The year 2013 was another giant leap of change in the fashion world. If the wheels of fashion seemed to be forever spinning in 2012 - the redundancies and appointments of Raf Simons and Dior and Hedi Slimane at Saint Laurent - the trend continued furiously in 2013.
Marc Jacobs left his 15 year tenure at Louis Vuitton, Emma Hill left Burberry, Stuart Vevers left Loewe, Rossella Jardini left Moschino after 20 years and Marco Zanini left Rochas. New appointments and successors felt like the end of an era, and these were announcements made just in the latter part of the year.
But despite the shuffling of fashion's version of musical chairs, British designers and British business surged in 2013. Last January the French luxury group Kering, formerly PPR, announced its purchase of Christopher Kane's brand, the first London label to see investment since Alexander McQueen back in 2001. This was followed in autumn with news of similar investment by LVMH in the footwear label Nicholas Kirkwood, and London Fashion Week newcomer JW Anderson.
business boom in 2013
New flagship store opening were announced by Celine, Roksanda Ilincic, Victoria Beckham and also Christopher Kane. Tom Ford, Belstaff, Longchamp and a refurbished Alexander McQueen flagship on Bond Street were just some of the new openings that were seen during the September London Fashion Week shows. 2013 also gave rise to the pop-up concept, with emerging labels and brands taking up temporary spaces all over the country, from empty high street vacancies, to in-store collaborations and special pop-up destinations.
2013 was also a year of collaborations, merging fashion and art, like Damien Hirst and Alexander McQueen's collaboration, or designer and high street, like the highly anticipated Isabel Marant for H&M. Superga announced a capsule collection with style blogger The Man Repeller, Eudon Choi teamed up with River Island, Helena Christinsen designed a handbag collection for Kipling, Todd Lynn joined Designers at Debenhams, luxury house Loewe collaborated with Junya Watanabe from Comme des Garcons, L'Wren Scott added a touch of glamour with her collection for Banana Republic, Maison Martin Margiela got sparkly with Swarovski and Karl Lagerfeld designed eyewear for Italia Independent. And those are just a handful of collaborative efforts that took place over the course of the year.
2013 was also a year of new social media platforms, with Pinterest and Instagram taking an equal spot on the stage alongside Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. Social media got more sophisticated and in 2013 made its way into the boardroom with brands integrating its messages across web, email, and mobile channels, as well as in-store. 2013 also saw a new visual and technology trend emerge, with Instagram leading the way with beautiful filtered images to highly viral memes on Tumblr, proving visual content is the most successful for igniting consumer engagement.
Advertising changed its course too, as consumers bought less magazines and interactive, local marketing took an increasing social role. This culminated in a rise of in-stream paid-for placements such as Promoted Tweets on Twitter and Sponsored Stories on Facebook, as well as further options on the likes of YouTube, Tumblr and Spotify. Gucci's AW13 digital ad is a good example of changing media, the brand added a "Pin It" button to its campaign image, allowing users to share images with their Pinterest followers, which linked directly to Gucci’s e-commerce site.
Luxury menswear continued to grow in 2013, with many dubbing 'men as the new women.' With a growth rate of 14 percent per year, the menswear fashion calendar has become increasingly important. The UK launched its first menswear fashion week, called London Collections: Men, which debuted in June. In September the British Fashion Council launched the Designer Menswear Fund, a 200,000 pound fund to provide high level business mentoring and professional business services to an established British menswear company.
But 2013 was not without controversy, and the appointment of Christopher Bailey as the CEO of Burberry sparked a major dividing debate. Abercrombie and Fitch also hit the headlines, when it refused to offer XXL sizing in its womenswear, saying its brand was marketed at 'cool kids.' Karl Lagerfelt got himself in hot water with his comments the depletion of social security is due to diseases “caught by people who are too fat.” New York Fashion Week also took a beating for their lack of diversity when figures released 80 percent of its catwalk models were white.
The wheels of fashion will keep spinning though, and despite all the shuffling, the changes and the gaffe's, 2014 is well underway with the start of the new menswear season. New trends are emerging as we speak, and surely there will be lots of new stories, new appointments, new collaborations and new controversies announced imminently.
Image: Louis Vuitton SS14