A Designer Dilemma: Staying True to Your Brand as Trends Shift

- - Fashion Tips

 (Photo Courtesy of Refinery29)

In today’s digital age where news and trends are delivered at lightning speed, it is important for fashion designers to remember to stay true to their brand’s vision. With a plethora of influences out there, like Instagram, Pinterest, fashion vlogs and blogs, it’s hard for them not to succumb to current trends and create a plat du jour collection that may ultimately compromise their brand. Successful designers realize the importance of maintaining brand identity and staying connected with their customers’ expectations as trends shift.

But what should a designer do when their brand signature is not the trend of the moment?

Answer: Designers must adapt their signature style to the changing market, while not confusing their customer.

Here are a few designers who, throughout their successful career, have stayed true to themselves and their brand, while adapting to the ever-changing trend churn:

Miuccia Prada

Miuccia Prada surprises her clients season after season and yet one thing remains consistent; Prada always delivers a unique style that skillfully mixes intellectual purity, art, eccentric elegance and futuristic minimalism. Here are two examples of Prada’s love of art through the years.

Prada Spring 2018 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Prada Spring 2018 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Prada Spring 2008 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Prada Spring 2008 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Ralph Lauren

Although never one to follow trends, Ralph Lauren has built an empire on updating American classics that reflect elegance and sophistication. Here is a preppy nod to nautical chicness.

Ralph Lauren Spring 2018 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Ralph Lauren Spring 2018 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Ralph Lauren Spring 2006 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Ralph Lauren Spring 2006 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Thom Browne

While his ‘shrunken’ grey suits put him on the map, Thom Browne is known for his avant-garde fashion and conceptual fashion shows. In an interview with BoF, designer Thom Browne told of his brand’s ‘conceptual-meets-commercial’ balancing act. Browne stated, “I just knew I needed to stay in business. I’m stubborn, but I’m not foolish. Fashion is a business. As conceptual as you want to be, you do have to make sure that you approach it as a business. There has to be a commercial element to what you do.” Here are some examples of his quirky take on men’s suits through the years.

Thom Brown Fall 2018 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Thom Browne Fall 2018 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Thom Brown Fall 2007 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Thom Browne Fall 2007 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Proenza Schouler

Proenza Schouler’s Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez have never abandoned their cool, artsy girl customer. At a Fashion at FIAF festival talk, moderated by Vogue’s Sally Singer, the duo stated, “If you do think you have the vision to set out on your own, confidence is key, especially since your designs or ideas might seem crazy and impractical to some. It’s always good to piss some people off. Our teachers at [Parsons] hated us,” Hernandez laughed. “They were like, you guys have to stop making clothes for art girls. Make some easy separates. We were like, What? No!”  That spirit has stayed with us to this day. You can’t cater to every single person. You have to do what makes you feel happy.” Here are Proenza Schoular’s fashion-forward girls.

Proenza Schoular Fall 2018 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Proenza Schoular Fall 2018 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Proenza Schoular Fall 2011 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Proenza Schoular Fall 2011 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Alexander Wang

No one has captured the M.O.D. (Model-off-Duty) look better than Alexander Wang. The eponymous label embodies a cool, slightly disheveled, utilitarian chic, downtown style that is favored by hipsters, rappers, ‘It girls’ and critics alike. Here are some Alexander Wang cool, downtown girls.

Alexander Wang Spring 2018 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Alexander Wang Spring 2018 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Alexander Wang Fall 2011 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Alexander Wang Fall 2011 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Chanel

Tweed, pearls and quilted bags have been among the ‘codes of the house’ at Chanel for decades. And yet, season after season, Karl Lagerfeld adds a youthful and fashion-forward twist to these iconic classics. Here are some signature Chanel looks through the years.

Chanel Spring 2018 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Chanel Spring 2018 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Chanel Spring 1994Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Chanel Spring 1994 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

So tell us, which designers do you think have best adapted their ‘signature’ to current fashion trends while still maintaining their brand’s identity?

 

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Antonia Sardone

Antonia Sardone is a new contributor to the University of Fashion. She is also a freelance fashion consultant, stylist and writer. Antonia Sardone graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology with a degree in Advertising Communications, Marketing and Fashion Journalism. She is an industry veteran having worked for WWD for over fifteen years and has strong relationships with designers worldwide. Today, Antonia Sardone continues to write reviews for WWD as well as work with many contemporary designers on a variety of projects from helping to re-launch their websites to writing their brand books. She enjoys raising her children to be creative individuals, as well as styling, writing and traveling.