Friday, December 3, 2010


With so many brands to choose from these days, I was stunned and in utter awe of a tweet I read last week, sometime, that said something along the lines of: "Wear a South African Brand on Friday and support #FashionFriday".

Amazed, I went all out digging into my closet to find the perfect outfit that would scream: "I am all for this" but in a true to Maque moment, I completely forgot to wear the outfit, Bar by the "Two" scarf (by Gina) - which i purchased the night before and had-to had-to wear it, all coincidental, and a bag I grabbed at the last minute which happened to be a Craig Native number.

The point of this is not just to flaunt that you have a designer item, but that you support and believe in our, slowly, thriving industry. This is how i think it works, and correct me if I am wrong in my thinking:
Yes, designer wear might be on the expensive side when comparing it to the big retailers (who probably stock from non-SA wholesalers/companies) which adds to importing costs and unnecessary admin (but for profit margins, this is ideal) but this is an insult in my opinion. YES! I too shop there but if I could, I wouldn't!
Okay, I'm off-topic: So, my thinking is; if we support locals, and demand grows which will, no doubt, raise the price until big retailers catch onto the trend and start requesting designers to make watered down versions for their shops ie. make them more readily available at a price that is favourable to the consumer. My thinking is also borrowed from what H&M, Target do. I recently saw a Lanvin collection for H&M and was astound at what is available at a fraction of what it should cost - and this resulted in a "sold-out" collection in a matter of days. Even Marc Jacobs had a collection available for retail groups and the wheel keeps turning on who makes an affordable range and for which store... can't help but also point out that even the mighty Karl Lagerfeld went in this direction too!

Woolworths tried this with Craig Native and Craig Native, but that ended almost as quickly as they tried. Edgars also gave it a bash with Craig Native making "Nation" which was very similar to his mainstream work - and from that these experiments, there are plenty of lessons that can be learnt on HOW to execute the project successfully.

Now I wait with baited breath to see what transpires with Foschini and Stoned Cherrie (you do know Stoned Cherrie made a collection for Foschini right? and it's now available).

But with the rise of young entrepreneurs, perhaps more pressure on big retailers to do something to meet the desires of their customers. (obviously this might affect the young entrepreneurs I am refering to, but I do not forsee this as they tend to stock mainstream designer wear).

Wouldn't be nice to walk into *put your favourite retailer here* and find your favourite designers' clothes on the rails at a price that won't see you taking out a second mortgage? Don't for one second think that this will remove the exclusivity that is associated with brands - mainstream and it's watered down counterparts are very different!

So do i like Fashion Friday? let's just say, I see what it can do for our country! Love the idea wholeheartedly and we do not need H&M to pop into the country to show us how it's really done for us to believe that i can be done. I always refer to Fern Mallis' statement: When traveling you should experience the country (the food, culture and fashion), the world needs to work on global BRANDING and not global BLENDING!


Karabo-Lepote said...

It all makes sense if the desinger themselves are willing to take part into it. How many of the desinger are willing to meet the demand and create the ready to ear collections. that requires money and thus venture capitalist to come on board but a venture capitailst would never put their hard earned dollars unless they are given a sizeable piece of the pie, which most of our desinger are willing to do.

Fact of Fashion: Name one of the BIG DESINGER BRANDS, that own their label 100% and I will show you a broke ass designer whose exclusive garments are so exclusive they never leave the showroom.

I envision designer getting in touch with mainstream corporate and starting to get their financial backing. Its a tough world out there and they need business minded partners to move their garments from the show-rooms.

Frankly I am tired at Fashion Week entertainment. I want to see shows that are going to be on the rails next season and you don't need big retailers to have that done.

Maque DeGorgeous said...

I agree with you there!

Thing is with "ready to wear" going to a big retailer, there is financial backing from the retailers. They have buyers, merchandisers and specialists who all have a task of creating quality products for close to nothing - something designers will capitalize on given that they are tasked with design and final approvals before putting their in-demand label on the garments.

The buzz Fashion Week creates gives much needed publicity to the fashion industry - pity that that, for some, rarely translates into something more tangible than publicity and a few sales. Hence I think raising "awareness" away from Fashion Week Platforms is needed. While I cannot fully disclose the plans laid out for "FashionFriday" yet, i will say it's an initiative that will narrow the gap between consumers and designers and, hopefully, that will create a demand (and the aforementioned Venture Capitalists will want a piece of the pie as well - in essence making designer wear more readily available than it is now).

This is also difficult if some designers want to remain "exclusive" though - then again they will miss out on opportunities.

2011 will be the year of growth, I can already see it!