Fairplay

Main Image
Fashion & Trends, Style

New York to Milan: On The Precipice of Change

By Sofia Celeste 21 September 2017

MILAN, ITALY – It’s a hard business. Everything from commodity prices to flying nuclear war threats can send fashion stocks and businesses on a downward plunge in two shakes of a lambs tail. If there is one thing we have learned since Sept. 11th, fashion is constantly on the throes of change.

Take a look at the ready to wear shows, where two antiquated forces — journalists and buyers — are fighting to maintain their domination over the fashion ring. Over the past five years, online retail has chipped away at the future of physical stores. The latest bastion to fall: Colette in Paris, was not only a trusted name in the industry, its buyers trailblazer trends and were reputable voice in our field. Other names like 10 Corso Como continue to fight for their survival in a world where expansion is crucial. Elsewhere, retail chains are shuttering their doors and top buyers are clinging to their jobs.

In an age of virtual reality and social media fashion shows, where is the future of fashion going?

Fairplay’s editor in chief chatted with Riccardo Grassi, one of the world’s most prominent showroom owners and purveyors of cool, about the future of the fashion show and how major game changers like the threat of nuclear war and the sustainability challenge are impacting our industry:

It’s a strange moment, geopolitically speaking. Let’s take Seoul for example. Do you think recent threats from the North will put a kink in expansion plans there?

It’s still coming along really well, there’s a bit of fear. The Chinese market is also stabilizing, that’s slowly growing in terms of chic multibrands… it’s maturing. And then there’s a worldwide growth of online shopping, that’s upsetting the in-store sales. There’s a great difference between the younger customer that mostly buys online and the adults, like me, who still go to stores. There’s still a step, a dangerous but stimulating step, because at the moment there are so many new countries like Russia, the Middle East, that have a desire to invest in new retail concepts. They’re very open to new designers, not only the big brands.

To discover new brands, do you go to fairs?

No, I go on online forums or through my retailers, who maybe discover new brands, and then I inform myself through my young staff who all give me suggestions. I also travel around the world a lot.

Sustainably has been a huge challenge for our Italian brands. Do you see the brands you work with, embracing this change?

Some people. But let me be honest with you… as a stimulus to sales, sustainable fashion is not pretty. It’s wonderful when you create beautiful things, and when you do it in a sustainable manner even better. Sustainable doesn’t necessarily guarantee sales.

Why?

Because you need aesthetics. Fashion is fashion.

So, we’re still not at the point where we can create beautiful yet sustainable?

It’s starting. This year I see a sustainable collection from one of my brands, Mother of Pearl. I had to do many tests in order to create it, but I must say everything is very beautiful. They did the normal collection with eco-sustainable fabrics.

Let’s talk about fashion shows. We are still seeing journalists on one side and buyers on the other…

Every time there are less and less buyers.

Right, but also less journalists.

Well, that because the press cuts back on costs.

What, in your opinion, will become of fashion shows?

At the moment, there still isn’t anything that can replace the fashion shows.

Maybe on a digital platform?

They’ve tried and it doesn’t work. In the end, the fashion show is the best place to publicize, create content for later use on social media and digital. In the end, with just one show you can have a lot of digital content. So for now, there’s no replacement for the fashion show.

   

 



Sofia Celeste
FAIRPLAY Editor-in-Chief

When she is not hunting down the latest in tech and fashion, Sofia Celeste is scouting artisan talent for her online magazine bacoluxury.com. Born in the US and raised on the Pacific Island of Guam, she went on to write for Dow Jones Newswires and the Wall Street Journal. Her work is now regularly published in top fashion publications NOWFASHION and WWD.

MILAN, ITALY – It’s a hard business. Everything from commodity prices to flying nuclear war threats can send fashion stocks and businesses on a downward plunge in two shakes of a lambs tail. If there is one thing we have learned since Sept. 11th, fashion is constantly on the throes of change.

Take a look at the ready to wear shows, where two antiquated forces — journalists and buyers — are fighting to maintain their domination over the fashion ring. Over the past five years, online retail has chipped away at the future of physical stores. The latest bastion to fall: Colette in Paris, was not only a trusted name in the industry, its buyers trailblazer trends and were reputable voice in our field. Other names like 10 Corso Como continue to fight for their survival in a world where expansion is crucial. Elsewhere, retail chains are shuttering their doors and top buyers are clinging to their jobs.

In an age of virtual reality and social media fashion shows, where is the future of fashion going?

Fairplay’s editor in chief chatted with Riccardo Grassi, one of the world’s most prominent showroom owners and purveyors of cool, about the future of the fashion show and how major game changers like the threat of nuclear war and the sustainability challenge are impacting our industry:

It’s a strange moment, geopolitically speaking. Let’s take Seoul for example. Do you think recent threats from the North will put a kink in expansion plans there?

It’s still coming along really well, there’s a bit of fear. The Chinese market is also stabilizing, that’s slowly growing in terms of chic multibrands… it’s maturing. And then there’s a worldwide growth of online shopping, that’s upsetting the in-store sales. There’s a great difference between the younger customer that mostly buys online and the adults, like me, who still go to stores. There’s still a step, a dangerous but stimulating step, because at the moment there are so many new countries like Russia, the Middle East, that have a desire to invest in new retail concepts. They’re very open to new designers, not only the big brands.

To discover new brands, do you go to fairs?

No, I go on online forums or through my retailers, who maybe discover new brands, and then I inform myself through my young staff who all give me suggestions. I also travel around the world a lot.

Sustainably has been a huge challenge for our Italian brands. Do you see the brands you work with, embracing this change?

Some people. But let me be honest with you… as a stimulus to sales, sustainable fashion is not pretty. It’s wonderful when you create beautiful things, and when you do it in a sustainable manner even better. Sustainable doesn’t necessarily guarantee sales.

Why?

Because you need aesthetics. Fashion is fashion.

So, we’re still not at the point where we can create beautiful yet sustainable?

It’s starting. This year I see a sustainable collection from one of my brands, Mother of Pearl. I had to do many tests in order to create it, but I must say everything is very beautiful. They did the normal collection with eco-sustainable fabrics.

Let’s talk about fashion shows. We are still seeing journalists on one side and buyers on the other…

Every time there are less and less buyers.

Right, but also less journalists.

Well, that because the press cuts back on costs.

What, in your opinion, will become of fashion shows?

At the moment, there still isn’t anything that can replace the fashion shows.

Maybe on a digital platform?

They’ve tried and it doesn’t work. In the end, the fashion show is the best place to publicize, create content for later use on social media and digital. In the end, with just one show you can have a lot of digital content. So for now, there’s no replacement for the fashion show.

   

 



Sofia Celeste
FAIRPLAY Editor-in-Chief

When she is not hunting down the latest in tech and fashion, Sofia Celeste is scouting artisan talent for her online magazine bacoluxury.com. Born in the US and raised on the Pacific Island of Guam, she went on to write for Dow Jones Newswires and the Wall Street Journal. Her work is now regularly published in top fashion publications NOWFASHION and WWD.

 

Photo: THE IMPRESSION

 

Photo: THE IMPRESSION

Read also...

Fashwell: Fashion's Visual Search Engine

Fairplay in NYC:
Inside The Met's "Heavenly Bodies" Exhibit

Nash Grier Opens Up About His Social Media Success

Stella McCartney Talks About Going Totally Sustainable