IS IT ALWAYS GOOD TO INNOVATE IN FASHION?
Innovation in trends, creativity, and communication strategies seems to be an essential rule in the fashion industry. However, is all innovation necessary? Balancing resources and directions sensibly can help alleviate the 'pressure' and rethink the term 'innovation'.
The decision to pursue something "new" in the fashion industry is multi-faceted and doesn't always guarantee success.
PROS| “INNOVATION DRIVES INTEREST"
In the fashion industry, the innovation of trends, concepts, or design techniques always holds a certain appeal in the media, coupled with the public's excitement and curiosity. This effect can lead to increased sales, brand recognition, and a strong market presence.
Under the leadership of Alessandro Michele, Gucci has revitalized its allure with a touch of opulence (Maximalism, Romanticism, Nostalgia). Helmut Lang, renowned for its simplicity combined with deconstructed structures, recently underwent a 'modern twist' by Peter Do, drawing inspiration from Vietnam. Similarly, Glenn Martens, the Creative Director of Diesel since 2020, has rejuvenated the brand, bringing a breakthrough to denim wear with multifaceted campaigns and collaborations.
PROS| RESPONDING TO MARKET DEMANDS
With the changing landscape of life and new societal standards, customer attitudes undergo certain shifts, influencing consumer needs and personal aesthetics. To accommodate these dynamics, fashion brands across various segments need to innovate, resonate with the target audience, foster community growth, or reach potential demographics. Innovation to avoid monotony is crucial, but it should stem from the brand's core values and DNA, ensuring design consistency and retaining the familiarity that customers love.
CONS| RISKS REGARDING BRAND IDENTITY
The constant pursuit of innovation to outshine and 'make a mark' sometimes leads to employee burnout and ineffective utilization of creative abilities. The relentless chase for the 'next big thing' can make a brand lose its distinctive essence (brand identity), causing the public to no longer differentiate it from its competitors. Ambitious goals must be balanced with practicality. Instead of continuously releasing new collections or creating 'explosive' publicity stunts, the in-house team needs time to focus inward, build solid resources, and establish a clear long-term direction."
CONS| FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS
Not all innovations turn into profitable ventures. Heavily investing in new ideas that don't resonate or facing backlash from controversial opinions can lead to significant losses. Similarly, large-scale fashion events, emphasizing explosive publicity and branding over marketing-sales strategies, can significantly impact revenue post-launch.
The style innovation by Tom Ford for YSL in the late 1990s faced difficulties upon its public debut, affecting sales. Similarly, D&G, Gucci, and Balenciaga have experienced significant financial losses from certain sensitive communication campaigns.
Innovation isn't only about changing; it's also about re-envisioning what's timeless.
Creativity is not just about discovering something new but also about rejuvenating from values with contemporary relevance. This approach helps alleviate the psychological pressure of constantly having to create something 'new.' Creativity doesn't mean discarding old ideas. Fashion inherently follows a cycle, like how trends such as low-rise jeans and crop tops from the 2000s make a comeback or punk and gothic styles are updated for each era, bringing unexpected stage effects.