The CFDA held a 'town hall' meeting yesterday to talk about all the issues the fashion industry's facing as we enter SS10 Fashion Week. We like to think there was yelling and hand raising and a chalkboard and a gavel, but really it sounds like Diane von Furstenberg did her best to calm everyone's nerves and focus on one problem at a time while Anna Wintour made silly statements like, "We have friends in the White House now," while proposing something illegal. The general consensus is that the root of the problem (aside from the obvious economic woes) is the customer's confusion. And as anyone who's ever worked in retail can attest, it is in fact baffling for most customers to face a fur coat in July and a bikini in January. Why would they buy it then when they can wait until it's actually cold (or hot) outside and buy it for 70% less? The Pres repeatedly advocated shipping wear-now product, something Elie Tahari says he's been doing very successfully.
Diane also mentioned the celebrity quotient. She suggested, brilliantly and yet so obviously, that designers not loan out their samples the day after the runway show, but instead wait until the buzz can result in actual sales. If someone sees an SS10 dress on Rachel Bilson in October, they'll forget about it by the time they can actually buy it in January. Obviously the fashion industry has a lot of revamping to do if it's to emerge from this with a penny in its pocket so if you're in the industry, whether editor, buyer or designer, send your suggestions to email@example.com and keep your fingers crossed.