The Role of the Designer

Examining the Changing Face of Fashion

Understanding the evolving dynamics of the role of the designer is crucial for navigating industry shifts. Often, we’ve been pondering a recurring question: Does it still make sense to keep an eye on luxury brands?

The so-called but no-more-so luxury brands. Or the once esteemed but now seemingly entangled in the pursuit of profit. Therefore, they change designers for short-term profit, to the point of sacrificing their legacy. It’s a reflection that delves into the core values of an industry now seemingly driven by financial gains rather than its intrinsic essence.

In one of our most recent posts, we wrote a thought we want to repurpose here. Indeed, a significant issue that requires additional investigation. In the ever-evolving landscape of fashion, where trends shift like sand dunes in the wind, algorithms emerge as a formidable force, reshaping the industry in unprecedented ways.

Fashion designer: from skills to loudness

But what are the consequences of algorithms?
One of the consequences of this transformation is the shifting role of the brand’s central figure: the designer. Alber Elbaz’s poignant observation sheds light on this evolution:

“We designers, we started as couturiers, with dreams, with intuition. Then we became ‘creative directors’, so have to create but mostly direct. And now we have to become image-makers… Loudness is the new cool, and not only in fashion, you know. I prefer whispering.”

Alber Elbaz

Indeed, in today’s digital age, the clamour for attention on social media platforms necessitates a cacophony of noise from brands. Loudness has become the modus operandi to cut through the clutter of images inundating our feeds. In other words, social media has corrupted fashion.

Of course, recent developments follow this logic. Specifically, Maison Valentino appointed Alessandro Michele as the new creative director. That underscores the industry’s relentless pursuit of attracting young, social media-savvy audiences. And to the expenses of decades of legacy, consistency and beauty. While these individuals may possess an innate understanding of visuals, the question arises: Can they perceive the depth of quality, skills, and ability essential for authentic creative direction beyond surface aesthetics?

As we move forward in the fashion industry, it is crucial to reflect on the shift in the role of the designer. And question whether profit has eclipsed the industry’s once-revered artistic and creative integrity.

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The dropped shoulder

How shoulder construction defines the silhouette

Considering pattern design, the dropped shoulder is a construction we tend to favour.
Why? It doesn’t make you feel compressed. Moving the silhouette away from the body changes the proportion by giving a fresh, contemporary image. Moreover, this design provides a comfortable fit and an easy-to-wear versatile style. But unfortunately, some people think a drop-shoulder jacket is just a big size.

Inspiration comes from Miyake, a game-changer in fashion:

“From the beginning I thought about working with the body in movement, the space between the body and clothes. I wanted the clothes to move when people moved. The clothes are also for people to dance or laugh.”

Issey Miyake

The shape of the shoulder is an essential element as it defines the silhouette; its pattern intersects with the sleeve design, providing a functional imprint to a garment.

Dropped shoulder vs set-in sleeve: what is the difference?

The term set-in sleeve describes the armhole seam placed right on the shoulder point. On the contrary, the dropped shoulder describes sleeves where the armhole position falls on the top of the arm. But, those who don’t understand this design detail say the garment size is big.

Specifically, not sewing the sleeves of the garment at the highest point of the shoulder allows more room for movement and comfort. In fact, that pattern works particularly well for garments that require a lot of arm movement, such as coats, jackets, blousons, sweaters and t-shirts.

A set-in sleeve offers a more formal, professional look. However, it really depends on how you put together your clothes. In other words, it depends on the occasion, your usual style, and how curious you are to try something that makes your body feel less compressed.

The proportion of the drop-shoulder garment creates a modern balance of volume when paired with slim-fit trousers or skirts. But even a full boyfriend silhouette looks cool.

Drop shoulder pieces tend to be oversized, so they are way more comfortable and look good on everyone. Furthermore, they’re versatile, meaning you can dress them up or down, depending on the occasion.

On a last note, the dropped shoulder works well for the layering style, which offers the perfect solution in times of unstable weather (and climate change).

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What is fashion design today?

Sharing some thoughts on contemporary fashion design

What is fashion design today? What is it? When everything is already done and nothing new can be made? But you still happen to read news about “the one who complained the other one copied her.”

So what is it when those who started their own collection or image concept already did it by taking inspiration from others and remixing what other designers have already done! Perhaps they don’t even realise where their ideas come from.

And what is fashion design today? When contemporary creatives have no humility to say: ‘I made this’ – and this is my style because I took inspiration from this or that designer who made such a fantastic work.

What is fashion design today? If people praise the ones who complain that another designer has copied them! But for what? For flower prints? Or for flowered head decorations? Really?

Again, what is fashion design today? When everything is possible. So brands who assemble clothes as we’ve seen trillion of times, feel like the new gods of fashion.

And when inspiration and remixing have flattened the fashion industry to such a degree that everything, every brand, looks the same. And doing so has deprived fashion of its DNA, core differences and, in essence, of its meaning.

Can modern designers, creative directors and so on stay humble? If they feel copied, Mr Cristobal should resurrect and say something about endless collections made from his archive! Can people understand there is no true genius in the fashion industry nowadays?

On 14 October, in Florence, Antonio Marras arranged a show making clothes for 20 cancer patients; the defilè – “Sfilata del prendersi cura” (the show of taking care) – was a message of hope. You can watch it here. But, an Italian brand accused him of copying her.

This sterile controversy made us reflect. First, Marras’ idiosyncrasy has never been in question. Also, bravo for this caring project! In the end, what is fashion design today? It’s about copy and paste. In some cases, following a valuable guiding idea. In most cases -those who tend to complain – pointless reproductions we could avoid seeing. Moreover, it has been done so many times, that the arrogance to claim originality seems out of context.

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Back to fashion design

Were unskilled designers worth the ride?

There’s a process happening in the fashion industry, a change of direction, which takes brands back to fashion design.
What does it mean? Real fashion designers are back in charge of designing fashion brands. Wasn’t their job? Yes, of course. But the fashion industry loves insta-fluff to generate revenue. So, popularity won over skills.

But, after a decade of sportswear, big exposed logos, and poor designs, the wind is finally changing. Specifically, the heart of the matter is that celebrity designers with a pervasive social media presence and a huge following base have oversaturated the market with products. But that doesn’t sell anymore.

The sense of improvisation, lack of skills, clothes taken from thrift shops and assembled by chance, or designs clearly stolen from other designers was really too much. It has contributed to impoverishing the perception of fashion, which has become a game for clowns rather than a matter of culture.

Therefore, the vision of a creative director having more knowledge about fluff than expert hands seems over. Perhaps some fashion Maisons made a lot of money overflooding the market with pointless stuff, but they destroyed their heritage. So, were unskilled designers worth the ride?

For instance, we are curious to see what Sabato De Sarno will do with his much-awaited Gucci show. Indeed, deleting everything from Gucci’s social media account seems to be a good start to cleaning up the image.
Also, we are curious to see Phoebe Philo, known for her minimalist and timeless style, launch her namesake brand.

Fashion design: what makes the difference

Though we think contemporary fashion Maisons are not so interesting because they are just a game of finance and overproduction, we appreciate the idea of moving from big logos to skilled fashion design.

Exposed logos don’t make the difference but represent a poor idea of style, which sounds more like marketing than actual fashion knowledge.
What makes the difference is good design, pattern-making, tailoring, and craftsmanship. That is what adds value and makes garments stand out.

Ultimately, we wonder what credibility those who play these games have. Most importantly, can those who fed their clients with garbage educate their audience to something more refined?

Please don’t hesitate to share your thoughts with us! Comment below or WhatsApp directly from here!

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AI is the trend. Does it feel real?

When human creativity meets artificial intelligence

Humans, AI is the trend! Indeed, artificial intelligence is taking over the fashion industry, as any other area. But the conversation is all about highlighting how advanced and marvellous it is. Very few consider the possible risks.

And while we are here, waiting to receive the spring-summer orders and be inspired by tangible, real fashion stuff, which we will show you soon, we cannot avoid this trending topic. Indeed, some “artificial creativity” surprised us!

AI: what is it?

Artificial intelligence is a machine’s ability to display human capabilities such as reasoning, learning, planning and creativity. Specifically, the computer receives the data, processes it and responds – as in the case of ChatGPT. AI is crucial for digital transformation and certainly will bring great changes.

Though the perspective of losing the human touch is quite scary, everyone seems to prioritise the positive aspects. Of course, the fields of application are countless, and many of them are not even understandable now. And perhaps in the next future, we’ll reach a point where humans aren’t needed anymore!
Indeed, you can write blog posts, books, songs or even pass an exam with AI! Therefore, many jobs now made by humans may disappear. 

AI generated content in the fashion industry

Practical applications in the fashion field could be for customer service, stock management or market research. But we have seen beautiful fashion editorials made with ChatGPT! See the fashion concepts that Gianluca Traina, an Italian talented artist and fashion designer, made with ChatGPT. A collection and a complete fashion editorial inspired to the architecture of Samarkand.

SAMARKAND – Women’s clothing collection by Gianluca Traina

And here’s the men’s clothing collection:

Look at the colours! And the silhouettes! Gianluca Traina’s work is impressive, thought-provoking. In fact, it makes you question everything. Now seriously, do we still need fashion magazines made by professionals? Say hello to fashion editors, photographers, stylists, make-up artists, models, and so on… Well, shut down everything and say hello to humans!

But wait, will AI purchase products, too? Since it is the fashion industry’s biggest issue! And who will have the money to purchase fashion items if people will not work anymore?  

Among all the conversation around AI, Nick Cave came up with great insight, a human perspective indeed! A fan asked ChatGPT to write a song in the style of Nick Cave and then requested Cave’s feedback.
His reply, from “The Red Hand Files”, is this:

“Mark, thanks for the song, but with all the love and respect in the world, this song is bullshit, a grotesque mockery of what it is to be human, and, well, I don’t much like it — although, hang on! rereading it, there is a line in there that speaks to me —

‘I’ve got the fire of hell in my eyes’ 

— says the song ‘in the style of Nick Cave’, and that’s kind of true. I have got the fire of hell in my eyes – and it’s ChatGPT.

Love, Nick”

The Red Hand Files – Nick Cave

Will AI replace humans?

AI is the trend, and we cannot stop progress. However, despite our limits and flaws, we are creative humans. And our creativity is crucial for progress. But most importantly, creativity without the heartbeat is nothing.

And you, have you got the fire of hell in your eyes? Love it or hate it?

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