book review: the end of fashion

I just finished reading: The End of Fashion by Teri Agins which was published in 2000. I realize now that it is a history lesson. I wonder about the intimate details of the last 9 years and if fashion is now extinct.

The author reveals a very detailed account of the fall of couture, the rise of department stores, and the battle between Lauren and Hilfiger. She accounts the ending before going into the gory details which was at times hard to follow. Then again, the whole M&A and designer hierarchy is very hard to remember; I am considering making a chart.

I would put this book beside Deluxe: How Luxury Lost its Luster, both books gave a great overview of fashion history over the 80’s and 90’s. I feel that it is still relevant today as Lacroix recently went bankrupt. This is an interesting event since he was couterier and then was LVMH’s little pet project and now that’s gone sour too.

The question remaining is what is the new fashion model, how can a designer succeed in today’s economic climate? Is twisting marketing and branding to appeal and evoke emotions of target markets enough? Or do you stay the course of your own focused branding and target a select group like Zoran. I like Zoran’s method, however at the end of day how can you scale something that is exclusive? What of the quality of the product, workmanship and of course overall design aspects – do they weigh in as much as they used to?

We are amidst a huge change in the economy that will inevitably change the way we do business, not just in fashion but in all business transactions.

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