Pride and Prejudice in the Fashion Industry 時尚產業的傲慢與偏見

I love fashion world for its dynamic creativity and infinitive possibilities. However, there are also certain things I cannot agree with in this industry.

我愛時尚產業無限的創意和活力, 但坦白說, 此產業有些現象也是我難以認同的.

Arrogance and prejudice being one of the examples. Living and breathing in an industry dependent on spotlight, dazzling visual presentations and beautiful people, the insiders tend to scrutinize everything, including who are qualified to work with them. Take my personal experience as an example. when I first started my fashion career, my earlier experience in the cosmetics industry was questioned by people around me- did this girl really know fashion? After successfully building my reputation and experience through managing accessories products, I would like to extend my profile to my true love ready to wear. Then another question comes- well, you might be good at accessories but, without seeing ready-to-wear management black-and-white on your CV, there’s no prove of your capability to manage this category. And some more: a multi-brand company may challenge the qualification of candidates from mono-brand and vise versa; in my latest interview, I was even challenged by the interviewer for a certain skill as I was not the one who executed it 100% by myself yet with the help from other team members!

比方說, 這是一個既傲慢又充滿諸多偏見的產業. 閃光燈, 光鮮亮麗的外表和俊男美女是時尚業賴以維生必要的元素. 也因此. 時尚產業的人士慣於用放大鏡及高標準檢視所有事物, 包括誰夠格能成為時尚界的一份子. 舉我個人經驗為例, 當我剛踏入時尚界時, 我過往在化妝品界的經驗, 成為身邊同事質疑我是否懂時尚的理由; 接著, 我成功在此產業建立我的經驗和個人名聲後, 想轉換管理的產品線, 由飾品轉往我最愛的服裝時, 一路上所受到的質疑更是不斷: 只因為我的履歷上沒有服裝採購的黑紙白字經驗, 就算我對競爭品牌和市場趨勢有再多了解, 也難以說服大多經驗主義者. 除此之外, 有管理單一品牌經驗, 在應徵多品牌管理的職位時還是會被認為不夠格, 反之亦然. 而在我最近期一次面試的經驗中, 被指控可能不懂某項技能, 只因為之前一路有團隊協助我, 而不是百分之百由我親力親為 (話說回來, 如果每件事都得我自己親力親為, 那麼大公司還需要這麼多人團隊合作幹麻?!)

Don’t get me wrong- I totally value and respect the formal training in the fashion world, and fully understand how the management skills vary from one role to another. It is just that, when recruiting people myself, I am not convinced by only formal training and black-and-white experience on CV. Personally I believe that potential and a broader life experience also matter to a degree as the inspiration and creativity do not come from one source. To prove my point, here I am naming few fashion designers- either without formal training in fashion schools or with different focus in their early life- who shine for their talent and all sorts of experience.

請不要誤會, 我絕對相信並尊重正統訓練的價值, 也明白在時尚產業裡每個環節確實需要具備不同的技能. 只不過, 工作這麼多年, 我個人一路相信, 潛力和多元的背景, 有時會比正統學校的訓練和黑紙白字的經驗更重要, 特別時尚產業中最被看重的創意和靈感, 不會只產自一個來源. 為了證明我所言不假, 以下, 我將舉幾位引領潮流的時尚設計師為例, 他們有的從未接受正統的設計訓練, 有的則在早年從事不同類型的工作, 但因為他們的才華和精彩的人生經驗, 讓他們的設計在此產業發光發熱

Miuccia Prada- designer to Prada and Miu Miu

繆西亞 普拉達- 普拉達和繆繆的設計師

Miuccia Prada via azureazure.com

Ms. Prada was pursuing PhD in Political Science by the time she had to take over the family business established by her grandfather. She was a member of Italian Communist Party and involved in the women’s right movement in the 70s in Milan. That nourishes her to be a thinker and gives her design a protesting spirit- against cliché, doll beauty, banality! Passionate to culture, history and art, she is inspired to create the famous “ugly chic” style by mixing old and new, pretty and ugly. Her collection is clever, difficult, complicated and interesting- and the most copied by other designers today.

Prada女士在必須接下由她祖父一手打造的家族時尚企業時, 其實正在攻讀政治學的博士學位. 年輕時, Prada女士是共產黨員, 也是女權主義者, 曾參加不少社會運動. 這樣的背景讓她的設計充滿了思考和反叛精神: 抗議庸俗, 膚淺的美麗以及無聊. 雖然從未接受正式的設計訓練, 但她熱愛並通曉文化 歷史和藝術, 並藉此得到啟發創造她出名的”醜陋時尚”風格, 其中新和舊, 美和醜兼容並蓄. 她的設計聰明, 複雜, 表面難以理解, 卻又有趣. 也因為不斷創新, 走在時代尖端, 因此她的作品是被最多其他設計師學習模仿的對象.

Rei Kawakubo- founder/designer of Comme des Garçons and the department store Dover Street Market

川久保玲- Comme des Garçons品牌創辦者及設計師, 時尚買手店Dover Street Market創辦人

Rei Kawakubo via pursuitist.com

Studied Fine Arts & Literature and took a degree in “the history of aesthetics”, Rei Kuwakubo is the most influential designer to her younger peers. Her design is visionary and original: she’s famous for challenging the established notion of beauty through deconstructed garments (draped around body, featured fray, unfinished edges with holes, asymmetrical shape), which creates enormous statement. Personally Kawakubo likes to have input in various aspects of her business- graphic design, advertising, shop interiors- as she believes that all things are part of one vision and strongly linked. New York Metropolitan Museum just had a exhibition- together with Vogue magazine- to pay tribute to the designer and her brand in May 2017.

川久保玲沒有讀過一天設計,但她的作品卻廣泛影響了時尚界不同輩份的設計師. 她主修大眾藝術和文學, 也有美學史的學位, 設計風格以前瞻性和原創性著稱. 她最出名的就是解構布料 (皺摺, 刻意磨損或未完成的布邊以及不對襯剪裁), 以獨特的輪廓來挑戰主流的美學標準. 川久保玲喜歡設計的不僅是服裝本身, 包括周邊的視覺廣告, 店面裝潢等她都堅持參與, 因為她相信所有的細節都環環相扣, 源自同一靈感. 今年五月, 紐約大都會博物館和Vogue雜誌特地辦了一場展覽向川久保玲致敬.

Tom Ford- ex-creative director to Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent, founder/designer of his eponymous brand

湯姆 福特- 前古馳和聖羅蘭創意總監, 以及其同名品牌創辦人及設計師

Tom Ford via Time.com

Art history, acting and architecture- these are what Tom Ford dabbled before stepping into the fashion world. To him, fashion is the right balance between art and commerce. His design is famous for its powerful sexiness and ultimate glamour.

在Tom Ford跨入時尚界前, 他讀過藝術史, 表演和建築. 對他來說, 時尚是最能在藝術和商業間找到平衡的產業. 他的設計性感而有力度, 也極致奢華.

Carol Lim & Humberto Leon- Co-creative directors of Kenzo, founder & designer to Opening Ceremony

Carol Lim & Humberto Leon- Kenzo品牌雙創意總監, 時尚買手名店Opening Ceremony創辦人及設計師

Carol Lim & Humberto Leon via http://www.independent.co.uk

The fashion retailer duo- a management consultant and a design director- established a trendsetting boutique in downtown New York. Since 2011, they take the rein in Kenzo as the co-creative directors and successfully revive the declining brand. They mix street elements with the brand’s traditions (prints, worldliness & travel) to revamp the brand with young, fun and cheeky spirit.

一個是管理顧問, 一個是設計師. 這對拍檔以在紐約創立時尚買手名店Opening Ceremony, 引進不少潮牌聞名. 2011年開始, 他們聯手接下Kenzo品牌創意總監一職,  也讓這個虧損的老牌注入新生命. 他們在品牌傳統的印花和旅行概念上, 加入街頭元素, 讓Kenzo變得年輕也大膽有趣.

Vigil Abloh- founder/designer of Off-White

Vigil Abloh- Off-White品牌創辦人及設計師

Off-White designer Virgil Abloh via Vogue, Oct 2015

One of the rising brands that I pay lots of attention recently. The designer Abloh studies Civil Engineering and Architecture in school yet becomes a multi-hyphenate: graphic designer, DJ, architect, and art director to Kanye West. The brand Off-White is established in 2012, which is a reflection of the designer and his lifestyle. The design is a sophisticated mix of street wear & high fashion, and daily influence of travel, music and culture. It is said that wearing Off-White “says you log your time between airport lounges & VIP sections, hanging with models & rappers, and making shit happen.” Abloh is nominated for the prestigious LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designers in 2015.

Off-White是我近期非常關注的新興潮牌之一. 創辦人兼設計師Abloh沒學過設計, 卻有相當多元的經驗: 在學校主修土木工程和建築, 之後既從事視覺設計, 也做過DJ, 建築師, 最出名的莫過於擔任饒舌歌手Kanye West的創意總監. 他在2012年成立Off-White, 品牌基本上就是反應他的個人風格和生活態度. 設計風格細緻的混合了街頭元素和高階時尚, 以及他在旅行, 音樂及文化中得到的靈感. 有人說,穿著Off-White的服飾, 就好像穿梭在機場和所有場合的貴賓區, 和模特兒及饒舌歌手混, 似乎所有的好事都會發生. Abloh在2015年曾被提名LVMH集團的新晉設計師大獎, 並進入決賽前八強.

Aside from these well-established designers, nowadays more and more models, bloggers, celebrities turn designers. It may be hard to predict whether their brands would succeed or not, yet for sure the fashion industry will further boom thanks to the join of these unexpected forces. Showtime!

除了這些已有名氣的設計師外, 現今也有越來越多模特兒, 時尚部落客以及明星創立品牌並加入設計的行列. 他們的作品好或壞, 能不能在此產業展露頭角, 都還得觀察, 但可以肯定的是, 這些人士的加入, 勢必帶來許多耳目一新的想法, 也會讓時尚產業越來越有趣, 好戲在後頭, 大家一起看吧!



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