do I think shows should go directly to the consumer? Not really. It’s for the elected “arbiters of taste,” those trained opinions to share the shows through their lens. Plenty of what’s happening is good; the “democratization” of fashion as they call it, is ushering this industry into an era of all-inclusion. I would not be here, commenting on a story for WWD without it. And I do believe that everyone should be afforded the choice to participate or not in the industry, but what seems to be getting lost is this sense that the pace we’ve set is feeling more and more unreasonable and unsustainable.”

Ruth Chapman, Executive chairman Matchesfashion.com
“I think life is overheated! We are all working and traveling and consuming information more than ever before, which can be overwhelming — and the fashion industry is reflective of this. But the growth in the global appetite for fashion is a positive, as is the way more people are turning to fashion as an outlet for their creativity and to express their individuality. Technology has enabled this, and we all need to embrace the positives that it brings, which is a deeper understanding of the customer and the global market.

As customers are more digitally engaged, we also have more information than ever about them, so brands need to use this to really understand their customer demographic — know your woman or man and then think outside the box to find the most relevant way to engage them. For example, a younger brand may not need to do a catwalk show, but social media is key to their customer so they can serve up content and engage their customer in the right way — which sometimes will be more directly.”

Jason Basmajian, Chief creative officer, Cerruti 1881
“The fashion industry is moving faster than ever before, both from a product perspective (fast fashion) as well as marketing, media and hype. We are starting to see a slight backlash to this. The recent documentary, ‘The True Cost’ by Livia Firth, raises some interesting and fundamental questions on the price we may pay at the end of the day.

Authentic and great work still takes time to develop organically and quality, not quantity, will endure in the end. The fashion system today may expedite accessibility and enhance visibility, but in the end, the product and brand has to deliver. There are no shortcuts and consumers have become increasingly demanding and savvy. The trend for direct-to-consumer shows will continue because it makes business sense and allows companies to get a jump on a season.

I believe that the fashion industry like many others will go through self-correcting cycles and the spinning wheel will also be a test of which designers and brands can stick, and stay the course. Honest and quality journalism is still important, as is end performance at retail. Developing a company and brand takes time and unfortunately, patience is a virtue often overlooked in our industry.”

Marios Schwab
Designer who canceled his runway shows earlier this year and opted instead for one-on-one appointments in a more intimate setting.

“What is the point of inviting 500 people to a catwalk show when I have a niche label? I felt like the handwork, fabrics and details were getting lost on the catwalk. I wanted an intimate dialogue, not a circus, and a show that was manageable for me and for my business.”

Lisa Armstrong, Fashion director of The Telegraph
“Common sense would suggest this is a crazy way to run an industry, especially since so many of the clothes we see, style and write about don’t even make it into the stores. I was sent a survey this week saying that most consumers can’t relate to most of what they see on the runway, and are more influenced by what they view on Instagram.

In the end, it’s down to editors to edit. You can already see that many editors have learned to focus in on the outstanding shows and collections that count and stopped trying to cover everything. I’m hopeful that eventually the industry will get wise and work out what is and isn’t worth doing and how much all of that publicity is genuinely useful, and how much is simply white noise.”

Paul Alger, Director of international affairs at the U.K. Fashion & Textile Association
“There is too much supply and not enough demand. Not everyone is going to succeed. Buyers are getting barraged by brand-new companies each season, and there is a limit to the time and investment they can make in small brands.”

Marie de Reynies, Divisional merchandise manager for women’s wear, Printemps
“It is a question we have been asking ourselves, especially from the perspective of our customer. How can she understand? Even for those of us who work in fashion, it’s becoming so fast, it’s difficult to follow, so for someone on the outside, it cannot be easy. At the same time, we have observed that brands with an accelerated rhythm of delivery and proposition are those that meet with strong commercial success. So, I’m not worried in terms of business, because it’s quite positive in terms of business. I’m concerned about the consumer’s comprehension, but she seems receptive to it, it is after all the Zara model that has been put into place. But afterward, the question we could ask ourselves is, can the whole industry in the background keep up? I worked for the fashion houses before I was at Printemps. It is a rhythm that is extremely intense, because as well as the brands, there is the whole production chain, product development behind that. I think it will go on for some time still, because it has shown such positive results in terms of growth. In the short term, the houses are structuring themselves and have more and more merchandised rhythms for their collections. In the longer term, will the whole value chain be able to keep up? For a certain length of time, yes, in the longer term, I don’t know. We find solutions, because it generates activity and creates jobs, the problem is the ever-increasing speed.”

Ken Downing, Fashion director and senior vice president at Neiman Marcus
“I fear the fashion fatigue is beginning to slowly move through the customer psyche, because she and he are following the collections with the immediacy that we as retailers, editors and fashion insiders are following it. They are as excited and stimulated in the here and now as we are and there’s the sense that, six months from now, when clothes and accessories arrive in stores, she’s becoming a bit bored. She feels that she’s seen it before on social media, online, on celebrities. We’re telling the customer far too much too soon in a society when people have a short attention span and are hungry for the next thing. It begs the question, how much is enough and how much is too much? We’re all guilty. I’m Instagramming from every show.

It’s fast-moving and I don’t want to be the voice of a jaded fashion person, but fashion is a visual feast, and when I’m not being fed, it’s easy to lose interest. Also, the marketing machine has taken some of the soul out of the beauty of the craft.

I look to the Hollywood model of launching a movie. They don’t open the set and let in the customer and the media to Instagram and report on and talk about their latest production. It’s held tight and as it becomes closer to a release date, then you hear more about the actors, more about the role. Then you see a teaser and people stand in line for hours for a ticket to a movie. We, the fashion industry, are throwing all of it out in front of the world as it’s happening and then scratch our heads when the customer becomes disengaged because they’re living the same cycle we fashion professionals are living.”

Beatrix Ong
“At some point, someone has to make the leap of faith to change, to stop doing collections by season, for example. It comes down to an individual’s choices. The fashion industry is not evil, but certain practices have become the norm. People are under pressure, they may not have time, but hopefully better practices will become the norm.”

Serge Carreira, Lecturer at Sciences Po Paris
“Fashion is a reflection of society. It’s schizophrenic because the consumer is [schizophrenic]: He is looking for both authenticity and coolness. The main challenge for designers is to make sense while they’re being asked to send out five or six collections per year. Fashion has always been a show. It’s its essence. What changes today is the immediacy in the Internet age.”

Scott Tepper, Director of fashion buying and merchandising, Liberty
“The velocity and amount of information and photos instantly available live from the shows has totally rocked the fashion industry. Fashion shows have evolved from industry-focused events to branding events, which is actually great to encourage the level of interest in the brands we sell. The only downside is that shows totally built for Instagram, such as a Moschino or Kenzo, run the risk of making such a splash that the customers have already moved on to next season’s big splash by the time the spring product actually arrives in store and online.”

Tina Craig, Co-Founder of Bag Snob, Snob Global Media
“With higher volume and nearly instantaneous exposure, luxury fashion is accessible to everyone — and that’s a positive. Luxury fashion shouldn’t be a clique of ‘mean girls’ (and boys) but an alluring force in which everyone who’s interested can potentially take part, even if by only voicing their appreciation of a newly released bag on their favorite form of social media. Aspirational consumers are becoming more educated, as a result of rapid-fast, ever-expanding technology and the resulting democratization of fashion.

Inevitably, the woman who invests in a $3,500 bag is automatically worried it will become ubiquitous by the time she carries it, and for good reason. Thanks to the consistent gifting of goods to celebrities, social media saturation, and high fashion’s consequent overexposure, a special purchase is potentially less likely to feel quite so special anymore.

There’s an unarguable need to slow down. Designers are churning out four to six collections a year, and trends are jutting in and out of style as quickly as one can blink. The answer is simple. I think cutting out a lot of the noise and relegating access to true experts who can process the information and translate it for the consumer is an important strategy.”

Ariel Foxman, Editorial director, InStyle
“I’m most interested in the consumer and the enthusiastic fashion participant. When you look at the spike in interest during fashion week-month, for the woman who is engaged, I don’t think it’s overheated. There’s conventional wisdom that says, is this sustainable? I would argue that we’re exciting more women than exhausting more women.

I suspect there’s an aspect of the question that is: Is it losing its exclusivity? If the clothing is great and the ideas are standouts…opening it up to as many people who are interested doesn’t make a difference. The most directional designers are some of the most socially engaged people in the field.

I think that fashion is an industry that has always incorporated aspiration and a little bit of a cloak of it being out of reach. Now you see it, now you’ll buy it in six months. I think there is still a myopia around this understanding that simply because people are Instagramming or Snapchatting about it — this democratization of fashion — means everybody knows about it. It’s still a very small group of people who are engaging in this content. It’s still a very, very small core group of fashion enthusiasts.”

Lynn Tesoro, Founding partner of HL Group
“It’s crazy because there’s a launch of an app, an online retail site…there’s something happening every single day. You’re getting bombarded. I think it’s going to find its balance. I don’t think it’s 100 percent bad, and I don’t think it’s 100 percent good. I do really honor the design process and do respect how clothes are shown. Online is great, and I get a lot of information when I’m not in Paris or Milan. But for people who are journalists and are critics, there’s no replacement to the [live] fashion show or presentation.

Celebrities brought a lot of attention to the runway shows. Now the celebrity thing has died down tremendously. Some designers are picking models that have huge Instagram followings. Everyone is thinking a little differently than they ever thought before. At New York Fashion Week, you had Lauren Conrad doing a show, you had Kanye West, people were running out of the more traditional shows to get to them. Adam Levine has a clothing line now. I do think fashion has become entertainment. People are fascinated by the process. I don’t know if fashion has eclipsed entertainment in terms of consumer fascination, but it’s a very big part of it. Fashion has become entertainment. I watched DVF’s TV show the other night. Who wouldn’t want to be in that industry?

Before, you had to worry about your critics, and you had to make the editorial side happy, now there are so many other conversations going on. Right after the show hits, it’s already posted, an hour afterward you’re seeing your reviews, it’s a far greater reach. Someone critiques it on Instagram, and has a point of view. We’ve created wonderful personalities on Instagram and Twitter. Are they truly the voice of authority and experience?”

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