Designers Turn To Masses For Instruction

In addition to pop-up shops, online sample sales and fashion bloggers’ exponential rise to stardom, one of the most visible byproducts of the recession with regard to fashion has been a new found openness to what consumers want. “An array of European brands is conscripting consumers as never before, inviting them to give input into the design process with a bewildering choice of customization options and bespoke services,” says Women’s Wear Daily.

Dolce & Gabbana asked for shoppers’ feedback via a Youtube video, while Prada opened an entire store dedicated to made-to-order fashions in September. British designer Anya Hindmarch introduced bespoke leather goods into her repertoire. And, over at Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld has enlisted the help of ‘it’ girls like Leigh Lezark, Caroline Sieber and Poppy Delevigne to test out products and offer feedback before they ever hit stores. The movement marks a distinct change in the hierarchy of where designers are sourcing inspiration; not to mention it means fashion houses are finally looking to demand before spitting out supply. The latter is, of course, what fast fashion retailers have been doing for seasons by watching what shoppers are buying and wearing on the streets and then immediately introducing those same styles in stores.

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