Mumbai: The customer is confused, said Donna Karan, one of America’s most influential fashion designers, at the Mint Luxury Conference in Mumbai on Friday, while explaining the need for fashion designers to start talking to consumers and showing them clothes only when they are ready for launch rather than showcasing them six months in advance at fashion weeks.
The consumer sees the photographs of a collection being showcased to buyers and media at fashion weeks. However, the collection itself becomes available at stores six months later, by when she feels that it is dated, said Karan.
Karan’s answer is ready-to-retail fashion—directly showing a new collection under her label Urban Zen to the customer and not at fashion weeks.
With fast fashion finding acceptance and fashion weeks proliferating, there is a lot of chatter about what’s new, said Karan, but it does not involve consumers. Instead of designers talking among themselves, they need to connect with the consumers, she added.
Karan who sold her labels Donna Karan and DKNY in 2001 to LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE, a French luxury conglomerate, has over the years closely associated her label Urban Zen with artisans in Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the western hemisphere.
She also set up the Urban Zen Foundation, a non-profit focused on improving the medical treatment experience of patients and their families. The foundation, among other things, works with children to inculcate in them an early awareness of good food and exercise besides education, said Karan.
For her, one of the biggest luxuries in life is time and the only regret she has is not having spent enough of it with her daughter in her initial years as she was busy working.