Friday, June 08, 2007

Imperfect Competition

The June 7 NYT article, Stealing the Scene Along With the Store, is a complete reflection of the pop-culture dominated society that we live in today. It talks about the death of true fashion as we know it, and by that I mean fashion designed by the talented and the genius, because of the celebrity-designer infiltration. Think MKA and the Row, with its definite upmarket price. The unfairness of it all!! Them, the ones only partially involved in the design process itself, with the huge marketing budget vs the struggling but talented. Who prevails?

I myself have always made a point at avoiding celebrity labels. The Row? No thankyou (although I do like some of the pieces). Britney Spears perfume? No thanks. The Paris Hilton one? Nup, I'll pass. It's not whether they smell nice or look nice, because I know some are great. I'm simply boycotting against the celebrity-name-infused-everything that is one the market today, even though I know one consumer not buying accounts for nothing in their however-many-billion-dollar empire. Call it my personal fashion philosophy. I am in favor of those who have bled for fashion, who've made sacrifices for it, who believes in it- I guess it might be a bias but the celebrity seem to get everything handed to them on a silver platter.
Mr. Lim... said the chances of a young designer surviving in the business today are “slim to none.” By contrast, celebrity lines... typically break the $100 million mark in sales in their first or second year, thanks to the power of a star name hitched to a huge marketing campaign. And they almost always begin with a lucrative fragrance deal, whereas it takes years for traditional designers to get the attention of companies like Estée Lauder or Coty. Ms. Wang said. “You could be competing against a television or movie star for a fragrance deal, and that’s an added pressure for designers. We’re working really hard to keep our heads above water, and does the public differentiate, or care? Those are big questions...” The struggle of talented designers is an old lament. On top of familiar pressures — the contracting number of department stores, the difficulty of finding financing, the fickleness of consumers —some designers are now waking up to realize they are competing with celebrities for market share...
So some might see me as a fashion snob, but how are we meant to find the next Yves and Karl Lagerfeld if we are diving head first into the pond of celebrity worship??
Photo cred: fashionologie

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