Fashion is like a pendulum, trends come and go. Iconic labels once a distant memory get re-ignited and drive droves of fashionista's to thrift stores in search for old gems or rummaging through their parents closet hoping to find that classic Champion hoodie or FILA jacket.
With the never-ending rise of millennialism and streetwear, high-end brands have revived their iconic styles to suit this burgeoning social media-entrenched audience. Think innovative design, long silhouettes, and graphic branding. being able to tell the difference between high-end fashion and streetwear is becoming increasingly difficult (just take a look at Virgil Abloh becoming Louis Vuitton’s own Men's Artistic Director – good on you, lord!)
Believe it or not, the times are changing once again – but even faster because of the rise of social media. Public interest in fast fashion is rapidly disappearing. In the first quarter of 2018, H&M had their first monthly sales drop in nearly four years, and Zara parent company Inditex SA saw profitability shrink to an eight-year low. The rise of competition and different spending habits all contribute to the decline for these powerhouses, but it’s also coming from the rise of micro-labels – via young, independent, hungry designers using social media to attract young, trend-hungry consumers. These brands might not call themselves fast-fashion labels, but despite their relatively modest sizes, they understand the importance of instant gratification and selling were to their savvy millennial audience shops.
We have an issue......with streetwear gaining traction and activewear transcending to the lifestyle clothing of choice. How do independent designers and labels make their mark?
It’s Incredible how a brand can gain leverage simply by creating awareness on social media... You can rack your brain over and over thinking I'm not the only one starting a label or the only one wanting to make my mark and make it in the Australian streetwear scene?
In a world full of so many impulses and creatives trying to make it large on free social platforms, the goal should always be on authenticity and how to shine by remaining truly, and completely you?
In a recent article from GQ in an interview. Jerry Lorenzo of ‘Fear of God’, talks about the dangers of upstart fast-fashion labels. At some point, these brands are extremely damaging to his own brand.
“It took us a lot of time and work to nail those proportions and details, and they’re stealing our designs and passing them off as their own,” he says. “No one knows that their track pants aren’t Fear of God, and so when they see it they might think, ‘That’s a $900 track pant?’ because their quality sucks, and that’s damaging to what we’re doing.” Lorenzo is passionate about individual creativity but stands against stealing people’s ideas and designs with zero credit or acknowledgement and de-valuing the original design.
The big brands might adopt his design language like side zippers and oversized fits, but not the whole design itself. “I take seeing pieces inspired by mine at, like, Topman or Zara as a sign we have influence,” Lorenzo goes on to say.
“But when you see a track pant or hoodie with the same seams, proportion, colors, and zipper placements, it’s just stealing. That brand built its entire brand off of our proposition. It’s like erasing our name off the homework assignment, putting yours on it and saying you did the work”.
There is nothing more important than staying original when it comes to the street culture community when chasing authenticity and trying to make a dent in our universe., it is important to remain original. The ‘cut/copy/and paste’ mentality will guarantee failure in the fashion industry. It truly comes down to knowing WHY you have chosen this industry and What makes you UNIQUE to the budding labels trying to make their mark through social media growth. Let’s be honest, it is a saturated space. Are you putting in the work to stand out?
Two important messages to take home from this article for those thinking of starting a label or are in the process of growing your brand:
1. You are riding the absolute wave and influence that streetwear fashion is escalating on a global scale and gaining recognition from other areas and industries across the world. The space for consumers to shop streetwear is wide open and it is anyone’s game with the power of social media.
2. The power of social media has saturated the market which means consumers have all the choice in what, where and who they buy from. In order to stay in the race, you must consistently deliver a high-quality brand to your customers – when you think of quitting, remember why you started. Share the very existence of why your brand exists. Do you want “IT” more than others?
Getting Branding and Exposure has never been easier through Ego Expo Platform for 2022, with all brands featuring not only at the Expo, but also listed on our brand new E-Commerce platform for 12-months.
Melissa Yu, Director of Ego Expo Australia