Matthew Miller, the established British menswear designer, “known for engaging his utilitarian fashion with a political discourse,” sounded off on fast fashion and the state of fashion industry with Hunger magazine recently. According to the London-based publication, “Stripped from pretension, his brand clearly identifies itself as a product, yet one that can subvert the lines between art and commerce depending on who’s wearing it, the power is relocated to the buyer.” Here are some of the most striking excerpts from that conversation …
Fast fashion is dominating the fashion headlines right now, what is your take on it – is it workable?
‘Fast Fashion’ is parasitical in its very nature. It kills people and ideas, destroys our environment and independent businesses. If that works for you then by all means fill your boots!
What are the new challenges that designers face due to the changes in how people consume fashion?
People’s attentions spans have significantly shortened, which makes ideas far more disposable. Everyone wants something new, something different, at 50% discount and they want it yesterday.
Is fashion kind enough to itself? Can creativity continue to thrive if the system stays as it is?
The only issue at the moment in fashion is that huge multi-million pound companies growth has slowed down due to global issues. Shareholders are not happy about this so companies have no choice but to find a solution. That solution is to alter the way the business operates to either save money, increase profitability or reconnect with core consumers to sell them more.
As for new independent designers, we have to design a system that suits our needs rather than working in the confines of an outdated one. Long before Vetements came along and “changed the system”, I said and did put menswear and womenswear together on the catwalk and looked to sell them at the same time. To me this made perfect sense as it cuts cost and drives through production and delivery much earlier, giving the product a longer amount of time to perform in such a crowded market.
This was always the way I wanted to structure my business – the same way I design my collections – with thought, precision and consequence in mind. The fashion press couldn’t seem to understand why I was doing it, subsequently ignored it and now three years later, Paris-based designers are genius for implementing it.
What further changes do you see on the horizon? And how do you plan to change your business model, if at all?
I don’t plan on changing it. I designed my business model three years ago and it works.