The millennial generation currently represents an estimated spending power of $2.6 trillion and are on course to redefine the industry as a whole.
With fashion houses initiating active steps to appeal to a new cycle of clientele, we take a moment to assess just how appropriate the Instagram generation are for the market as a business dynamic.
Enter the LED-emblazoned, circuit-board runway that was the Grand Palais yesterday. The Chanel SS2017 Ready-to-Wear fashion show gives a nod to technological inclusion. The iconic heritage of Gabrielle’s mute tweed blazers embellished with contemporary cyber details allude to the marrying of fashion and technology as harmonious units. Naturally, the move for such an explicit statement away from the fashion powerhouse’s usual approach denotes a shift in the attitude of today’s buyer; a consensus certainly adopted in the polyphonic creations of next season’s Versace.
That said, today’s dialogue cannot simply be reduced to the typical look at a few metallic details in a collection accompanied by an instant rhetoric of space-age fashion coming soon to a high street near you. The real story swells deeper in the roots of the industries’ movements. The HISKIND team have quite recently commented on the measures adopted by brands to secure a place within the ideals of the Instagram collective. And, with designers like J.W Anderson, Moschino and Balenciaga intent on digitalising the consumer experience, it seems increasingly apparent that the bid for relevance can only be won by prioritising the new age consumer. It becomes ever more evident that fashion – as a market – is increasingly concerned with the click bait buyer, at least when you account for last season’s Louis Vuitton’s Series4 centre-model being no other than Final Fantasy heroine Claire “Lightning” Farron.
Perhaps such apparent gestures to millennial culture signal nothing more than accidental hints to contemporary style, but an eclectic consideration seems to question the coincidental nature of these movements.
Of course, if a Grindr streamed collection and a video game spokesmodel aren’t enough to signify the change of today’s fashion buyer; just open the fashion section of any high profile publication this week. The editors of Vogue have come under recent fire for criticising fashion bloggers as “heralding the death of style”. The lesser focused narrative being that one of the biggest names in the industry have arguably acknowledged the influence that fashion bloggers – and the likewise – hold over the “don’t forget to comment and subscribe below” fashion sphere.
Far too many tangents seem to link too harmoniously for mere coincidence to be in play. Ready-to-Wear has adopted an all new meaning: a literal definition for today’s buy now, wear now customer, as opposed to merely intimating the versatility and availability of the collection itself. And yet, is this even a positive development? With the Wall Street Journal suggesting that all the re-structuring luxury brands are actively employing can be somewhat of a fruitless endeavour with a millennial market so unprepared to settle for what it wants.
Accompany this with research that highlights demand for luxury brands has straddled in decline and it can be reasoned that such great efforts to appease today’s Ready-to-Wear buyer fall a few seasons too soon of graduate salaries to come into play.
Words // Matthew Hince