A few years ago I had an interesting discussion with a friend, who lives in New York for so many years, he adopted ‘the American way of thinking’. The discussion was about the definition of a great (fashion)designer. To me,a great designer is a designer, who is creative, daring and innovative, for him it’s a designer who makes large sales.
We came to the discussion, because I thought Helmut Lang lost it as a great designer, when he moved to New York and started repeating his best-selling items, in comparison to his ‘European years’, when he was so brilliantly creative . This move made Helmut Lang a well-known brand, instead of being the self-taught designer with the visionary mind. My friend said it was a very smart move a made Helmut Lang a great designer.
There are those, who are both creative and innovative and have brands with enormous sales, for instance Prada, Alber Elbaz(Lanvin) and Marc Jacobs (Louis Vuitton), but these are the exceptions that prove the rules. I do though understand a designer, who sells his brand, like Martin Margiela. It is very hard to be innovative and creative every season again and again and/or see your designs being copied by many. I think it’s a bolt decision to stop at your height or before you’re forced by investors to start repeating yourself for the purpose of large sales….