Monday, October 5, 2009

Good brands adapt to change. So will Fashion Week.

I've heard some really weird comments from people regarding Sanlam's withdrawal from SA Fashion Week, where they've been headline sponsor for four years. People are prophesying doomsday for the country's oldest fashion week (urgh, even having to call it the oldest leaves a bad taste in my mouth- the conundrum of having thousands of them in one country) and others are assessing what the fashion week gains have been for the industry.
Designers do acknowledge that fashion week has been a great marketing platform but exhibiting doesn't always produce the desired results on the business front. Like... what was fashion week supposed to do- catapult fashion labels into powerhouses?
It has always bothered me how designers in this country tend to have this silly idea that fashion week, and it alone, is enough to take care of all the required marketing of a brand.
From where I stand or as far as I understand fashion week is one, a marketing tool (yes), two- where designers exhibit their collections for the season in the hope of enticing interest from buyers and three- or at least I think this should be number three- to gauge direction and growth.
Glitz and glamour is a part of it. This shouldn't be read as a hindrance at all. I read one online comment where a reader said fashion week was more about glitz and glamour than the industry and I thought such is a comment that adds no value to the argument.
What people need to realise is that it takes a lot of hard work to establish and sustain a brand. This tendency of off loading responsibility and blaming things on fashion week is a sign of laziness and a lack of business savvy. Work and stop moaning! Think... how else does one make money in the fashion business besides trying to sell your ideas to buyers and private clients?!
With that said, Sanlam's exit from the business of fashion should not be seen as the end of the world but rather the end of an era where the industry grew in leaps and bounds. This also presents an opportunity for many companies that I am sure would like to associate their brands with that of fashion week, which Lucilla and her team have worked a great deal to turn into one that I think many of us love, to do so.
Things come and go. We should not be resistant to change. Fashion Week will not suddenly disappear, it will simply adapt to the change. That's what good brands do!

1 comment:

Angie said...

yes it is crazy to put all of your eggs in one basket and hope to get rich off a fashion week.

Having said that - it has happened that fashion week attention has catapulted a designer or label into the stratosphere WITHOUT that actually translating into a sustainable business. Which is really the designer's fault for not converting media and public attention into a viable business. I may sound a bit glib when I say that - as if it is easy to make a business successful. But I do get concerned by the focus that designers place on image over sound business practice.

As for SA Fashion Week - they will find another sponsor. It is not the end for them by any stretch of the imagination. And like the comment I left on iFashion - who knows the amazing impact a different sponsor will have. Lucilla and SA Fashion Week are a creative bunch with the best interests of the industry at heart.