I keep reading that a savior or the Messiah needs to sit in the front row of the collections which debut next week. Many consider that person to be Michelle Obama. Again and again, one reads that if she were to grace the front row it would send a message to the world that she will wave a magic wand and turn around this ailing industry. If only it were so simple. The truth is that it isn't her job, obligation or responsibility to do this. More so, it's not going to make any sort of difference. And most importantly, Mrs. Obama has more integrity and sense of purpose . The job of turning this situation around rests on all of OUR shoulders.
WWD wrote this week regarding the Credit Rating downgrades of several major department stores.This was not a surprise but still shocking. When that list included Nieman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue,Macy's and Nordstrom's, that pretty much killed the concept of their majority. These retailers have been the backbone of the American retail landscape as we've known it. There is a fundamental paradigm shift in the minds of the modern consumer..... they no longer consume.
When you consider this bitterly cold , hard fact you have to question the point of NY Fashion week. What does it hope to accomplish? How will it change and alter the prevailing mood? The solutions to this stalemate are a mystery ,but also very simple. You/we/all of us who can, must make a concerted effort to try to do something.Fashion is just one small facet of this struggling economy. There are many more grave situations that make this seem petty and frivolous. Nevertheless, it is an industry that many of us work in, have given our lives to and have been sustained by. The effort needs to come from us. Those of us who can in some small or larger way must take that step.
Like sit-ins in the 60's , we should stage SHOP-INS. They can be anywhere at any time. Get some friends together, it's more fun and effective in numbers, and go to a store and buy something. Hit the sale racks and get something useful. It could be as small as a lipstick or as big as a great gown that has been marked down to the ground. If we did this in stores of all levels once or twice a month or more and kept it up for a solid year, we might see a shift. That means 25 to 50 purchases over the next year for each of us. If some of those purchases are at full price for the fortunate ones who can afford it, then even better.
Perhaps Michelle Obama's wisest gesture is to make a point of purchasing the clothes she wears whether privately or publicly. THAT would be an example for all ....yes, that includes you too, CELEBRITIES.
On the Street…..Piazza Oberdan, Milan
1 hour ago