In this afternoon’s series of ASOS talks, Graduate Fashion Week sponsors M&S’s head of women’s wear shed some light on the process of designing, producing and marketing a collection. In this rare bit of insight into one of the biggest names in high street fashion’s process, we were taken through the complex journey of what these experts do each season. Big retailers work like “a well oiled ship”, with many parts to play, much like the large Paris based fashion houses we’re all too familiar with from re-watching Dior and I for the hundredth time on Netflix.
For this season’s journey it all started with a board. Inspiration began to flow in from minimalist summer influences on Pinterest and Instagram, two important sources they revealed to us today. However this season became something much more than just a collection, but an innovative movement within high street fashion that reflects the outer changing tide of the entire industry. Buy now wear now brands, as well as fashion risk takers such as Vetements and Demna Gvsalia made a lasting impression on their board, which became the movement of this season.
Despite the forecasted change in process for M&S, commerciality was still a key component in their design development, which led to inevitable cuts. Following came the ecommerce force that defines 2016’s way of shopping, with a cutting edge online presence and social media accounts on all platforms. The remarkable ladies at M&S outlined clearly the importance of bending with the winds of change in terms of digital presence, which has far out ruled print and old fashion methods for almost a decade.
Finally after several double page spreads in leading newspapers such as the Telegraph, and a new designer collaboration on the horizon (cough, Alexa Chung, cough), the scope of M&S has indeed widened. And what are their plans now you ask? Only forecasting trends for seasons you haven’t even thought about yet, with influencers you haven’t even heard about yet. There’s no rest for these ladies, who say “the key is keeping all your balls in the air when someone is screaming at you”. Their fashion collection journey teaches us all the importance of high street hits in the midst of high fashion.
Written by Tallulah Belassie-Page