In our State of the Industry series, fashion's most respected critics, editors, designers, publicists, and entrepreneurs discuss the biggest challenges and opportunities facing the industry today. Here's OTB's Renzo Rosso, in his own words.
There are just too many fashion weeks around the world, and it's becoming increasingly difficult for buyers and editors to follow everything. Therefore, the choice falls on the most relevant ones, which ultimately are Milan and Paris. The other fashion weeks should either specialize on the local market or on specific market segments (contemporary or see-now, buy-now), or on whatever the big fashion weeks do not offer. This way, it would be easier for buyers and editors to choose where to go. There is just no longer the time or the budget to travel everywhere and cover everything.
The whole industry is going through a complete transformation. Many big stores are no longer necessary, and new digital technologies allow people to order from home without having to pass by a physical point of sale or speak to a sale assistant. We need to rethink how we structure our organizations: Consumers no longer rank fashion among their top priorities, having to split their spending power amongst wellbeing — eating well and healthy; personal care — fitness and treatments; travel; home; and technology. All of this is reducing the budget spent on fashion. What could be a solution? Building a group of companies that can invest in all of these other industries as well.
It's fundamental for a designer to understand the market. No specific business or financial education is needed — just the awareness that what a company needs are products that speak to its consumer. That's why, for instance, it's important to have a dialogue with the stores' staff to understand how business is doing, and what is needed not to miss opportunities. This does not mean that creativity is not important; on the contrary, it's the thing from which everything originates and becomes relevant. Fashion must remain a dream, and not only the physical product, but also the story that comes with it. When John Galliano presents his Maison Margiela collections, he doesn't just speak of the dress, but also of the woman who will wear it, her environment, and her emotions. The real secret lies in the balance between being close to reality and making people dream beyond it.”