to fashion designers everywhere:

last time we talked about the troubles of fashion design in china. now, let’s look at the universal problems of fashion design in the world.

charles frederick worth is widely considered to be the first designer to have his label sewn onto his garments in the late 1800’s. that means the existence of fashion designers are only about 100 years old. it is not inconceivable that fashion designers could be rendered obsolete in our lifetime, much like a typesetter or a bus ticket collector. at the very least, the relevance is being lessened by the modern phenomenon of celebrity; lindsay lohan is in charge of emanuel ungaro (anyone really believe the spanish designer estrella archs call the creative shots should have their heads examined). sara jessica parker is heading up the new halston heritage line in more ways than one, being the chief creative officer, as well as the president, and was given an equity stake in the company. let’s not forget about kanye west.

what should a designer do? well, i would concentrate on fashion and design. forget about marketing, the future is all about products. an identity formed by great merchandizes will stand the test of time.

for a brief period of time in ’99, i was the stylist assistant of alex white of w magazine so that i can learn a few things about the press. (i wasn’t the only one figured that out: alexander wang interned at teen vogue and thakoon panichgul was a writer for harper’s bazaar in the late 90’s.) one time, there was a mixed up for an outfit in the closet and another editor threw a fit to the point that i was yelled at by bridget foley. all i could think of was that all the new york designers’ works looked all the same. once the labels came off, there was no way i can tell which jacket is from which “big-time” designer. sure enough, i started looking for any outfit without a label and voilà i found it. that’s when i realized the important of the identity of a design house. you know that is a helmet lang, a balenciaga, or a mcqueen when you see one.

i see many newcomers with whole collections and their fashion shows. first, it is a waste of their limited resources – most of them will run out of energy with the shows and have nothing left for sales, marketing and logistics, stuffs that actually support a business. second, times are different now. renaissance men belong to…. the renaissance. what is needed now is expertise. for watches? rolex. for leather accessories? hermes. for trench? burburry.

a good example is aitor throup. he is a known designer worked with c.p. company on the updated mille miglia jacket and with umbro on new soccer outfits. but for his own debut collection this season, it is only about the “legs” – 38 pairs of trousers were dressed on carefully crafted sculptures and suspended from the ceiling in a gallery space in paris. by concentrating on pants, he is saying more about the contemporary menswear than the lv men show by his expertise on structure and process.

let your works speak for yourself.

(first published in the mar. 2010 issue of his life magazine)



1800年末,charles frederick worth被认为是第一位把品牌商标缝制在自己服装上的设计师。换句话说,服装设计品牌的存在只有100多年。大胆的说,在我们的有生之年,服装设计师这个概念的存在会过时甚至被代替也不奇怪,就好比一位排字工人或公交车收票员慢慢地在被淘汰。明星的存在逐渐的在减弱设计师的重要性就证明了这一点。lindsay lohan在负责服装品牌emanuel ungaro的设计(西班牙设计师estrella archs早已不再发号施令)。sara jessica parker在率领halston heritage系列的每一个环节,她不但是主设计师也担任了总经理的位置,同时拥有该公司的股权。我们也别忘了kanye west。


在1999年的短暂的一段时间里,我曾经为《w》杂志的alex white当过时装助理,为了近一步了解媒体的运转(我不是唯一有这念头的人:alexander wang曾经在《teen vogue》作过实习生,thakoon panichgul也曾在90年代末给《harper’s bazaar》写过稿子)。还记得有一次在拍摄现场上出现了服装上的混乱,bridget foley冲着我骂了起来。当时我脑子里只能想的是纽约设计师的作品看上去全一模一样。一但把品牌的商标撤下来,我无法识别哪一件夹克是哪一位大师的作品。我翻来覆去地去找没有商标的衣服,果然找到了那件夹克。这让我领悟到,一个设计团体拥有着独自代表性的风格是件多么重要的事情。一眼看到你就知道那是helmet lang、balenciaga或mcqueen。


设计师aitor throup就是一个很好的例子。他曾经设计过c.p. company的mille miglia夹克和umbro的足球服装系列。至于他自己首次亮相的服装系列,称为“褪”系列——38条裤子被穿在精心打造过的雕塑上面,并由绳索悬空垂钓着在巴黎的一个艺术廊里。把注意力完全聚集在裤子上,比起lv的男装秀,他更能从结构和工艺的专业角度上体现出当代男装的核心。

(第一次发表: 2010年3月 他的生活杂志. 翻译: joe wang.)

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