Fashion Quote: Suzy Menkes on The New Speed of Fashion

fashion indsutry, christophe decarnin, suzy menkes, speed of fashion, alexander mcqueen, john galliano, the fashion industry

Christophe Decarnin and a model wearing the look he was famous for. He left his job as creative director at Balmain because of a mental breakdown.

I thought this would be a good quote to end a frenetic four weeks of fashion shows. Actually, there are quite a few good quotes here, this article is excellent (which is no surprise, given it was written by Suzy Menkes and it addresses a very important issue facing the industry right now.) The article talks about the speed of the the fashion industry, and how designers are burning out and don’t have enough time to create properly because they are putting on ten shows a year.

“If we accept that the pace of fashion today was part of the problem behind the decline of John Galliano, the demise of Alexander McQueen and the cause of other well-known rehab cleanups, nonstop shows seem a high price to pay for the endless “newness” demanded of fashion now.”

Menkes is right that although we have “lost” many designers to the pace of the industry (and not to mention the many that complain about it a lot, Alaia and Elbaz come to mind) there doesn’t seem to be any incentive for brands to slow things down. I guess bottom line is the key issue for all of them, and the better bottom line is going to come from selling more. And the best way to sell more is to make people think that they need more, and that is done by showing more collections every year. I remember when people got excited about two seasons a year. Now it is six, plus collaborations, limited editions, etc…

fashion indsutry, christophe decarnin, suzy menkes, speed of fashion, alexander mcqueen, john galliano, the fashion industry

John Galliano and Lee Alexander Mcqueen, two “casualties” of the fashion indsutry.

“So the pace of high fashion had to become equally frenetic. Both the management and the creatives are under constant, year-round pressure, especially the European designers who are obliged to show in New York, bringing in their teams, chasing the best models and replaying the tension and drama of yet another runway show. And this additional pressure is not just for one extra season, but twice a year — after resort comes spring and after that prefall — in a whirligig that seems to be spinning out of control.”

Spinning out of control is an excellent way to describe it. I don’t think this can go on forever. How many more designer breakdowns will we have to witness before things change? And I don’t think that it will only be the consumers who drive this change, it will have to be the talent as well. Hopefully designers, editors, and other fashion industry people will begin to stand their ground. The fashion industry has always been known for being exhausting, stressful, and competitive, but now it is becoming unmanageable. We need a slow fashion movement, and we need it now.

Read Suzy Menkes’ whole article here. Image sources: Christophe Decarnin, Balmain runway image, John Galliano, and Alexander McQueen.

  • Trouble&Strumpet

    Several other notable folk – Timberlake Wertenbaker & the team behind Alabama Chanin included – have been saying exactly the same thing. Slow fashion has to be on the horizon.