LONDON, United Kingdom — BoF started the week with a provocative question: “Is there a fashion-tech bubble?” The first responses came from a group of highly-regarded investors and entrepreneurs, followed by a stream of comments and conversation in social media. While the verdict was split, everyone seemed to agree that the fashion-tech space is at a critical inflection point and a shake-out is separating the sustainable brands and businesses from the also-rans.
Another topic that has consistently provoked much debate amongst our community is fast fashion. In a strongly worded Op-Ed piece, our friend Liroy Choufan in Tel Aviv took a contrarian position on the so-called democratisation of fashion, which has made high-fashion styles available to the masses. But at what cost? Mr Choufan says that “the needs, desires and intentions regarding clothing, or designer creations, have become important pieces of legislation in the false democracy of fashion, evolving at dizzying speeds and enlisting an army of fools.”
Later in the week, we explored the widespread influence of Phoebe Philo at Céline. The distinctive, wing-shaped totes and bags from her accessories collection seem to have inspired countless imitators, just as her stark modern minimalism seemed to cleanse the collective fashion palate when she first took the reins at Céline in 2008. But with wider distribution in the plans and growing awareness of Céline amongst the fashion masses, will Ms Philo be able to maintain her elite, exclusive positioning? Linda Fargo, the highly-respected fashion director of New York’s landmark department store Bergdorf Goodman, thinks so. She called the brand the “modern-day equivalent of the standard bearer of non-perishable luxury: Hermès.” That’s high praise for a brand that was completely off the fashion radar only a few years ago.
In other news, Dior revealed its plans to host a repeat of its Spring haute couture show in Shanghai this weekend; we spoke to Flint and Tinder founder Jake Bronstein about his company’s remarkable success on Kickstarter; and we caught up with photographer Sante D’Orazio on his plans to re-enter the fashion firmament.
And finally, Love magazine editor Katie Grand found herself in hot water this week when a fashion film seemingly inspired by prostitution, and featuring the Louis Vuitton Autumn/Winter 2013 collection, sparked a furore in France. Indeed, Dominique Attias, a leading lawyer, called the film “an extremely shocking representation of women” in the French daily newspaper Libération. Grand promptly issued a curt apology, but this does not seemed to have quelled the critics.
Have a great Easter Weekend. We’ll be back on Tuesday, bright-eyed and bushy tailed, with another week of insightful analysis on The Business of Fashion.
Imran Amed, Editor-in-Chief
Is There a Fashion Tech-Bubble?, Fashion 2.0
Fashion’s Democratic Disease, Opinion
The Wings of Céline, Intelligence
The Return of Sante D’Orazio, People
Dior Plans Encore Haute Couture Show in Shanghai, News & Analysis
Louis Vuitton Film Accused of Promoting Prostitution, Daily Digest