Is Fast Fashion Killing Creativity?

Some things take time. If you plant a seed in the ground, a flower will not instantly bloom out of it. It will need time to grow until it can reveal itself to the world in its full beauty. The same goes for creativity. You cannot push or force it, as muses tend to come as they please and just like your shadow, no meter how fast you chase them, they will escape. As Raf Simons said, ideas need incubation time and sadly it seems like the fast world of nowadays fashion doesn’t care.

We live in fast times. It seems like life has switched to the fourth gear and we all need to keep up. In terms of fashion, speed has (at least) doubled. Designers used to present two seasons, logically divided into fall/winter and spring/summer. Now there’s also resort, which I can’t quite understand the need for. There are also the “pre” collections, like pre fall and pre spring. Those tend to confuse me even more than resort, but I guess that making smaller collections more frequently was fashion’s way of dealing with the economy crisis. There is one more that we must remember, the oldest of all, her majesty haute couture. So, while producing all these collections in one year, how is a designer suppose to manage being creative with so many projects. Raf Simons departing Dior puts limelight this problem. Here’s how Mr. Simons explained it :”When you do six shows a year, there’s not enough time for the whole process,” he told Cathy Horyn in an interview for System magazine, used on the Business of Fashion. “Technically, yes – the people who make the samples, do the stitching, they can do it. But you have no incubation time for ideas, and incubation time is very important. When you try an idea, you look at it and think, Hmm, let’s put it away for a week and think about it later. But that’s never possible when you have only one team working on all the collections.”

raf simons dior
Image from Vogue Magazine

He goes on talking about how they established two teams and divided the work, hoping that it would help. But, his hectic schedule was still not getting better. After a few years of stress and not finding the solution Raf quit. “Technically speaking, it works. Does it work for me emotionally? No, because I’m not the kind of person who likes to do things so fast. I think if I had more time, I would reject more things, and bring other ideas or concepts in… There’s never enough time. You get a tension. I know how to pull out from this in my personal life. We go and look at nature for three hours. It’s heaven. We go to a bakery and buy a bag of stuff and lie in the grass. Sublime. But how to do that in the context of your professional life? You buy a house and you start doing pottery or something?”

We must understand him as a human and as a designer. If fashion focuses on speed it might pay the price with killing creativity. I hope that instead, we all decide to slow down a bit. Brands will maybe focus on doing less but being better, and we will focus on buying less but buying better. It seems like both the industry and the customer still have a lot to learn in order to make fashion world better.

Ivona Josipovic

Ivona Josipovic is a co-founder of The Smoke Detector, writer, fashion stylist, social media manager, curious creature, chocolate lover.

  1. Wow, such a great article, Ivona! I agree, everything is moving way too fast, including fashion. Fast fashion shops are poping up everywhere and the pressure placed on designers is growing more and more intense. I agree, it’s killing the creative process. Will this mean that eventually we’re all going to be looking alike, I don’t know, maybe! Throughout recent years, i’ve been noticing a lot of replicas within the fashion world and I feel because of the pressure placed on brands and labels to produce so quickly, they’re taking too much inspiration from each other in some instances and thus, killing not only the creative process, but the individuality represented in those brands; essentially what separates them from the rest. I mean, how many different designers are now creating purses that look a little too similar to Celiné’s micro luggage purse?!

    I’ve learned up until recently within my personal life and blog approach, that less with more concentration is more. There was a time I was doing way too much and as a result, I wasn’t able to put my all into one thing primarily, therefore giving my half best at each. Then again, because of the fast paced culture, immediate and instant information and fashion is expected and if it’s not given, then you’re almost irrelevant. Something does indeed need to change.

    Thanks for posing this question and addressing this important issue, not only for the world of fashion, but for the world and quality of our lives as a whole. I always enjoy reading your articles because they’re relevant and create a very great dialogue, thank you 🙂

    I hope you have a lovely day, beautiful!



    1. Thanks so much for your comments, Jalisa! I always enjoy reading your opinion 🙂 I agree, the creativity is being put in the back seat. It seems it’s all about the profit and expanding stores, and the more shops we have the more similar clothes we can buy. This lack of diversity is also affecting our own individualities, as we’re all starting to wear the same things. It is hard to express yourself with fashion if there aren’t many options. Maybe vintage is the key, back from the times when it was all about quality and not quantity.

  2. I have been wondering the same thing. I find that nowadays fashion moves fast just for the sake of bringing out something ‘new’ but in the end the ‘new’ lacks originality and is forgotten as quickly as it emerged. we all have a clear vision of what the decades of the past century stand for. But for me, personally, somewhere around the turn of the millenium, whatever has happened in fashion has become undefinable for me.


    1. I agree, Anouk. It seems as trends change too quickly and nothing really leaves a mark, so when I look back there is not much that stands out in the last two decades of fashion. I see many affordable brands constantly copying big houses and each other. Sometimes it seems like everyone has same items just in different colours and sizes. Let’s hope things will get better.

  3. Great article. I beliEve Fast everything, not only fashion, is killing creativity. I could see it while working for the magazine for few years. We were pushed to produce more and more content because they didn’t want to pay so many journalists as before. Finally I decided to leave because one is not able to keep the same quality with no time to think about the ideas. I feel sorry for Raf Simons. I’ve seen the movie Dior and I, and admired his work, same as the work of the whole team.


    1. I agree with you. The movie was so nice and you could really see that he cares about his work. Hope people will start appreciating quality and not quantity.

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