Dezeen: "It's the end of fashion as we know it" says Li Edelkoort
May 01 2015
Following her shocking declaration at Design Indaba 2015, Dezeen’s Marcus Fairs sat down with trend forecaster and fashion expert Li Edelkoort to discuss her sharp point of view on the current state of the fashion system.
"This is the end of fashion as we know it. [...] Fashion with a big F is no longer there," said Edelkoort. The reputed trend forecaster listed a number of reasons for the crisis in fashion, starting with education, where young designers are taught to emulate famous names, instead of developing their own creative identity. "Fashion is insular and is placing itself outside society, which is a very dangerous step. So the education needs to be reviewed," she told Fairs. Other issues affecting the industry include a loss of competence in textile design, and the failure to address sweatshop conditions at clothing factories. "The making of is done in countries where people are killed for making our garments," she added.
Edelkoort also noted her interest in fashion had now been replaced by an interest in clothes, since fashion has lost touch with what is going on in the world and what people want. "And then marketing of course killed the whole thing," she continued. "It’s governed by greed and not by vision. There's no innovation any more because of that." She also criticized the relationships between fashion houses, magazines and bloggers, which tie editorial coverage to advertising budgets. Edelkoort also attacked the current standards of journalism, as in her opinion knowledgeable fashion editors are replaced by younger writers with no professional skills or critical perspective, which she defined to be part of the like generation.
"Retailing has failed to move with the times," she stated. "As a consequence we are struggling with outdated formats that do not correspond anymore to todays fluid consumers, able to browse high and low, city and country, airport and hotel, on line and in real time." Finally, Edelkoort highlighted that a new breed of super-rich consumer has emerged, arguing that fashion does not cater to them, and she forecasted a come-back of Couture.
In Cape Town, Li Edelkoort replaced the second half of her usual two-part visual presentation with a reading of an essay entitled Anti_Fashion, published after the conference by her Paris-based agency Trend Union.