How innovative is Fashion?

Blog post   •   Oct 19, 2010 20:42 BST

I'm currently studying a degree in Fashion Marketing and in one of my classes we have been looking into how innovative fashion really is. I found this topic really interesting and it began to make me wonder a little more about innovative this industry is...

I think its fair to say that this is one of the most fast paced industies around. We, as consumers have so much expectation in regards to how fast we can get the next trend straight off the catwalk and into our fashionable little hands. With so many advances in logistics, retailers like Zara make it so easy for us to grab onto the latest trends with their fast turnaround on stock. Zara are one of the most well known retailers for doing this with the promise to have new lines on the shop floor within three weeks. It certainly meets our fast fashion needs but does it come at the cost of having less innovative products? Are retailers like Zara turning high street loving fashionistas into carbon copies of one another? Is it ruining the desirability of luxury brands by offering us a cheaper alternatives?

Let's take Mulberry as a prime example here. Since the introduction of the infamous 'Alexa' bag I have noticed in almost every high street retailer I go into that there is a version that is almost identical to the real thing. River Island, New Look, Topshop, Primark but to name a few, are some of those retailers who have brought out there on version of the bag and made it accessible to those who wouldn't be willing to spend the £700 for the real thing. I suppose in some respect, looking at it from a business angle, this was an opportunity for those retailers to enhance their sales by shelving their stores with an accessory that is destined to sell out but do you not think this takes it away from having the real thing on your shoulder? For me personally, I am totally put off from actually buying the Alexa now because everyone is wearing the copies! The only thing that would help distinguish the difference between say the Topshop version and the real deal would be Mulberry trademark on the bag. My personal opinion is that you want people to notice what you are wearing and admire it for looking beautiful and for its quality.

Another bag that was once something I could only dream of buying was the Chanel 2.55 with its cushioned and quilted fabric and shining gold chain handle. However, now even from the eyes of a fashion lover, I can sometimes never tell whether or not I'm looking at the real thing or not - its just so frustrating and I can only imagine how annoying it must be for the brands like Chanel and Mulberry who create such lovely pieces for them then to be mass produced on the high street with no real consideration into the detail and hard work that goes into crafting the original pieces.

I guess what I am trying to figure out is that: is fashion all about copying? will there ever be any more innovators in this industry who can offer the consumer something completely different and new?

What do you guys think? Do you think fashion is really all that innovative? Please let me know your thoughts and challenges against my own opinion!

H x