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WITHER THE YOUNG DESIGNER?

Alexander Wang must stand the test of his times! NY needs that. Image via alexanderwang.comAlexander Wang must stand the test of his times! NY needs that. Image via alexanderwang.com

TI had an interesting conversation at dinner last night with a retailer who disclosed that the economic tough times were having a strange effect on her business. Not only is it a matter of people buying less, it seems when her customers made a buy they waited for the end-of-season sale AND then proceeded to walk past all those young designers to buy the most obvious brand names in sight. Balenciaga, Prada, Lanvin...all the obvious names in handbags, shoes (and sunglasses, see today's NY Times Style Section) were still moving. But as for the Proenza Schoulers, Phillip Lim 3.1's , Erin Fetherston's? Resistance . "Does that mean you're going to jettison all the kids," I asked. "They'll be the first to go," she nodded sadly. In fact her hiss to me was that a whole flock of the young and hyped would NOT be showing in September and even if they could scrape a collection together, we'd be more likely to see "intimate presentations" , instead of full-on fashion shows. That news was a bit saddening on two fronts, the first being New York City's continued lack of progress in forging a strong flank of young designers with an identity seductive to mass consumers. The second downer was seeing how programmed most consumers were in still insisting on buying the big-budget status labels. The perception is that after the big global convergence of luxury branding in the 90's it becomes more and more difficult for young designers to find the funding, factories, retail support and marketing muscle to burn their labels into the consumer's consciousness. I asked my fellow hisser to flash some light at the end of the dark tunnel she had just put me in. "The clothes have got to become more personal to stand out," she advised. "And the new designers are going to have to accept that sales are going to slow now . Use that time to really refine your clothes and build up your image. Because you're not going to be Valentino overnight!". Sobering words indeed. Which made me wake up this morning itching for something Alexander Wang.

... and now, more than ever....

those young designers should tap the power of the internet.

I won't really miss them.

I love Proenza Schouler - particularly their s/s '08 collection. However, I thought that their f/w collection fell a little flat. The other new designers mentioned (Fetherston, Wang, Lim) I certainly wouldn't miss. They all seem to regurgitate the same uninspired designs season after season. Although, it's certainly strange that some designers continue to be successful, despite a continuous string of repetitive collections. For example, Marc by Marc Jacobs seems to be quite similar season after season, yet Marc's designs seem to sell well. I suppose that the difference is that he proved himself in the beginning, and because of that, Marc Jacobs is now able to rest on his laurels.
Also, I agree with the person who stated that the newer American designers don't hold a candle to the new British designers. The new British designers seem to be putting out very interesting and fresh designs, whereas the new American designers don't seem to have anything new to say.

Interesting post. I believe

I got this response to this post via my email and thought I'd re:post it before I responded to it :

"Interesting post. I believe this could have made for a really great story. You should challenge yourself more as a journalist. I get what you're doing and you're very funny and bubbly but there is a good chance here to explore some deeper issues.

What about the Vogue/CFDA fund? How much has that helped? Is giving a crutch to young designers a good thing or should they learn to survive on their own?

Maybe this is a question of talent too. Maybe this new generation of designers is not that talented. Maybe they are being forced down people's throats with all this hype. Let the cream rise to the top. Personally I don't think a lot of the clothes shown in New York is very good anyway. Not next t what the young designers are doing in London or Paris.

Maybe like so many things right now its just the market correcting itself. These are the things I'd like to see more of on The Imagist. Business journalism. Don't get me wrong I love all the gossip and I love your blog but you can do better."

It raises some good points which provokes me to think about this some more

N.S.'s picture

Unfortunately...

You know what, apparently he/she has their head stuck far up a dark place.
"You should challenge yourself more"...are you kidding? Wayne has done a fantastic job doing what he's done. There is no intro to the site promising the wonders of the world in black light. I'm sure NY Times type journalism was not the target of this site. Wayne has explored many topics in depth. So for you to hop on this one post and brand him overall, as you seem to have done, is a bit bogus.
Honestly Wayne, this member shouldn't have gotten the time of day. A quick click on 'delete' would have worked well. His choice of dialogue is condescending towards you.

To the member... Wayne more than handles his. If you don't know that by now then you never will, and your non-constructive imput is just that, non-constructive. As far as the topic goes, the "deeper issues" are majorly non existant. It's obvious that the young designers most likely won't get a proper footing overnight as long as Chanel, Valentin1o, Armani, Versace, D&G etc. are reigning supreme. What more analysis are you demanding? Every topic isn't a novel. If you had some deep inside scoop, you could have shared your two cents.

As for the new talents not being that talented, is just not the case. We have fantastic new talents such as the young men of Proenza Schouler, the Mulleavy sisters of Rodarte, Zac Posen, Phillip Lim, Peter Som, Esteban Cortazar to name a few, whom are all coming into their own, developing clientele as well as image. No, not all of the clothing on the NY runway is fantastic but isn't that the case on any other runway and designer collection new and old alike? In all honesty the young, new designers of London are not that much better than those who show in NY.

You say "these are things I'd like to see more of on the Imagist", but your specific point on the topic is lacking substance.
I don't see what good points were raised by this unsuccessful insult.

Lastly, if you want to see numbers being crunched and venn diagrams, you're more than welcome to subscribe to the Wall Street Journal and the like. This website deals with the tangible image! The likes of fashion, music, art.. all things beautiful (some of the ugly) and so forth, being presented to the public neatly for feedback sans bias. Like i said previously, Wayne more than handles his....
If you want to see "better" you're free to create your own site or publication if this doesn't quench your thirst.
This isn't just gossip.

N.S. ;-)

The economic downturn is no

The economic downturn is no doubt frustrating. But I would hope that the younger generation of autonomous designers that is emerging would take it as an opportunity to expand on standards and use their quite obvious talent and creativity to establish new ways of putting forth their lines and fostering interest. Perhaps this could be a catalyst to produce new and inventive modes of fashion dissemination. No need to let the buck get you down!

How sad.. The young

How sad.. The young designers' backstages are the ones that are always buzzing with excitement and sheer joy at presenting the clothes that they probably helped make themselves.. The big designers' backstages are so... corporate and unthrilling. They don't have that same frisson of personal energy. The world is turning into a giant mall with 10 brand names.

TOUGH TIMES FOR THE INDUSTRY

Ouch. Economic tough times are having worse repercussions than I ever imagined. But I liked your fellow hisser's sobering words: " Use that time to really refine your clothes and build up your image."

Something good just might come out of these times after all....

Taste is a dictatorship.

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