The Student News Site of Xaverian College


The Student News Site of Xaverian College


The Student News Site of Xaverian College


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March 14, 2022

The future of the most fast paced industry in commerce 

Dylan Porter

Luxury fashion has long held onto its reputation as a paragon of excellence. However, as the importance of trends and quick clicks become increasingly prevalent in the industry, has this reputation become an after-thought? It appears that in some cases yes it has. 

From Burberry to Balenciaga, these houses have been synonymised with the art of innovative textiles and iconic designs. By manipulating fabrics and taking what was once a stereotypical, or even banal, silhouette and transforming it into something spectacular, they have pushed the boundaries of fashion. 

Unfortunately, this true innovation may now only be endemic to their archives, as scandals and the power of ‘cancel culture’ have tarnished the reputation of Balenciaga, in particular. In a campaign titled ‘The Gift Shop’, photography depicting children alongside suggestive, adult themes was a stand-out feature. This rapidly sparked controversy and outrage with some critics accusing the brand of “sexualising minors”. Overnight the name of ‘Balenciaga’ had become ironically unfashionable. Kering SA (the company who own Balenciaga) saw stock values deplete from $567.40 before the campaign to $467.35 afterwards – a 17.63% decrease in just 21 days according to CNBC. 

Conversely, in the last couple of years, we have seen the rise in popularity of brands such as Bottega Venetta, and Loewe under Jonathan Anderson. However, what is interesting, is that arguably these brands, whilst unique and authentic in their designs, in their practice they appear to be replicating the success of their predecessors, such as Tom Ford and Alessandro Michele at Gucci, or Coco Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent. 

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By constructing something bold out of the boring, these new brands have made their mark on consumers and critics alike. LVMH (the French luxury company who owns brands such as Louis Vuitton and Loewe) for example, have experienced a general trend of growth since 2021 and, following the overwhelming success of Jonathan Anderson at Loewe in increasing the brands sales fivefold, this is only expected to rise. 

Sophie Porter, a sales assistant at the luxury department store – Selfridges, noticed a rise in the footfall in sections of the store containing luxury leather bags from Bottega Venetta in particular, and explained how she has “even bought one myself”. 

When considering the influence of designers, it would be criminal not to mention Alexander McQueen. Following his graduation from Central Saint Martins in 1992, McQueen launched his eponymous label to critical acclaim. With a growing portfolio at Givenchy and numerous collections showcasing his innovation, McQueen was growing with prominence and reputation. McQueen captivated the world of fashion during his Spring/Summer ’99 collection when, during the finale, supermodel Shalom Harlow was spray painted by 2 robotic arms from a car manufacturing plant. It may sound rather incongruent to a runway setting, but it was through this ground-breaking experimentation that McQueen truly immortalised himself within the erratic realms of British fashion. 

However, when it comes to a more current example of innovation, the remarkable reinvention of Louis Vuitton (under the direction of Pharell Williams) is certainly not amiss. Following Williams’ inaugural collection for the infamous brand in June 2023, where he sent models dressed in pixelated check suits with structured tailoring and clutching experimental leather bags down the runway, Louis Vuitton’s menswear has never been such a hot topic, with anticipation for his next collection this summer already amping up. 

Similarly, womenswear brand Miu Miu, a subsidiary of Prada, have seen an 89% growth in the first quarter of 2024 alone, granting them first place on The Lyst Index (a ranking of ‘fashion’s hottest brands’).  

Whilst some houses appear to be grasping on to former glory, it is clear that the future of fashion is in safe hands when brands continue to focus on an innovation in the spirit of their founders. Creativity is finally alive and well, in the most fast-paced industry in commerce. 

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  • J

    Jacqui Shirley - OrganiserMay 9, 2024 at 8:52 am

    A really interesting overview told with obvious passion

  • M

    Molly LoomsMay 8, 2024 at 6:48 am

    I love the references to different luxury brands and specifically their
    well known successes or controversies.