Fashion Matrix: A Contemporary Approach to Fashion Design

The fourth and final day of Fashion Forward Season 2 starts with an enlightening speech by Barbara Trebitsch on today’s approach to fashion design. The panel discussion is entitled “Fashion Matrix: A Contemporary Approach to Fashion Design”.

Trebitsch has been the Director of the Domus Academy Fashion Design Department since 2006 and in 2013, she became Head of Fashion School of Domus Academy. She is currently in the Board of Piattaforma Sistema Formativo Moda in Milan, which is the association of fashion schools, as well as of the Colloquium Series by DA, London College of Fashion, IFM and Parsons NY. Being an expert on fashion design and trends analysis, Trebitsch is also having her own jersey womenswear line.

All style-addicted people around the globe like us always search for the latest trends. What’s fashionable right now, what colours, what silhouettes, what shapes. What’s the hottest trend and how to incorporate it in our personal style? However, from the point of view of a designer, too, Barbara Trebitsch, reveals trends today are not what they used to be. “Trends don’t exist any more!”, she says.”If you approach your collection with trends in mind, there is no guarantee you will be successful.” Color charts and silhouette trends are gone, according to her. No designer follows them anymore. Successful, creative designers shouldn’t blindly copy what’s hot this year in tones or fabrics. “Many designers are taking inspiration of social life.”

So, how does it work? Barbara says, “It is all about identity, inspiration and innovation”. Consumers can recognize themselves in what the brand is conveying, not just in an individual piece. The identity and the message of your brand is what matters today. “A designer should be the brand of himself.”

But how can you be innovative and original with every piece, with every single collection?  “Now designers work on many collections. But creativity can not sustain such pace.” True, we are living in a dynamic world, with rapidly changing market rules and consumer trends. Many designers try to work as much as they can, to provide as many products as possible in order to be competitive. “We are not necessarily forced to be so productive, but it is important to deliver quality even on our own pace”. It’s the quality, not the quantity what matters. “A startup collection should be of about 40 pieces otherwise it might be boring.”

Barbara is from Italy, one of the fashion centers of the world, and has a deep knowledge on fashion design, creativeness and trends. Speaking with confidence and from great experience, she is extremely informative and engaging. She continues to explain passionately about the importance of brand identity. “Nowadays”, she says, people are buying brands.” You need to be original and show your true self to the world. Constant improvement and progress are keys to your success. “Never be happy with what you do! You brain approach should challenge constant evolution. You should go on constant improvement.”

“Look at other designers works for informational purposes, but do not get inspiration from them, because you will become a copycat. Copycats are unforgivable”, says Barbara.

Designers should focus on what they do best. “As designer you need to know where is your strength and place your talent in the right type of products, it could be denim, bedding, haute couture.”

Of course, speaking of contemporary approach, we can never escape one topic – the role of technology. “The web is a problem”, admits Barbara. “Social media may cause a revolution even in fashion design. The flow of information is tremendous. Now students do not go into details, but stay on the surface of research. They simply search the web, but there is no attention to detail.”

Designers should be careful with technologies and the Internet.“We have to use the web in a proper way, but not to become transporters.”

And how to achieve success? “Now is not the moment for solo player. You should put together a lot of different professions to work as a team.” Gather people with different expertise in your team in order to share your knowledge and improve your efforts. “Mix and match information. Don’t take the easy part only. Don’t rely on the web only.”

Another big thing designers should pay attention to is luxury. “Now people are more selective.” They prefer higher quality, luxury, limited-edition pieces. “Virtual cabins to try clothes and touch fabrics are in exploration and will soon be available.” So, technology can help after all!

Barbara’s presentation closes with a short video of  “The Capsulle Collection”.

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