Is High-End Fashion Dying?

According to the experts, it is.

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High End Fashion

Fashion, for the average person, has become somewhat exhausting to keep up with. There are, what seems like, a dozen fashion weeks bi-annually. With fast fashion and social media on the rise, there’s a new demand in the market placing pressure on high-end brands.

Multiple industry professionals have expressed their distraught, and declared fashion to be dead. Li Edelkoort, a trend forecaster, accused the industry of becoming “a ridiculous and pathetic parody of what it has been”. But are the experts being too dramatic?

A concoction of social media and the growing popularity of fast fashion brands has created a production model and prices that high-end fashion has been struggling to compete with.

Brands like Michael Kors, Burberry and Tommy Hilfiger have had to adapt to a ‘see now/buy now’ model. This initially means that instead of the traditional six months it’s typically taken for collections to hit stores, customers can now shop immediately after the runway shows.

With Instagram and SnapChat live-streams documenting shows in real time, the brands can no longer afford to wait too long. In that half-year, fast fashion brands would have already sold similar items for several months and the trend would be irrelevant even before the original is up for sale.

Additionally, two fashion seasons just isn’t enough to keep up with the frequency of new trends constantly appearing on social media.

This has led to what Li Edelkoort and others see as fashion loosing its meaning, its sense of history and that clothes are now merely created to meet a massive demand.

But the truth is, designer brands are still producing strong concepts and quality clothes. Change isn’t synonymous with death. Like most fields of trade, it needs to be in constant motion to keep up with new technology and other industries. It is inevitable and a part of life.

We saw it in the print industry, when the information became accessible for free online. They told us print was a dying art, but newspapers and magazines keep creating content decades after their death sentence.

The same goes for fashion, it is just shifting form. It’s time to come to terms with this and acknowledge the ongoing relevance and impact of the industry, despite its drastic changes over the years.