What happened in fashion in 2017 and what should we learn from it?
A lot of unexpected events happened in fashion in 2017, from joyful news such as the appointment of ‘first black Editor in the Vogue’s history’ (I would shamelessly call it Conde Nast democratisation), to shocking (Brexit, Trump), to sad (loss of Franca Sozzani), to surprising (Jimmy Choo acquisition by Michael Kors). We segmented all the most important events that touched fashion into categories in order to have a better understanding of what happened in fashion in 2017 and what to learn from it.
Power shifts in fashion’s leading companies (from fashion houses to fashion media) always mean changes awaiting. There’s been too many power shifts (exits, new appointments) to name them all here but all of them raise a question ‘what’s next?’. What’s next for the Vogue Italia after the death of the eponymous talent supporter Franca Sozzani late in 2016? Although the face of the magazine hasn’t changed, everyone in the industry is still talking about the late Sozzani, comparing every single step to her legacy. What’s next for Burberry after the exit of Christopher Bailey? That is a big one! And no one knows the answer yet. We already know what’s next for brands such as Lanvin and Celine after losing their iconic Creative Directors Alber Elbaz and Phoebe Philo respectively – a mess, at least for a while. The only truly joyful power shift – Edward Enninful entering British Vogue, putting British Ghanaian model Adwoa Aboah on his first (November) issue and setting a right tone from the very beginning.
Let’s embrace and connect with the names behind the labels and titles.
What can we learn? The bottom line is, the brands are not just their creative geniuses, people come and go, the brands will stay. Whether they stay the same, that’s another question. So perhaps for the future, we can learn to follow the creative powers of people, rather than titles they belong to at the given moment of time? Let’s embrace and connect with the names behind the labels and titles.
The year in politics was and still is disastrous. Two main economic players (including fashion) – Great Britain and the United States of America, have gone nuts. America and Britain have decided to get rid of the international workforce, talent and the European Union support (in the Brexit case). The fashion industry highly depends on the EU financial support, talent source and distribution networks. Britain will have to reinstall the internal financial aids, clone their British talents or make exemptions, case by case.
What can we learn? There’s not much to learn (unless you’re a brexiter or a trumpet,) but there’s a lot to understand. Fashion capitals are shifting, fashion calendars are disappearing and after such changes in politics, fashion talents might and will shift as well. What ‘s your call for the next fashion capital?
The rise of the absurdist fashion.
It seems that fashion has become a little bit tired of itself. From ‘old school label’ revival at Urban Outfitters to the masterful self-irony at Vetements, we have witnessed a return of the recent past. I see the trends in fashion in 2017 as a sort-of elaborated play on normcore where ‘I don’t give a sh*t how I look’ becomes more like ‘I care so much I purposefully dress as if I just stepped out from the ‘Saved by the Bell’ TV series but it’s not enough so I will top it up with a £199 bomber by Supreme, just because I love the LV monogram’.
As much as I love the current fashion craze, it smells like it’s almost overcooked, be careful not to burn it!
What can we learn? To be honest, I’m not entirely sure fashion can become more normcore. Heels x sports socks (forget Sandals’n’Socks), puffer jackets x ultra hight boots, logomania (everyone loved vintage Gucci this year, according to Lyst.com user data), extremely low key or extreme extravaganza… Perhaps it’s time for us to take a deep breath and ask ourselves why are we doing what we’re doing – as fashion creators, as marketers, and as consumers. As much as I love the current fashion craze, it smells like it’s almost overcooked, be careful not to burn it!
The rise of D2C.
This one is more business related than to a broader fashion community but at the end of the day, we are all part of the rise of the D2C (Direct to Consumer) business model in fashion. It might be the only trend from 2017 that will continue into 2018 in full power. Although fashion still needs traditional retail (as an experience) and even wholesale (as a marketing tool), a new generation of fashion consumers will find and shop brands directly from their Social channels, making Direct to consumer sales a primary way of sales for most of the independent fashion brands.
What can we learn? Fashion brands should embrace the opportunity of speaking to their costumers directly. If you are a small brand, a Social Media manager has to be an internal part of your team, or it has to be you. Brands will probably try to get us come to the stores with more engagement and retail only experiences that online-only can’t create. I see it as a positive thing – we shall all engage on a personal level, online and especially offline.
Fashion is changing rapidly, and 2017 was an extremely busy year – fashion acquisitions, mergers, exits and new appointments, changing fashion week agenda and changing patterns of consumer profiles will lead us to even a more interesting year in 2018. Hopefully, we will be more prepared and conscious of the way we interact with fashion.