Yesterday one of my favorite blog-ish sites, Refinery 29 posted an article listing the fashion industry casualties of 2008. Jane Mayle being the most depressing for me. I pretend to know about her business model, but I do not know the intimate structure, although I am sure we shared some experience. Yet, from my outsider perspective she had these components that were both envious and what I see as the future of shopping culture. For example, a small curated shop in Nolita where she could present a tight clear message, take advantage of foot traffic on Elizabeth St., interact with her customer, possibly create specifically for them (atelier), test small batch production and be accessible to press. Closing the gap between producer and consumer/customer.
In addition, the actual collection seemed very her; timeless, of quality and thoughtful.
Read, not disposable and trend chasing.
I very well understand that despite specific successes there are a tidal wave of components such a rising rent, Troubled domestic and global economies, charge backs, vendor compliance costs, failed production, rising costs of production and minimum requirements, vendor collection issues, etc. that can inspire the most creative to throw in the towel. Usually while making some sort of statement like, "I'm was just trying to design some beautiful frocks, f&*)!"
I can't help but think this is just the very beginning of the RIP list. After reading about all the $40 M plus losses for various department stores I wonder who will be left standing. If the department store continues to operate as is, if they will be around in a year?
I have personally put my own line, ULURU "on hold" to take a more activist role in sustainable fashion/business models. My gut just told me that continuing to work (and work hard) on a small fashion label was a bad investment of both my time and $$. The risk compared to the potential return was not there. I decided after spending 8 years plus studying sustainable design, materials, business models etc. while watching consumerism and disposable fashion grow and the degradation of our own garment district that my efforts were better spent building the perfect petri dish for which a slow fashion economy might emerge.