Do we need new designers? Making fashion in the times of fast fashion and the mass market

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Corrado Manenti
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Do we need emerging designers in 2022? When the whole world revolves around fast fashion and the mass market is there still room for those who want to start NOW?

Italy has always been considered the home of new fashion designers, and although there are many fashion schools, academies that each year give birth to new designers, new professionals in fashion few manage to find their way.

Every now and then we are surprised to realise how few emerging brands and young independent designers there are which decide to make something of their own and which (unfortunately) never make it to market.

In fact, we hardly ever see emerging brands made by young Italians on the shelves of shops and boutiques.

Equally incredible is the fact that: if we think about our wardrobe, what we wear, most part of the garments we own are not produced in Italy.

So someone else is doing fashion instead of uson the other side of the world no matter how much we are told that the "made in Italy'. is the most loved and sought-after brand in the world.

If you don't know me yet, let me introduce myself! 

I am Corrado Manenti and for the last twelve years of my career I have been involved on a daily basis in helping emerging designers and anyone who wants to create and realise something of their own in fashion to make it happen.

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If we think of fashion, we have two main realities:

One is that of the big brands most similar to Couture that we see at fashion shows, which then give 'cascading' trends that go on to influence the whole other world of fashion that is            what lies beneath.

And then the other very big market that we are consumers most of the time is the mass market, the fast fashion that we could summarise as Zara, Primark and so on.

Then there is an intermediate level made up of big brands with their own distribution and less big independent designers who just make fashion in an alternative way.

If you decide to make something of your own and want to develop an idea, turn it into a collection and encapsulate it within a brand, you need to know exactly which strategy can work even in a small way.

Not everyone is fortunate enough to have large funds to invest.

And secondly in fashion it is a very complex environment, with so many interlocutors, where what rewards is teamwork between the various professionals you have to have a precise path that takes you from your idea to the market.

One of my skills when working with a client is as a brand designer. I deal with precisely studying the architecture of business, of what then becomes a brand in fashion. 

It is indeed important to understand how fashion, clothes, do not just exist because they are beautiful and because they have been made by a designer.

But that this is the result of work that is precisely legitimised by what the brand is that represents what the designer is as a stylistic code, but also as values and that he carries forward over the years.

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The Brand is not just the logo or the graphic elements on our products but the set of all tangible and intangible attributes.

Obviously, if we think of the big brands, they have a history many times longer than 50 to 100 years, which precisely can legitimise their market positioning and the price of their products. Starting with the figure of the founder precisely, who has a mythical role.

The founder is someone who has imprinted the collection with the genetic code of the brand and all those elements that have brought it success and which the designers who took over the art direction in later years carried on.

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The Stylist as Founder plays a mythical role in the history of all great brands! In the picture taken from my book all the greatest Italian fashion designers

So famous brands on the market have a historicity that obviously, if we want to start building something from today, we cannot use to build our authority. Because then, in practice, what is this authoritativeness of ours? Why is it so important? Because it determines our positioning.

When we come to market with our product, at what price will we sell it? Or rather what price will the customer be willing to pay for what we are offering? Will our story, our images, our buying experience justify that price?

And it is that's why we need a brand.

It is not enough to create a collection. The brand is something you carry with you over time and if you are good at communicating and increasing the value of your brand by gaining more and more exposure and selling products you can over time increase its value and with it the value of your products will also increase, hence the price you can offer it to the market.

The first big consideration that we have to make that applies to fashion, but we are not just talking about something to wear, it could also be the accessory.

This talk I'm giving you is good no matter what type of product you want to create, because there are universal components that go into building a product.

We have on the one hand the product, which is therefore something concrete. It is something with attributes, with materials, with a certain style.

And then we have something intangible, which is the world around the product, which is governed precisely by psychology, by the expectations we have of the product and the stories we have heard or read about that product that someone has told us.

So you will understand well how building a product is not just about creating something very beautiful, but necessarily involves knowing what those attributes are, that world around the product and making it meaningful.

 
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Every garment we buy

It has a precise symbolic meaning and a precise purpose or occasion for which we bought it

In fact, when we go shopping, if you think about it, it's not that we go shopping for clothes to cover ourselves. It is not that our primary need is to have something to wear to protect ourselves from the weather, from insects, from anything.

We go and buy objects full of meaning. Unless we are buying something basic such as underwear or a T-shirt to sleep in at night.

We are not buying something that we need, but we are buying something to which we attach a specific meaning, and so buying that garment is no longer something we find at the market or in a discount store.

We project in our minds already the occasion, the function for which we will then use it. And this is very important, especially when we are then on the other side of the fence and therefore we have the brand.

Therefore, when you want to build a product, it is important that you have it in mind:

  • What are these values?

  • Why should it be relevant to people?

    But the other big absolute consideration, which is fundamental to the basis of all products that we do not make products for everyone, you cannot make a product that everyone likes or dislikes.

On the one hand it is good, on the other hand we also have to admit that we have to build products knowing our target market, knowing who our future users and customers will be.

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So people willing to put an economic value on and pay for what we dogiving them a value in money and thus they will be users and customers of our brand.

That we should also make them fans of our brand, followers of our brand. They should be enthusiastic that they chose us over many other brands, so the basics and in fashion.

There are already many fashion schools in Italy and we are considered worldwide to be the country, even perhaps more so than France, which is regarded as the home of haute couture, where fashion was truly born.

Fashion was born in France, it was not born in Italy. Italy, however, thanks to the designers, starting in the 60s, 70s, 80s, we were able to create a way of doing fashion that was recognised all over the world, which in fact took Italy from being a place, where it was famous for art and other things, to being the place where fashion is felt more as 'fashionable', as something that drastically influences what happens all over the world.

So on the one hand we as Italians need to produce new designers, and I hope that you can be one of these new designers, because otherwise we risk giving our know-how, our skills, our ideas to someone else who produces, even claiming to be made in Italy. But when in reality there is very little that is made in Italy!

On the other hand, fashion schools churn out a lot of designers who somehow do not want to make something of their own in the end, but perhaps get incorporated into the fashion system by going to work for others.

And that is a bit of a shame, because we either take it and admit with a bit of bitterness in our mouths that fashion is now built by fast fashion, so there is nothing we can do about it.

We have Inditex groups, Zara rather than all the others that are so powerful that they influence and influence the market, of course.

Because whereas once upon a time fashion was only influenced from the top down and had timelines, now it has become much faster and is also influenced from the bottom up.

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Streetwear style has also influenced some luxury brands from the bottom up. Iconic collaborations between Supreme and Luis Vuitton, for example.

A system like that of Zara, with the collections having a two-week rotation and so on.

It can predict then interpret a trend that sees on the market coming from a TV series rather than something happening in the world and be on the market a month later even faster.

Obviously the inspiration of the big macro trends has nothing to do here. It is a different analysis, demographic, anthropological, which is very effective.

CONCLUSION:

But we either admit that there is nothing we can do about it, that fast fashion has won, that fashion made elsewhere, fashion let's call it low cost, regardless of quality, has won.

Or we have the right and the duty, as aspiring designers and creatives, to do our part and try to create something of our own.

Did you like this article? Leave me a comment below and share it on your social networks with everyone who might appreciate it! That's all from Corrado! See you next article!

 
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