Pierpaolo Piccioli announced departure from Valentino

Fashion Industry: Financial Gain at the Expense of Creative Vision

Seismic news rocked the fashion industry: Pierpaolo Piccioli, the creative force behind Valentino, has announced his departure. This startling development prompts us to question, even further, the essence of fashion itself.

Piccioli’s sole leadership modernised Valentino with unparalleled and undeniable beauty. His visionary approach to fashion exuded poetic elegance, expressed through magnificent couture pieces. Also, he championed inclusivity and diversity, embodying a powerful political stance

PP Piccioli: an exception in the fashion industry

However, Piccioli has been an exception in fashion: he’s been the only designer who has fully respected the Maison’s DNA he designed for. (We wrote about it here). Very few others have shown such humble respect for the founder. In fact, Mr Valentino’s own words after the announcement sum it up perfectly: 

“Thank you, @pppiccioli, first and foremost, for your friendship, respect, and support.
You’re the only designer I know who hasn’t tried to distort the codes of a major brand by imposing new ones and the megalomania of a ridiculous ego. “

Mr Valentino via Instagram

Mr. Valentino’s insights shed light on the contemporary approach of creative directors in their roles. The presumed objective is to revitalise the brand’s image, infusing it with modernity. However, lacking humility or reverence, many creative directors recklessly discard past achievements. More often than not, this results in designs devoid of beauty or purpose, merely serving marketing interests. In other words, the fashion industry is all about financial gain at the expense of creativity and consistency.

It’s undeniable that the luxury sector is experiencing a slowdown. But it’s crucial to recognize that creative designers don’t have a magic wand. Moreover, no other designer can uphold Valentino’s legacy to the extent that Piccioli has thus far.

Financial gain vs creativity and consistency

Indeed, it’s disconcerting how the fashion industry incessantly targets younger generations. The reality is, most young people cannot afford a 2,200 euro mini dress! So, this prompts reflection on whether the true essence of design has shifted towards more accessible items. Should we expect fashion Maisons to sell logoed baseball caps?

Should we anticipate another ‘Balenciagan’ spectacle? Or a new lace & blossom Alessandro Michele’s Gucci style? These are just a couple of examples of larger-than-life egos in the industry. Alessandro Michele’s radical transformation of Gucci begs some questions. After he killed Gucci’s heritage, will the Maison ever regain its credibility? And does it make any sense to risk a similar fate for Valentino?


In conclusion, Pierpaolo Piccioli announced his departure from Valentino, leaving many perplexed. Beyond expressing admiration for the immense beauty that he has brought to the forefront over the years, we struggle to grasp the underlying rationale. Or, perhaps, we understand it all too well. But we are fed up with that game.

We invite you to share your thoughts in the comments below!

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Fashion Creative Roots

The Significance of Creativity for the Fashion Industry

In the wake of Giancarlo Giammetti’s observations, the discourse around fashion creative roots gains further depth when considering the overarching exits of industry creative giants like Martin Margiela, Helmut Lang, and the perspectives of Akira Onokuza, the mind behind Zucca. Their departures were not only about individual choices but symbolic of a larger shift in the fashion paradigm. Specifically, the industry moved from creativity to financial metrics.

Creativity & the current fashion industry:

1. Financial Focus versus Creativity: 

Put into perspective, Martin Margiela, Akira Onozuka, or Helmut Lang’s exits resonate with Giammetti’s comments. Their departures from the industry were not merely personal decisions but reflections of a system that prioritises sales forecasts and mass production over artistic expression and innovation. This departure of creative visionaries underscores the broader trend affecting the industry’s core.

2. Consequences of Overproduction: 

Akira Onokuza’s statement to Brutus Japan in 2021 about pervasive overproduction: “People are overproducing anything and everything,” further accentuates the problem. In fact, the industry’s obsession with churning out excessive quantities, fueled by consumerism, has led to environmental degradation and a devaluation of creativity in the pursuit of profit margins.

3. Reinforcing the Commitment to Change: 

These departures and insights reinforce our conviction that the fashion system must undergo a radical reevaluation. By advocating for limited production, emphasising quality craftsmanship, and prioritising sustainability, we stand with industry leaders who focus on creativity and conscientious consumption.

Creative essence: the core of fashion

In short, the departure of iconic designers and industry voices like Martin Margiela, Helmut Lang, and Akira Onokuza (to mention some of the true geniuses) serve as poignant reminders of the urgent need to shift the fashion industry’s focus. By staying steadfast in our commitment to a redefined value on creativity, craftsmanship, and sustainability, we aim to contribute to the revival of a meaningful fashion.

As fashion strayed from its creative origins, its essence eroded into a pursuit solely driven by financial gain. Therefore, restoring a connection with creativity, its core – is the first step toward achieving sustainability. Only through the reclamation of its creative roots will the fashion industry find purpose and direction.

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Production chains impasse

The urgency to make a change

Production chains have been disrupted first by the pandemic and second by the war in Ukraine. Which, unfortunately, doesn’t seem to have a short term solution.

And so, the question arises about how to reorganise the production system in a new sustainable way.

The most striking point is that the western world is set up only for consuming goods produced in countries where wages are below the standards which would allow a decent life. That is a dead-end system: corporations will never renounce that magnificent cake which secures their profits. At the same time, everyone worldwide contributes to sustaining that system by overconsuming goods.

With a complete lack of vision, most companies hope to get back to normal soon, identifying that normal with the pre-pandemic and prewar structure. But the war and the new outbreak in China added more problems, further slowing raw material supplies and destroying markets. So it just got worse. While disrupting production chains, those catastrophic events are bringing in radical changes. And maybe, even those companies who prayed for “back to normal” will understand that life will never be the same, nor will production chains.

Production chains – What are the possibilities?

Small-sized companies offering local productions are more prone to change and more adaptable to new situations. The big chains don’t have this ability to change and adapt quickly.
Artisanal should be the new normal, guided by the principle of going ahead with production only when there is a commitment to purchase. No overproduction.
Also, more focused production would give space to creativity, which is fundamental to conceiving meaningful products, goods made to last and worth buying.

Small, artisanal and creative are just some of the elements that provide a thoughtful and sustainable business model.

Of course, being creative means taking risks, so no one wants to do it because there’s no guarantee of success. But the catastrophic events we are witnessing tell us that we must change now.
In order to provide sustainable production chains, we need people leading the industries with innovative visions based on ethical principles.

Taking risks is part of the game. There’s no other way to make a change.

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Smells like marketing

Fashion smells like marketing. Not creativity. Marketing.
It’s embedded into the product, making everything look the same. Brands united by a flat cloying language.

It would be interesting to understand why designers do everything except what they are supposed to do: create beautiful clothes. There must be a reason for it.

After the fashion weeks, the Gucci Love Parade in Hollywood was yet another weird event, representing the many futile proclamations navigating the sea of marketing.

Some designers want to ban leather; if not that they’ve always used synthetic materials to make their accessories (which is worse). Some others became a B-Corp but lost the beauty of their collections. Others tell us to buy vintage instead of new clothes. Maybe those proposals have to do with a sustainable lifestyle, blindly giving the benefit of the doubt. But, leave good design aside.

Designers forget the purpose of their role.
Instead of doing their job – making beautiful clothes – they suggest alternative lifestyle strategies.

Marketing and the purpose of a fashion brand

If you are a designer, you should have a vision and express it through your creativity. That is an opportunity to trace new pathways, inspiring others. But the issue is that clothes have no point anymore.
The design is not the focus of a collection, the chit-chat that surrounds them is.

Well, designers, the viable idea is to make much smaller collections. Reduce – a lot – the number of pieces and create a timeless aesthetic.

But please, put your creativity to work and make curated creations that reflect your visions.
We appreciate your lifestyle suggestions, but creativity is what we expect from you. All the other proposals have to come along with it. Otherwise, it seems like you have no ideas except marketing claims.

Wittgenstein said that “ethics and aesthetics are one.”

In the latest fashion proposals, apart from the questionable aesthetics, the supposed ethics smell like marketing. Just empty claims!

You can hire marketing gurus. But new ideas and creative designs are hard to find!

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What if I don’t have money?

What if I don’t have money? This is a question we are asked frequently, from young people and those who don’t have much money to buy quality clothes but want to change their lifestyle, cutting out fast fashion. What can they do? What are the options?

This is a topic we have explored and discussed many times with our community. We know about the reality, the tough times we are experiencing all over the world. Also, we are all in the same boat, so we have to find solutions together. Uplifting the lifestyle of our community is a crucial step.

First of all, we believe it is a matter of educating ourselves to consume differently, a conscious choice on our part. And there are things we can do, which perhaps require a little creativity.

No money, but much style

When we were young, we used to transform our clothes. For instance, we used to take a pair of denim jeans and unseam the legs. Then, give them the shape of a maxi skirt with a front or back slit, and resew. Same procedure for the short skirt version.
Grandma’s white linen slip-dress worn with a belt and a nice cardi became a summer dress. Don’t forget vintage ties! They can be cool belts. Training yourself to see and wear items in a different context is just a game of fantasy and style. So, open your family closets and play!

Vintage pieces are the perfect timeless choice. Investing in some good vintage pieces should be on top of your list. We just want to clarify what we mean by vintage: clothes coming from past years or decades. When we see second-hand fast fashion clothes sold as vintage on some resell platforms, we cry. That is not vintage! Vintage has a quality that lasts for decades, not what fast-fashion can offer!

How to build a timeless wardrobe

This is our advice to avoid the look of a character who jumped out of Grease. We would suggest buying only two new quality pieces, one top – one bottom, and mix them with the vintage. In this way, your outfits will be modern and unique.
Timeless quality items will stay with you for a very long time. If you can, just add two more the following season and keep on mixing the new ones with the vintage. The ability to mix, by the way, is the fun side of fashion and the true essence of style.

So, replying to question: What if I don’t have money? Instead of eating up whatever brands make with the sole intention of making us over consume, by using a little creativity we can update our clothes. Give them a new life and mix them in a new way. We can renew our wardrobe even with a limited budget.

We are grateful for the quality of our interactions that keep the discussion alive. Thank you, community!

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