Why are fashion’s stars ditching big brands?
By Sara McCorquodale

2015 will forever go down in history as the year fashion’s big names quit. But why? WGSN’s senior teams shares their thoughts

Oct 29, 2015

donna karan, alexander wang, alber elbaz, raf simons

To say 2015 has been a year of exits in fashion is no exaggeration. Alexander Wang from Balenciaga, Donna Karan from Donna Karan International, Raf Simons from Christian Dior and now Alber Elbaz from Lanvin, albeit under apparent duress. 

But why are designers who helped shape fashion houses’ recent histories exiting for pastures new? Does it simply reflect a shift in working culture or is it a sign the industry has become a negative place for creative talent? WGSN’s senior team shares their views…

Entrepreneurialism is more appealing than stability
Carla Buzasi, Global Chief of Content, says: “This isn’t shocking when you consider how career paths are taking shape these days. People are continually looking for new adventures and perhaps more so in fashion. Where the goal used to be getting to the top of a huge brand, entrepreneurialism and being in control of your own destiny has such appeal now – I think that’s what designers are aspiring to.”

The demand for newness is unsustainable
Lizzy Bowring, Director of Catwalks, says: “It seems fashion has become too frenetic and you can’t continually work creatively under this pressure – there comes a point when you burn out. It’s not just in high fashion either, it’s at every level of the industry. There is a constant consumer demand to deliver newness but working at this pace and creating this output is, conversely, making things feel very stale very quickly.” 

The true customer is not the focus
Lauretta Roberts, Director of Brand and Propositions, says: “This really feels like a watershed moment and I think we need to ask ourselves how many collections a year we actually need. Production and communication in the industry are completely out of sync and this would be a good time to address that. There is a feeling designers have to create moments for Instagram instead of moments for the customer – it’s just not sustainable.”

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Why are fashion's stars ditching big brands?

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Francisco Costa exits Calvin Klein
Apr 19th, 2016

[…] been a tumultuous time for luxury fashion brands, with departures at the helm of the brands coming thick and fast, since Alexander Wang announced […]

Lanvin names Jarrar to head womenswear
Mar 11th, 2016

[…] predecessor Alber Elbaz, who oversaw Lanvin’s men’s and women’s collections, Jarrar will have sole […]

Fashion and the future part two: The magic is still in the designs
Dec 23rd, 2015

[…] Alber, Raf and Alexander have all played musical chairs– and in turn highlighted the growing pressures in the industry. Designers are coming out thick and fast declaring that the demands on their time and talents are at breaking point. […]

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