The CFDA will be awarding Rihanna with their Style Icon award. The article mentions the icons she will be joining (the likes of which include Kate Moss and Iman), and I thought this was an interesting event for two reasons. One is that the article mentions the fashion houses she has been associated with (like Chanel, Lanvin, and Comme des Garcons). These names hold a certain amount of pedigree, and her mere association with them seems to be enough to declare her a fashion icon. The other point is that an association is naming her. Our discussion of the Zeitgeist suggests that a person being considered an icon can come from a number of sources (i.e. public opinion, trend setting, overall influence). It begs the question: How does the CFDA decide what makes someone an icon? Is their endorsement enough to actually make her one?
Here’s a take on the “Kimye Vogue Cover.” Must read. Written by a PR person, but I don’t think she’s working for Vogue or Kimye… (?)
Op-Ed | No, Vogue Is Not Dead – BoF – The Business of Fashion.
Quote from header
“The April 2014 cover of American Vogue, featuring Kanye West and Kim Kardashian, proves that media now belongs to the people …”
What on Earth does that mean?
- Who should we listen to, Cathy Horyn or Eugene Rabkin, and why?
Both Horyn and Rabkin make interesting points about their views on fashion. However we should listen to Horyn when she says that consumers seek comfort in fashion. As a women we grow to familiarize ourselves with the concept that beauty is pain, so we suck it up and wear the six inch heels, extremely fitted clothing all for the price of looking good. These days this philosophy is still true but it’s fair to say that it has changed a great deal. When I visited the District of Columbia during spring break I made a fashion observation. I noticed that there was a vast amount of young career folks that just graduating from college. Everyone is dressed up for the majority of the time. Just as Horyn mentions in her article, women wore dress pants and flats. Even though they had to dress for their jobs they wanted to be comfortable especially because of the amount of movement and commute throughout the day. It would be in H&M’s interest to sell clothes, dress pants in particular that compliment flats and kitten heels. Also I notice HM has had some kitten heels.
- What would we need to change, for your client to go the other way?
As mentioned above the direction and spirit of fashion for women has gotten more comfortable. If my client wants to continue to market to people that enjoy dressing up they should keep the balance of dressy yet comfortable and maybe sell ” dressy sweats” that can be work appropriate for work on a dress down day. Other than that they are right on trend and in line with fulfilling customer needs.
- What would be the most “revolutionary” thing for your client to do?
The most revolutionary thing my client to do is to completely disregard the current trend and consumer lifestyle and proceed to sell extreme uncomfortable attires. If HM does that, it does not mean that they will lose consumers; they may or may not. If it hurts their sales they will opt for change. However if this is successful it will show that the actual store is more influential to the consumer than the need for comfort.
1. I agree with both Alanna and Tara in that our client should listen to Cathy Horyn’s point of view. Ralph Lauren Corporation is a very smart company, for they have chosen to make a bunch of separate labels under the same brand, with Polo Ralph Lauren as their original, average-priced flagship line. This line seems to focus on classic styles and comfortable textiles, while remaining at a decent price point. However, they seem to stick to the same kinds of styles and do not take many risks. What Horyn talks about in her second article, “Sign of the Times, Slave No More”, she points out her keenness of the mix between comfort and luxury. Polo Ralph Lauren as its own separate brand should listen to this advice and begin to take a few more design risks, without sacrificing the comfort of their classic pieces.
2. I do agree with Eugene Rabkin, though, that “fast fashion” is beginning to take away the meaning of “fashion”. I like when he talks about his first interview with Ann Demeulemeester when she “proceeded to explain how this seam and this angle of the cut reflected the fragility and imperfection of man that she wanted to manifest. She literally cut meaning into her clothes.” This was a powerful comparison, because it made me realize just how “fast fashion” and many RTW labels really do not put much care into creating their clothing, steering away from the true meaning of fashion as an outlet for emotions and individuality. In order to achieve this idea of fashion, perhaps Ralph Lauren can combine all of their labels under Polo Ralph Lauren, and become a more exclusive line in general. The designers of the company will have to choose the very best cuts and will have more of an opportunity to put a lot more care and meaning into their designs, sending out a positive message to their customers. By doing this, they could also do as Horyn suggested and create some more comfortable, yet luxurious pieces. However, this move may drive away more customers than it brings in, for the prices of garments would probably go higher than typical Polo Ralph Lauren prices.
3. The most “revolutionary” thing that Polo Ralph Lauren can do is to step outside of their comfort zone and take a few more design risks. Horyn notes in the first article, “Picky, Picky: A Critic’s Spring Fashion Guide”, that a couple of brands basically re-invented ruffles to make them “cool” for that season. By taking this risk, these brands have opened themselves up to a new consumer market and created a style/trend for upcoming seasons. Because consumers are familiar with Polo Ralph Lauren as a decently-priced brand, who also offers various styles through outlet stores, it would make sense to revamp and possibly rebrand themselves as having more trendy elements and being a little more on the cutting-edge of fashion, because that’s what the consumer is currently looking for.
Facebook in $2 Billion Deal for Virtual Reality Company
This article was very interesting to me. As time progresses, the world is becoming much more technologically advanced and creating new innovative ways to become connected with one another. We have Facebook, twitter, tumblr, pinterest, and lots of other sites that connect you with other people. In the Zeitgeist map, this would fall under social media and entertainment. “Facebook sees the future” a 3-D virtual world where you feel as if you are hanging out with your friends rather then just staring at their pictures. Facebook reached a $2 billion agreement with the maker of a virtual reality headset, giving people a reality that they are virtually present in a digital world. “Imagine enjoying a courtside seat at a game, studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world or consulting with a doctor face to face — just by putting on goggles in your home,” said Mark Zuckerberg. Social media plays a huge role in many people’s lives, and many people can’t live without it. This new innovation will bring people closer together without actually being near someone. It will be interesting to see how many people use this product, and the outcome and success rate in a few years from now.
1. In relation to both of these writers, I believe that our group is definitely one who should listen to Cathy Horyn-I found that her writing was more relatable in a sense that our designer (Ralph Lauren) is a brand that reaches out to those who are shopping at the expensive outlets, but also those shopping at the discount stores that the leftovers get sent to. I think that our designer could see conflict between choosing between these two designers due to their “look”. One may think of Polo Ralph Lauren is a brand only off the runway, appealing to the “upper class” as they strive to be a brand for. But, when you look at the business aspect of this company you will realize that this brand who one would think is of upper class, is anything but that.
2. I think that Ralph Lauren needs to collaborate with high end designers in order to relate to Rabkin and create a more expensive line with better materials. This type of company would exclusive with only a Polo Ralph Lauren store- based on catalogue prices rather than discounting. With Horyns articles in mind, she says how fashion runways have a large impact on the way clothing is priced (all which are extremely expensive) and that it affects the intended consumer group. But, she mentions you can find the same “high end” apparel recreated by cheaper stores-appealing to a larger audience. But, often times these stores have a high supply rate, leading to their expansions is discount stores.This high availability at any price is what has this company at a stand still, and could improve by eliminating the “tj maxx” collaborations.
3.A revolutionary thing to do would made this “preppy and expensive” label-actually expensive. I think that the persona that Ralph Lauren is appealing to is a “Kennedy prep” type, who if they raised their prices by using higher end fabrics rather than just cotton they could become a more exclusive line- appealing to the customer they are pretending to be. This could either make or break this company, for a large majority of their profits are from discount stores-they could, as I said in the last paragraph, either eliminate these stores or make an exclusive line only sold by their designer.
1. I think Shanghai Tang should listen to the views of Rabkin instead of Horyn because Shanghai Tang is not necessarily a company that is for comfort. They are more extravagant and bold. They are high end and have more of a theatrical feel that Rabkin discusses because of their high-end oriental look. Horyn thinks that there is not a market for this really anymore because of comfort and money.
2. If Shanghai Tang wants to change their direction they should listen to Horyn. If Shanghai listened to Horyn, it would result in acquiring a new target market. They would attract a target market similar to H&M because they would start designing more basic everyday clothing. They would lose their status of high-end unique clothing.
3. The most revolutionary thing for Shanghai Tang to do is to not listen to opinion like Horyn because they may turn off their current target market. The consumers that shop at Shanghai Tang like them because they are not like H&M and they are not like Chanel. Their consumers like them because they are unique and something different.
1. I think that Express should listen to what Horyn has to say because since Express is for the mass, the common 20-30 year old man and woman are the target. Horyn thinks that the sole reason for fashion shows is for entertainment and I totally agree. Most often the fashions seen on the runway are very exaggerated versions of what will actually appear on the racks in stores. Horyn also makes a good argument stating that nobody has the time or money to dress in high fashion like that put on the runway. While watching these extravagant designs make their way down the runway, we have to think, are these realistic? and most often the answer is no. When Horyn describes her experience in Celine looking at their runway collection and the salesperson calling the clothing “pieces” we wonder if fashion has been taken too far and being too closely compared to art.
2. I think that since Express has a lot of classic styles and pieces, they should step up their game and actually come up with styles that are a bit more adventurous while still pleasing their market of a lifestyle brand for 20-30 year old men and women. I think that in order for Express to be successful in doing this, they should maybe start creating more styles of a shirt or bottoms, rather that creating a few basic styles and creating them in every color imaginable. I think that if Express begins to become more creative, they will be capable of drawing more customers in.
3. I think that something revolutionary that Express could maybe do is lower their price point a little bit. I believe that Express is a quality brand but I still think that their prices are too high for the quality that they sell. I know that Express sells clothes for men and women to wear in the workplace, casually, and out at night, so I think that they keep their prices higher because they want their target market to be mid 20’s and successful, therefore able to afford a little bit more expensive clothing. While I feel that Express should lower their prices to better match their quality, I don’t think Express would really consider it due to their desired target market.
1. I think we should listen to Cathy Horyn more than Eugene Rabkin. It seems that the idea in both Rabkin’s articles are outdated. Horyn seems to understand the consumers of our time better. I completely agree with her that the consumers love watching runway shows, but actually when it comes to their wardrobe, they want something that is wearable. Many of us don’t want to wear that garment that is considered a piece of art, we would rather just admire it. Also, price is an issue because as Horyn said “incomes have stagnated for virtually everyone, but the rich.” People do not have the money to buy a $3,000 garment. So this goes back to the idea in history that fashion, or what is considered high fashion, was only meant for nobility or the rich. We studied this in class with couture beginning in France with Worth and was created for the upper class. Over time we saw this fade out with the democratization of fashion and people starting to question the death of fashion with Saint Laurent during the 1960s. Did fashion actually die though? Or maybe the view and idea of fashion just changed rather than died. Artistocracy no longer leads fashion like it did, but Rabkin seems to be stuck in this way of thinking. It is made clear in his article “What is Fashion For?” where the idea that fashion is suppose to have a meaning or make a statement. If we listen to Horyn, Express should cater to more what the customer wants to wear. This does seem what that have been doing lately, where they have been included a lot more current trends in their season lines.
2. For Express to go the other way, and agree with Rabkin, culture and basically our societal structure would have to change. People would have to become less into the fast fashion model that dominates our main fashion market for the average person. The rich would have to possible grow in size and start to dominate fashion again like in Worth’s time. Express would then begin creating fashion for the upper class and it would be more of a dictatorship model.
3. The most revolutionary thing Express could do right now is to lower it’s prices and follow closer to the fast fashion model, like Forever 21. They have begun incorporating trends into their lines so the next step would to do mainly trends with lower prices. Express has a lot of sales going on all the time anyways and their quality is not much better than H&M, so lowering prices doesn’t seem like it would be too hard to do. I do not think that they should turn into a Forever 21 though. Express should still keep it’s current customer in mind with what trends to follow and do this by staying true to the Express look. Lowering prices as well as following the fast fashion models seems to be what consumer’s are asking for and, in turn, they would be taking Horyn’s advice.
1. I strongly agree with many of Horan’s opinions and references. Horan expresses how wonderfully entertaining it is to watch runway shows of the top designers. Watching their designs up and down the runway definitely creates a desire for the public, but Horan brings up a concern that these luxury designer clothes are hardly practical. While the clothes look beautiful on the runway, is it really something people like herself and I will even consider buying? Even if we did fall in love with the look, who is willing to pay the outrageous luxury designer prices? Her article brings up a great point that perhaps designers and stores should focus on the consumers needs and their target markets. If a store is trying to sell a $2000 sweater then celebrities and high class people may very well be their only consumers. But if a designer is trying to sell to more than that specific market they will have to begin making adjustments. Horan expresses that fashion is beginning to lose its meaning. While the runway is portraying spectacular art, where is the meaning attached to the clothing? From the 80′s to present day, women are beginning to need and want to attach a meaning to their clothing. We need to be able to relate to the clothes walking down the runway. Horan mentioned at a runway show she attended she say that Alber Elbaz based Lanvin’s fall collection on chic sweatpants, mixing them with luxury coats and pumps. Now this is refreshing. He was able to capture comfort without sacrificing any luxury. Maybe this is what we need in new designs… some sense of meaning that we can relate to. In terms of Express. I think they can take a lot of good advice from Horan. Express should consider the consumers wants and needs and give them a sense of meaning attached to their clothes.
2. In order order for Express to be successful, I believe Express should consider what the consumers wants and needs are. Yes, the store has great basic and classic fashions, but is that all their consumer is looking for? Will their customers become bored with the same monogamous pieces sold there? Express has an idea of what meaning they would like to attach to their clothing and that is “to express yourself and be unique”. Can a customer do this with the clothes that are offered at the store? Express clothing is clearly aimed for young, sophisticated adults, so they must sell clothes that will cater towards this market. While Express is without a doubt beginning to branch out and expose different styles of clothing, are this new pieces staying true to their target market? For example, Express has come out with a dress that has a tribal type of print, giving off a very urban feel. This is not a usual style for Express and I’m not sure if this is what Express’ customers want.
3. I believe Express should continue introducing new types of fashions to their customers but they must be consistent with the consumers needs. I think that Express should continue to sell the classic fashions that they are known for and also introduce new fashions that are a little more bold in colors and styles that will allow their sophisticated consumers to express themselves. While the tribal dress is a great approach to introducing bold pieces to the public, I do not this “urban” feel should be what they are trying to sell. So many other stores have “tribal” or “aztec” type prints and clothing; I think that Express should branch away from this mainstream trend and find trends that are more unique for their store. “Unique” is what they are trying to give to their consumers after all.