Are We Burning Out Our Fashion Designers?

Newsflash (just kidding): Raf Simons left Dior recently, and has been pretty open about his unhappiness with the fashion industry. Mainly because it sets designers up to burn out/fail/die/burst into flames, never to be seen again.

“When you do six shows a year, there’s not enough time for the whole process,” he said to System and published to Business of Fashion. “Technically, yes — the people who make the samples, do the stitching, they can do it. But you have no incubation time for ideas, and incubation time is important. When you try an idea, you look at it and think, Hmm, let’s put it away for a week and think about it later. But that’s never possible when you have only one team working on all the collections. What are you going to do? Walk out of the office at 8 o’clock at night? No, of course not. So you stay there until midnight. That’s the life.”


“In this system, Pieter and I can’t sit together and brainstorm — no time,” he continued. “I have a schedule every day that begins at 10 in the morning and runs through the day, and every day, every minute is filled. From 10 10 a.m. to 10 30 a.m., it’s shoes, let’s say. From 10 30 to 11 15, it’s jewellery. Everything is timed — the whole week. If there’s a delay in a meeting, the whole day is fucked up.”

And while Simons noted that Dior was a lot different than his time at Jil Sander, where there ere no resort or couture collections, he still lamented over the current system’s lack of time. As in: there is none. And that creates tension, anxiety, and everything that comes with that.

So is it worth it? Is it ever? (No.) Full stop, all of us have probably dealt with working too hard and losing our minds and melting down because of how anxious these types of schedules make us. But considering it feels like almost every week is Fashion Week (because frankly, it’s Fashion Week somewhere), do we really need 64 collections from every label every year? If schedules like this mean we’re taxing some of the best minds of the industry, can and should we be dialing down the demand? In real life, taking a few days or a season or a month or whatever to focus on one or two specific projects is expected and encouraged — it doesn’t allude to irrelevance in an industry. So I don’t get why we can’t afford designers the same luxury.

Or, at the very least, give them the option of tapping out of, say, resort. (Because does anyone here care about resort?) (Sorry if that hurt your feelings, majorly huge fans of resort.)


Tags: Anne T. Donahue, short trends

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