Fashion disruption speeds up

Earlier this week we returned from two trade events, International Jewellery London at Olympia and London Edge in Islington.

What’s abundantly clear is that the fashion industry is changing, and it’s changing fast. This is happening thru’ technology, manufacturing processes and also widespread cultural/societal change. This makes fashion far more challenging, yet at the same time offers up some stunning opportunities and new routes to market.

This was highlighted in a superb talk at London Edge by Fiona Cartledge, one of the ‘unsung heroes of British fashion’ and a chief influencer (and now commentator) on the nascent, underground scene. Back in the 90’s Cartledge owned Sign of the Times, heralded at the time as one of the UK’s most influential boutiques and the creator of the acid house style.

Cartledge’s talk centred around the changes happening in UK youth culture, be it clubs closing down or closed social media groups acting as the next ‘cool’ place to be admitted into, moderators an’ all.

If there were two takeaways, we’d leave you with these:

  1. Big fashion groups are steaming into the underground scene and sponsoring emerging music acts as key influencers – a kind of updated, commercial collaboration between music and style. See what ASOS are doing here and Selfridges here.
  1. The old expensive days of fashion PRs, A list celebrities and key fashion magazines is on the way out. It’s dying. Instead it’s a new world of Snapchat, Instagram, closed social media groups, young influencers with millions of followers, and cool emerging music acts being sponsored by fashion brands.

Can young fashion brands take advantage of these trends? YES. It’s no longer just about money or the vast PR agency budget. It’s open to all.

Finally, a big shout out to those i.LEVEL clients we met at both shows (i.LEVEL not only has over 100 clothing brand clients but we also have over 30 jewellery brands). A special mention goes to Swedish jewellery brand Lily and Rose and retro specialists Lindy Bop #clients.

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