Creativity For Sale
“It’s nice to see clothes like this (referring to Chloe’s latest collection) because as gorgeous as they are, you don’t always see yourself wearing the stuff that comes down the runway of a designer like McQueen.”
My friend said this to me a few days back while we were going through the latest issue of Grazia and it got me thinking – we all adore the quirky designers with their crazy clothes but when it comes down to it, is commercial fashion the way to go if you really want to be successful in the fashion industry? Successful not only in terms of what the audiences and critics think of you but also in terms of how much money you are pulling in.
You may argue that fashion is a creative field and expressing your creativity through these clothes is far more important than making money but to be able to express said creativity, designers need – you guessed it – money. And lots of it at that. So after a season of hard work, of putting your sweat and blood into creating an amazing line, if that collection has all the blogs a-buzzing and all the critics pleased but doesn’t sell, the designer is going to be facing a huge problem.
The easiest way out is to simply design a line that may not leave everyone astounded but will be picked up in bulk by the buyer from Barney’s. Even though there are very few designers willing to give up their artistic vision of what their clothes should look like and go “commercial” just for the money, almost all of them modify their designs once off the runway so that they become more wearable and therefore are more likely to be bought by consumers.
Designers, not all of them but most of them, fall in to the “starving artist” category and the idea of starving artists giving up their ideals and making clothing that sells for the sake of a higher income may seem like an oxymoron but the sad truth is that designers, irrespective of how talented they are, who don’t make profits large enough to keep their label afloat end up like Luella. Or Christian Lacroix. Especially in times of recession like these where money is not as expendable as it was, can designers really afford to work only on the basis of their brain juice and not think from a business perspective?
You might ask what is so revolutionary about a simple shredded Tee or a black A-line dress with an exposed zipper but it is clothes like these that people buy. Clothes with bold structures and innovative patterns may seem like a great idea, but who other than a handful of people, the likes of Daphne Guinness or Anna D. Russo, will really buy them? Who other than those few people out there who collect wearable art can actually afford them? Designers like Gareth Pugh may be adored by everyone but the fact of the matter is that in the end it’s designers like Alexander Wang who will do better – at least monetarily – due to their more commercial and therefore more wearable collections.
What is your opinion on this matter? Do you think that it is okay for designers to go commercial and work towards earning more or is keeping your artistic integrity alive more important? Leave a comment and let us know!