“Will I Get a Ticket?” – Vestoj
In an explosive, first-person report, Lucinda Chambers, former (25 year) fashion director of British Vogue, reveals some hard truths about the fashion industry. The most important thing that she revealed was that she was fired by Edward Enninful almost instantly (in three minutes) and that nobody around her, not even the publisher or current EIC, knew that it was going to happen. I don’t think anybody was surprised when she stepped down from her role. After all, when a new EIC comes in it is not uncommon for the team to change entirely. However, it was the fact that she was fired then replaced fairly quickly by Venetia Scott that was surprising. Other things that she reveals in the account are that she hasn’t read Vogue for years nor lives a Vogue-like lifestyle, that she thinks the fashion system is unsympathetic and does not give people a chance, and that Vetements was a welcome addition to the fashion calendar. I encourage you to read this piece while you still can. It was published then unpublished in a day due to the reaction it got in the fashion community (it was published during Couture Week, when everybody is together again), and then republished again the following day.
The concept of living like a French girl, from eating a croissant in the morning after rolling out of bed with your hair in that perfectly undone up-do to dressing in Breton stripes and cropped pants, riding a bicycle along the Seine, is a long-standing stereotype of sophistication. French girls have that je ne sais quoi and the media and various companies have capitalized off this. They are foreign enough to Americans and Brits that we want to emulate their lifestyles but not so different that it seems completely unachievable. That’s why countless books, magazine articles, and online posts have been penned on how to be French if you aren’t even from there. It’s almost an in-joke now. This particular article from Racked focuses on how companies have managed to profit from the stereotype, from beauty brands like Glossier and French Girl Organics to clothing brands like The Kooples. It is a fun read that helps you see things for how they really are.
This article was apt as a follow-up to the one I posted last week about Thaddeus O’Neil and his battle with surf brand O’Neill (different spellings, different target markets). It details the various reasons why designers shouldn’t use their own name as a brand and gives examples of many designers who have now lost the rights to use their own names for their own products – Donna Karan and Kate Spade are two major names. It seems crazy that you lose the legal grounds to your own name but once you build it up as a brand and sell it to external investors, you give it up. Smaller brands can be devastated by the legal fees that come with litigation (like the situation that Thaddeus O’Neil is in right now) and often have to give up to the corporate giants who sue them. Los Angeles-based handbag designer Clare V is an example of this, with the brand formerly being known as Clare Vivier before being sued by Roger Vivier. She chose to change her brand’s name because they could not afford to waste money fighting the case. This likely happens for many brands and according to the article the easiest way to protect yourself in this situation is to choose a unique, different name to begin with.