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The Great Controversy: Luxury Designers Play Musical Chairs

The Serial Shopper

The Serial Shopper is Salute Magazine’s weekly column authored by Fashion Editor Money Jensen. The Serial Shopper is a weekly look into the mind of our quirky and eclectic Fashion Editor and her thoughts on the state of the fashion industry, fashion influencers, and controversial topics within.

Over the past few years, there have been significant shifts of change in the industry. Designer after designer has been shifted from house to house like wayward foster children. Lucinda Chambers former Editor at British Vogue may have answered our question of why luxury designers have been playing “musical chairs.”

Now that all of the huff and fluff of Men’s Fashion Week and Couture Fashion Week are over, the dust is settling on what might become one of the biggest stories in fashion. British Vogue Editor Lucinda Chambers (pictured below) was fired by the incoming Editor in Chief of British Vogue Edward Enninful.

Photo Credit: Nick Harvey/WireImage

Photo Credit: Nick Harvey/WireImage

In an interview with Anja Aronowsky Cronberg for Vestoj magazine, Chambers spoke out about the industry, her firing, and the state of British Vogue after her 25-year tenure there. While reading her opinion of the state of the industry, one particular passage stood out.

“The rise of the high street has put new expectations on big companies like LVMH. Businessmen are trying to get their creatives to behave in a businesslike way; everyone wants more and more, faster and faster. Big companies demand so much more from their designers – we’ve seen the casualties. It’s really hard. Those designers are going to have drink problems, they’re going to have drug problems. They’re going to have nervous breakdowns. It’s too much to ask a designer to do eight, or in some cases sixteen, collections a year. The designers do it, but they do it badly – and then they’re out. They fail in a very public way. How do you then get the confidence to say I will go back in and do it again?”

Creative minds are often spontaneous, reclusive, and insatiable. But, when they are constrained, the light tends to go out. Ms. Chambers may have made an obvious point; are these brilliant designers being pushed too far? Is the pressure to create so much, so quickly burning out their light?

So many designers have struggled and shuffled from one house to another over the past several years, that if you don’t keep up, it can make your head hurt. Some even left huge elite brands to pursue their own personal brands in what may have seemed the most peculiar times. Alexander Wang left Balenciaga to focus on his namesake, while Raf Simons did the same when leaving Dior.

Fashion is a business; there is no denying that. This 3 Trillion dollar industry that employs over 57 million people worldwide is a powerhouse and those who control that power never like to lose. Chambers alluded to advertisers ruling the industry citing a photo shoot she did for Vogue last June when Alexa Chung (pictured below) was photographed wearing a Michael Kors T-shirt as being a “crappy” spread.

“The June cover with Alexa Chung in a stupid Michael Kors T-shirt is crap. He’s a big advertiser so I knew why I had to do it. I knew it was cheesy when I was doing it, and I did it anyway. “

All of this being said, it is no wonder that designers are leaving larger houses to recapture their creative freedoms. In this industry that is gilded with gold, there can be nothing to buy but sadly revised versions of great designs of past if the real artists of the fashion world are snuffed out due to impatience.

Designers and stylists are artists at hand and at heart, to constrict and cage them for the sake of the almighty dollar is to lose the fire that caused their work to be noticed in the first place. It is a disservice to the artists as well as the industry.

Where do we go in an industry of art when the designers have lost their vision?

Watch: “In Conversation with Lucinda Chambers” via Sapphires Model and Artist Management

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