Monday, 9 November 2009

The Power of a Name

When is a designer not a designer? And who decides? With stars and celebs queuing up to buy Victoria Beckham's collection, it is a question worth asking. We all assume that Kate Moss puts in nothing more than her name and a few indications of things she likes from the ideas brought to her for her Topshop 'collection'. And it is probably a fair assumption. But Victoria is being given the benefit of the doubt.

All of which is fine – unless you are a struggling young designer. Then it must surely make you wonder why you spent four years training in the hope that you might be the next Vionnet, or whoever. But for at least the last twenty years, fashion has been sold on the strength of its label, so it is the social power of that name rather than who actually designed any particular piece that has mattered. This means that the market is less and less interested in ideas, as customers buy into the aura of a personality, dead or alive.

Seems a pity.


  1. So true. Personally, I don't understand why VB is given the benefit of the doubt - but the fashion press are having a bit of a Brand Beckham love-in. OK so she has been buying designer clothes (shoes, handbags)for some time now, knows a thing or two about a body-con dress and her collection is quite nice, but let's be honest, she ain't no designer.

    If I had the choice and the money, I'd rather buy Lanvin.

  2. The sentiment behind this post is expressed succinctly and mirrors my thoughts exactly. I've recently been asked to comment about a brand that employs many celebrity "designers" and am struggling to not be too scathing! Celebrity, unfortunately, always sells, regardless of the quality, lack of input or design aesthetic.

  3. I am a young designer and I see your point, Colin. But if this were truly the case, why is the Industry supporting young designers through Fashion Fringe, New Gen, Vauxhall fashion Scout etc.? Wouldn't nuturing design talent be futile if talented, trained Designers were no longer valued? Victoria Beckham and Kate Moss will never create the desirable, covered pieces crafted by Alber Albaz or Nicholas Ghesquiere. And that's what fashion truly lives for.

  4. PS Obviously I'd support young British designers too (haven't completely missed the point of this post, Colin!)

  5. It is so, so depressing for young designers. Yet people buy it, just like they buy celebrity perfumes and celebrity 'novels'. When will the cult of celebrity end?