Grandeur, glamour, luxury: Paris and Milan are unquestionably the international capitals of fashion and twice a year they become the centre of attraction for everyone who is someone in the fashion industry. This is when fashion week takes place and Gucci, Prada, etc. present their latest collections. We asked fashion expert Prof Dr Audrey Mehn why this event fascinates so many people around the globe.
“It can be referred to as the fascination of fashion week,” says the ISM lecturer. “Naturally, it’s always about desires: The large labels want to whip up emotions and create a ‘wow’ factor. That’s the main character of these events.” Fashion week has never really been about designs that could be worn in the street. It is more about exclusiveness, in other words setting trends and enhancing your own image. The trick is to make great use of a location and to stage an exceptional show in just a few minutes.
“In the highly dynamic fashion industry, which is renowned for its competitive nature, labels must be able to inspire. At the same time, they are trying to show customers how innovative they are.” The motto at fashion week is definitely ‘see and be seen’. The designers not only present their collections, but also establish a positive rapport with major customers, the media and, of course, VIPs. Celebrity endorsement is also an effective marketing tool in this industry.
The latest hype to hit the world of fashion is: See Now/Buy Now. “Contrary to the traditional system of presenting collections at the fashion week six months ahead of availability, the items are available immediately for purchase,” Mehn says. Burberry has already adopted this new model and even Prada is testing the idea of being able to buy pieces immediately. For instance, fans will be able to get their hands on ‘Pionniere’ and ‘Cahier’ bags in selected stores straight after the runway shows.
But the system is quite controversial. German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld has spoken out against the ‘See Now/Buy Now’ show format and even Audrey Mehn has expressed her concerns: “It can kill creativity. The designers no longer have the opportunity to be creative after the show, but have to prepare everything immediately for the stores.”
The French-born academic is a fashion industry expert and knows what it takes to truly succeed: “Italy and France are where tailoring has its origins and have given the world such labels as Versace and Chanel. To develop a feeling for fashion it is essential to be able to speak either French or Italian and be well acquainted with the culture of the respective country.” The bachelor course Global Brand & Fashion Management therefore provides students with the best platform for future success. They choose to study one of the two languages as part of the course and are thus well equipped to secure a foothold in international business – perhaps even with a label that is currently presenting its pieces at fashion week.
Author: Katharina Busse
picture: martinkay78 / Fotolia.com