Fashion week in New York is that special time of year when everyone in the industry, whether front row or in front of the glow of their laptops, consume 100,000+ images in two weeks. We do this in an attempt to make over-arching predictions pertaining to the niche/s of the industry in which we participate. We do this through first digesting what we innately respond to, then read about what other people respond to. Finally, at the end, we draw our conclusions about the consistencies and commonalities in all of the shows in order to create our “what’s next” predictions.
I say create our predictions, but the truth is that this process has already gone through a major series of created predictions and research for the last year with another sector of industry professionals. Trend forecasting firms and designers have been generating their predictions and interpretations for a full year even before these industry professionals lay eyes on the collections. Consider then that it is almost another full year before the mainstream consumer even has an opportunity to see or purchase. It reminds me of the scene in “The Devil wears Prada” with the cerulean sweater dialogue.
It’s hilarious to me both because it is so spot on, and also because to be perfectly honest with you, sometimes I feel more Anne Hathaway than Meryl Streep, even though I am clearly supposed to be more Meryl Streep. Am I the anti-fashion fashionista? Should I shun myself right out of the industry? Don’t get me wrong here. I adore this industry, to my personal and relational detriment at times, but sometimes I have to just stop all the influence and say, who am I in all of this? As well as,’ how can I adapt all of this information and make it useful and practical for my day to day life?’ Not as a designer or a stylist but as a consumer. Truly, I still am a consumer of fashion even though I am also a provider, and I don’t want my customer to be as confused as sometimes I am. Sometimes brands confuse me, let me down, over stimulate me, and sometimes they alienate me. I don’t want to do that to my customer, and I am certain that I can only avoid doing that by knowing who I am as a consumer of fashion and in turn who my label is–as provider.
So my question is in this era of instant access to immense amounts of visual fashion information, are we all just influencers from all of our influences? And in turn does that mean that all we are is a product of what we consume and digest? I’d like to think that we are capable of more than that, that we generate new ideas and innovate design and style. I hope that is why we desire to create. So in conclusion I have no conclusion, as I shouldn’t, other than this simple advice from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Insist on yourself. Never Imitate”