It Might Not Be Called Fashion Anymore

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Fashion Girl

“I don’t understand fashion today, at all, as a fashion designer. I’m also sort of burned out by it and really not interested in a lot of it,” said Narciso Rodriguez

 “The bigger the fashion show, the better the show, the more you spend. And that’s great, and it’s all fashion so you celebrate it, but it’s also the part that makes me want to turn away from it.” Like many of his peers, Rodriguez appears to have grown tired of Fashion with a capital F. Why?

It’s not like people aren’t spending money on clothes and accessories. The luxury market grew 5 percent last year, according to Bain. But upstart digital brands and European luxury houses with highly creative designers and direct-to-consumer business models have captured much of this growth, while many of New York’s labels — which depend on ailing American department stores for distribution, don’t stage the kind of high-impact runway shows adored by the internet and have been less successful at renewing themselves creatively — have suffered.

Consumers are more likely to spend on internet-born, un-fashion brands or an experience that plays well on their Instagram feed.

Kanye West

Designers and brands are dissociating themselves with “fashion” — there’s a reason it’s called Vetements, not Mode — or looking for ways to escape entirely. Some are betting that adopting the streetwear model, which focuses on continually “dropping” small capsules of product rather than an entire seasonal collection at once, will keep customers interested.

“I think it might be nice if fashion, the fashion industry falls out of trend in a way,” the New York-based designer Rachel Comey said. “It could recalibrate.” All of this uncertainty, frustration and confusion could actually result in something better. But perhaps the growing disdain for fashion will force the industry to shake off its shackles and build something entirely new. What that will look like is anyone’s guess, but when it’s all over, it might not even be called fashion anymore.