NYFW Briefing: Designers Struggle to Balance Creation and Commercialization

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If NYFW designer Tia Adeola were successful, she would be a full-time couture designer. But currently, her business is 100% based on selling ready-to-wear, including $200 dresses, $300 jumpsuits and $60 t-shirts. “I have to make sales, so I have to survive on e-commerce,” she told me on Zoom on Tuesday, three days before her runway show at New York’s Hudson Yards last night.

In conversations with Glossy all week, the designers referenced their increased prioritization of clothes that sell. With consumer discretionary spending down in a turbulent economic climate, it’s no surprise that brands are leaning into blue chip stocks. At the same time, the designers also talked about how they manage to bring fashion to life with a capital ‘F’, whether it’s through their style, tiered or diverse product lines, or an established community that supports them. against all odds.

For its part, Adeola’s Spring 2023 collection which debuted on Friday evening proved that it continues to work towards its work goal. It is largely inspired by the career of Thierry Mugler, the French couturier who died in January.

After first attracting buzz by dressing Gigi Hadid in a crop top in 2018 and introducing a runway collection under the Slashed by Tia label in late 2019, Adeola has become well known to celebrities and Gen Z for her designs. in organza, ruffled and transparent. In 2020, her brand experienced a “pandemic renaissance”, she said, and she changed its name to her own, to reflect an elevated aesthetic. Going further in that direction, the collection that debuted on Friday is “more structured” than those of the past, she said. Indeed, ruffles are part of it, but also pants and rigid corsets.

The runway featured “a mix, a good balance” of commercial and “luxury” pieces,” she said. Regarding the latter, she added, “I have to stay true to my long-term goal.”

In Adeola’s eyes, couture pieces are those that don’t sacrifice quality to keep costs down. “They use 100% silk, versus 50% [silk] mixed with something else,” she said. “And if you’re going to use pearls, you’re going to use real pearls. Everything is the best [available].”

Currently, the production of its seasonal parade is struggling to provide the creative outlet that Adeola needs. “Those 10 minutes is when I can bring my audience and clients into my world, and immerse them in my vision and what’s going on in my mind.” A dance performance kicked off Adeola’s show on Friday, and dramatic styling (floor braids, butterfly pasties) and props (long-stemmed red roses) were incorporated.

This next-level focus on the details of its shows is also inspired by Mugler. “He was a classically trained dancer, and there were all these elements that he always added to his shows,” she said. For her part, Adeola studied acting in London, her PR rep told me before Adeola joined our call.

“[Mugler’s] death shook me; it made me ask myself a lot of questions, as a designer,” said Adeola. “We just lost one of our greats, and it’s up to people like me to keep couture alive.”

As he welcomed visitors to his room in the Revolve Gallery pop-up experience on Thursday, designer Michael Costello said he had no trouble driving sales while pushing the boundaries of fashion. The reason: its ongoing collaboration with e-tailer Revolve allows it to have the best of both worlds. Michael Costello x Revolve launched five years ago and has become one of Revolve’s best-selling brands, he said. While the collection’s ready-to-wear pieces sell for an average of $250 to $300, the custom pieces the designer creates for Lady Gaga and Beyonce sell in the thousands.

“People want to be able to get the clothes they see on Instagram, and they don’t want to spend a lot of money on it,” he said, describing Michael Costello x Revolve as “quality fashion at affordable prices. “.

Meanwhile, Pamella Roland, who will host a runway show for her 20-year-old eponymous label on Monday, said her creative energy is fueled by her customers, ensuring her shopper is always on board.

“When we start each collection, we keep in mind what our customers will want and need, and we grow and evolve with them,” she said. “They know what to expect from us, even as we explore new silhouettes and techniques. And they’re fearless; they take risks, so we never feel like we’re sacrificing creativity.”

Thursday afternoon at the Crosby Street Hotel, I met Andrea O’Donnell, appointed CEO of Everlane late last year, who had a unique perspective on what sells and what is “Fashion “. Based in San Francisco, she was in New York to present to the press the inaugural iteration of her Everlane Editions capsule collection concept, dubbed “The Power of 10”. It’s made up of wardrobe staples meant to be worn over and over, inspired by the brand’s focus on sustainability, as well as the statistic that Americans only wear 10% of their wardrobe. .

As herself loves “a bit of jazz in an outfit”, O’Donnell pointed to the difficulty and “contradiction” of trying to both cater to today’s conscious consumers and keep shoppers inspired. .

“It’s something we talk about all the time in the business,” she said.

So far, storytelling has been key to finding the right balance, she said. It also helped that she hired two creative directors who are on opposite sides of the style spectrum. Shu Hung, with experience at Nike and Uniqlo, is “more about the basics, the superhero pieces” that Everlane has become a staple for. Meanwhile, creative director Mathilde Mader, who has worked with Kim Jones and at Marni, comes with “a really strong fashion sense,” she said. Together, they find a happy medium.

“Nobody needs more stuff,” she said. But at the same time, she noted, “beautiful things are important.”

The State of Waist Inclusion at NYFW

Inclusive sizing is a hot topic this week, and every NYFW. On Wednesday, SimonMiller showcased a shoe collaboration with actress Tommy Dorfman centered around the brand’s classic styles in limited colorways and extended sizes, up to US size 15. And in the Collina Strada show notes on Friday , the brand has announced a new collaboration with Unspun Denim, facilitating tailored jeans “in every size.” And announcements of launches offering enlarged sizes continue to roll out.

“The fashion industry has long set cultural standards of beauty that, until recently, were incredibly exclusive and did not reflect the reality of the world we live in. … Consumers expect progress, and the The fashion industry is only moving towards inclusivity,” said Polina Veksler, co-founder and CEO of Universal Standard, which offers clothing in sizes 00-40.

She added, “New York Fashion Week is the pinnacle of design art — consumers pay attention and hold designers accountable. This is an opportunity for designers to let everyone know, “We see you, we like you. … Designers make efforts [toward inclusivity] are now the ones who will occupy a unique position as leaders in the years to come.

Cited

“Thakoon, at its core, is a mixture of tomboy and femininity. In this iteration of Thakoon, I focus on these two qualities. –Thakoon Panichgul, pointing to his Spring 2023 collection, which incorporates a button-up to highlight the midriff and henley turtlenecks in a lightweight, sheer fabric

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