Off the Runway
Let me start by explaining my responsibilites as an intern at Salvatore Ferragamo. I work in the Public Relations department, which oversees the traffic of product samples to and from various clients, mainly magazines and celebrities. On a day-to-day basis this means logging each and every item that we send out, be it a pair of shoes, a handbag, or several outfits, and subsequently logging it all back in as we receive it (and oftentimes sending it right back out again to another photoshoot). It's a very fast-paced, high-stress environment and requires a lot of organization in trying to fulfill requests on time, trying to get the pieces back from whoever they are logged out to, and constantly trying to keep track of a lot of things all at one time. Sometimes it involves celebrity fittings where high profile clients will come in to find an outfit for an event they are attending, which is a fun little perk to see the occasional famous person. It's also really fun to see the end result of our efforts when I'm flipping through a magazine and I see an outfit used in a photoshoot or I'm scrolling through a news article online and I see a celebrity wearing a Ferragamo dress.
One thing is for sure working in the PR department in that we are exceedingly familiar with the runway looks from the current season (FW15) and the upcoming season (SS16). Oftentimes, when we are contacted for a request it is directly referencing a look from a particular season (for example if Allure asked for the skirt from look 4 from the runway show from the Fall/Winter '15 presentation). As I said, this makes us very familiar with the array of products that Ferragamo offers and especially with the looks that graced the Ferragamo runways in Milan. Recently as I was online shopping, as I have been known to do from time to time, I stumbled upon a strikingly similar rendition of a Ferragamo top and I was inspired to create my own runway inspired outfit.
This is an obvious example of the tendency of trends and looks to trickle down through the fashion industry. Recall the iconic scene from The Devil Wears Prada:
Andy naïvely scoffs at Miranda Priestly as she makes the decision between two similar looking brown belts. Miranda is quick to put her in her place, however. "Oh. Okay. I see," she sneers. "You think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select... I don't know... that lumpy blue sweater, for instance because you're trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don't know is that that sweater is not just blue, it's not turquoise. It's not lapis. It's actually cerulean. And you're also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar de la Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves Saint Laurent... wasn't it who showed cerulean military jackets...And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of eight different designers. And then it, uh, filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic Casual Corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and it's sort of comical how you think that you've made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you're wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room from a pile of 'stuff.'"
A prime example of the way trends classically work their way through the industry and influence the color of a sweater or even a spiral notebook that happens to be shimmery silver when, in fact, it's likely that the shimmery silver is a trend that has worked its way through the circuits. In the current world of fast fashion, trends move so quickly through stores like Zara or H&M that it's almost hard to keep up -- by the time you've bought into one trend the world is moving onto the next. This is a huge negative impact of today's fashion industry. In order to produce the trends quickly, companies cut corners and worry less about sustainability and more about profitability. And from a consumer standpoint, these cheap trends once they have faded become disposable, and suddenly that fringe vest you only wore once winds up as part of a cacophony of other rejects in a landfill where it will sit degrading the environment around it for years to come. It's difficult as a twenty-something in this addictive fashion environment to find ways to cut back on consumption, but knowing the hard truth is a first step towards recovering the industry from the spiral it's heading towards.
(I wore a high-necked color block tank top from Anthropologie over a black slit pencil skirt from White House Black Market, black pointed-toe suede Ferragamo heels -- similar here, and silver and gold earrings from Olive + Piper.)
Thanks Carter for the photos! Check out: Carter Fish Photography