Photography and creative direction: Carolina Palmgren
Glitters and cameras have left New York for London and Milan. This year’s NYFW has been surrounded by the announcement of systemic changes in the Fashion industry. Such changes would see a more direct to consumer model. Burberry is leading the charge while French fashion says: ‘Pas question (‘No way’).’ No one knows yet how it is all going to pan out. What we believe here at Another Garde is that what we could experiment is less solitude. Change is always a good hubris for solidarity and co-engineering new systems. Yes, working in fashion can truly be lonely: loneliness in front of cash flow hurdles, loneliness in the search for a loyal clientele, or loneliness in front of your sketchbook. Competition is fierce and success for designers for a long time has been about succeeding on your own, about doing better than other designers or keeping ‘your’ client close and under control. But such mindset needs to evolve because that is what you, our client, rightfully wants and deserves. And evolution is already happening. It was very refreshing to find among the overwhelming feeds of fashion show snippets, reviews and Instagram pics an article by Nathalie Massenet, founder of Net-a-Porter, stating that ‘the future of online retailing is collaboration’. She is adamant: "If a reader sees a Chanel top in a magazine and it's not yet available to buy online, the magazine should communicate directly with Chanel and find it at no extra cost"
We are often asked why we called our company 'Another Garde'. For us, it is about women who refuse to be put in a box, whose self-identifications are fluid and exciting rather than stuck in time and place or worse are stuck in other people’s imagination. We also chose this name because we truly believe that a stronger and supportive collective of designers is what clients need but also what some designers want deep inside. The need to break away from the loneliness and the craziness in order to focus their work where it really counts: empowering women, making women feel loved and understood and serving them perfectly. When we choose our partners we say: ‘We are in this together. Will you walk with us so we can run together? Will you tell us which designer is creating the one of a kind dress that none of us is making so they can join the roster?’
Some say yes. Suk Chai created her entire F/W 16 collection ‘Legion’ on the premise of 'an army of “humble visionaries”…holding tight the same tow line. Like a family, like a formation, like a childhood pact’. Derek Guillemette, founder and creative director of Inter-pret.Us which we will soon showcase on our site kept a note we hand written to him about working together on his studio pin board and say: ‘Yes. It is WE everything.’ This is the type of character and commitment to support each other to build a meaningful relationship with women around the world that we search for. Without it, we would just be yet another pretty Pinterest board of creations that ends up in a virtual bag. And that would just not be good enough. Stay tuned.