Among the fall capes and coats, there is one other trend that has emerged this season; designer burnout.
The departure train left the station in July when Alexander Wang announced he was leaving Balenciaga after the SS16 show in October, to focus on his own namesake label. This we took with a pinch of salt despite the fact that he was only at the luxury label for under three years. It wasn’t until Raf Simons scheduled his exit from Dior that we started to raise our perfectly filled in eyebrows.
Is designer burnout a real thing? Is the core reason creatives are struggling, and turning their backs on design simply because they are tired?
It was the fashion-trade journal WWD that first reported on Raf Simons leaving the historical, luxury label. However, conversations regarding contract-renewal were in the pipeline for a while. Sources close by admitted that there were some warning signs which highlighted just how pressurized Simons was.
In an industry where designers are expected to churn out as many as six collections a year, plus attend events, press viewings, store openings, as well as having a large presence on social media, is it any wonder that creatives are too tired to create anymore? The eventuality of being burnt out will lead to an industry where fast fashion will take over, and quality and inspiration will become secondary.
The most recent departure reported was that of Alber Elbaz from luxury French brand Lanvin, due to “disagreements” with the company’s major shareholder, Shaw-Lan Wang. After a 14 year run, Alber Elbaz chose to walk away from the brand he brought to life, as it simply wasn’t the right fit anymore. In an interview earlier on this year, with Vogue’s International Editor, Suzy Menkes, Elbaz admitted the power technology has had over fashion and how people are now more buzzed about the “next thing”, versus the tradition of fashion design. With the speed of which technology is changing, mixed with large conglomerates demanding numbers, do these designers even stand a chance?
Over the course of the last 20 years we have witnessed the evolution of designers taking the role of creative directors, to douse labels with fresh new identities, while still working on their own personal collections. Simultaneously we have seen the namesakes of brands like Donna Karen, who left DKNY earlier this year, step away from their brain child’s to work on more resonating projects. With patterns altering in the industry like quicksand, is there a new generation that is oozing the right energy needed to uphold the demands? The talent-duo from Public School NY, Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne, recently obtained DKNY, and can be described as the social-media-generation of designers.
Regardless of the world moving with the pace of light, our hearts are warm with the notion that fashion designers are making decisions which honor their talents and crafts, and are moving into spaces which resonate with them; after all, it’s evolution that keeps industries alive.