In my interest for building communities around fashion, I have long been drawn to the notion of Slow Fashion – which in my interpretation is the practice of employing artisan communities to produce rare and skillfully-crafted pieces that have a timeless quality about them, as well as a story.
Today’s headline: ‘Specifications for the way we live now‘ by Financial Times writer Rachel Sanderson announces the merging of fast fashion via the Italian retail company Pinko with the Slow Fashion notions of Alessandra Facchinetti, who was abruptly dismissed from Valentino via a press release after two well-received seasons. This collaboration – a collection called Uniqueness – delivers the concept of Slow Fashion to the masses via a fast fashion retail outlet, and compliments the business model by building out a lifestyle showcase via social media: in essence, the perfect storm!
Ms. Facchinetti has joined several of her peers (Jil Sander for Uniqlo, Olivier Theyskens for Theory) who have departed from the major luxury brands after finding distaste with the politics, and subsequently found refuge with retailers. However, this collaboration is unique in that the “fast fashion” garments will be quick-to-market but designed and presented as seasonless, a concept which flies in the face of all things “fast”. In the case of Ms. Facchinetti, she has partnered with Pinko, an upper-mass market retailer of fast fashion, in order to sell fashions that are seasonless, well-crafted and altogether “slower” than the trend-oriented stock normally carried by Pinko stores.
‘“I really had the desire to break the system; to make what I like, present it and sell it.”
Hence the fact that Uniqueness will have a catwalk presentation this week and afterwards the 60-piece collection will go on sale on www.uniqueness.it and multibrand site www.thecorner.com. It will also be sold in some department stores and on their websites. The collection is aimed at “no season” and “the fabrics give a feeling of not needing to be changed every six months”. Think cotton, polyester and chiffon.’
The notion of no-season garments being carried by a fast fashion retailer is incredibly interesting! Surely the threat of consumers being satisfied by garments that can be worn all year will be overridden by the belief that Ms. Facchinetti will continue to produce designs that consumers simply cannot resist. Another interesting point is that Pinko and Ms. Facchinetti are combating the belief that fast fashion involves low quality by pairing a strict Made in Italy policy with a reasonable price point:
‘As with Theyskens’ collection for Theory, the pricing for Facchinetti’s venture is aimed at the high-middle market: T-shirts start at €90 ($121), and most of the collection is about €200 to €500. The most expensive item is €1,200 for a fake fur jacket. All the clothes are made in Italy, at Ms Facchinetti’s specification, in a factory in Fidenza. “We’ve managed to get a good balance between quality and price point. It is really well done,” she says.’
Further elevating the image of the collection, Ms. Facchinetti will bring with her a lifestyle aspect to the collaboration via social media. She will develop content with various interesting characters in order to provide an aspirational-yet-accessible dream world around the collection. This practice has become a critical component to many brands, both at the luxury and mass level. However, it has become clear that although luxury brands often have the most interesting stories, characters and histories to work with, it is often the mass brands who are making a greater effort to explore the potential of the digital world. Ms. Facchinetti will be bridging the gap by articulating her glamorous lifestyle with accessible content.
‘The Uniqueness website is also going to work as hub for a lifestyle alla Facchinetti. She will be writing on Twitter and Facebook, and have readers help her create a mood board. Ms Facchinetti, a music buff and the daughter of an Italian rock star, will be making her own playlists and inviting her DJ friends to add their own music choices as added inspiration for her designs.’
This collaborative effort brings seasonless, “slow” fashion into the mass market while utilizing a fashion-forward digital strategy and retailer. It will be interesting to see how the collection is received.
Read the full article at FT.com.