Fashion, Travelogue

Who Develops New Ideas in Fashion?

Fashion Designer, Eileen Fisher
Fashion Designer, Eileen Fisher

For those who think you have seen it all, it’s hard to think of who develops new ideas in fashion.  After following fashion for over 30 years of my life, I’d agree that the list of pioneers is short.  Even so, it’s not like someone is likely to invent a new seam or stitch.  It’s hard to consider much that could be new in today’s fashion.  But, we may be surprised if we allow ourselves to remain openminded.

Fashion designer Eileen Fisher has been around a good long time.  She and her company came up with an idea of taking on social responsibility more than two decades ago.  This created the drive towards sustainability that makes her company a leading force of advocacy.  We speak of this today as our planet is in crisis.  Yet, this was a new idea some twenty-plus years ago. And now, her designers all want to design fully sustainable garments.  They have mapped out the sustainability of their entire supply chain, seeking opportunities to improve upon their model.

Even today, this idea may not sound so fresh.  Without developing a strong mindset around sustainability back then, where would fashion be today?  No doubt, the industry would be a lot further behind.  This has a huge impact on our buying habits as consumers.  Did you know that 80% of landfill waste is our textile refuse?  As the fashion and manufacturing industries do much more to execute and promote sustainability, the buying public will follow suit.  In keeping with this spirit, each of us can be pioneers as we think about buying and using clothing sustainably.

Designer and Artist, Ralph Rucci with me, Joseph Rosenfeld
Designer and Artist, Ralph Rucci with me, Joseph Rosenfeld

Another new idea in fashion is to think smaller instead of thinking bigger.  Acclaimed American fashion designer Ralph Rucci is doing this very thing.  It may have happened by tough circumstances.  But, I am sure that he is better for it.  A top designer, he garnered a coveted invitation to show his collection amongst the other Haute Couture designers in Paris.  No other American fashion designer has been invited, and none have ever shown in Paris along with the French houses.

It seems like an incredible fall from grace.  He took on greedy investors, and ended up losing his business.  But, he didn’t lose his talent.  Business is one thing.  It can come back.  Still, no one could crush his creativity.  Thinking smaller, doing his finest work, and having a healthy spirit about craftsmanship and quality may all be luxuries for Ralph.  But, his private clients are the true beneficiaries of this new way of doing business.  I find this so personally refreshing, as it mirrors my consulting model.

Recently, at the annual New York Fashion Conference, I met and interacted with both of these designers.  It was a privilege to interact with who develops new ideas in fashion.  These two fashion pioneers are two great examples who we should recognize for their accomplishments. Maybe a year from now, my startup co-founder and I will be recognized as pioneers as well…

Joseph Rosenfeld helps successful Silicon Valley technology entrepreneurs and executives discover their personal brands and design their personal styles.  Get Joseph’s free report that helps you know “6 Secrets to Success in Silicon Valley.” Get details about Joseph’s proven program that transforms your life through personal brand and style development.

My role, as a personal brand and style strategist, is that of a storyteller. I learn about a person’s personality and strengths, translate that into an appropriate personal style aesthetic, and help each client to visually and non-verbally tell her or his story with ease and authenticity.