Unlike many designers who choose to base themselves in fashion capitals such as Paris, London or New York, the designer Karen Walker is based in Auckland, New Zealand. In a recent op piece in the Business of Fashion, Karen Walker reflected how years ago she would also have had agreed that there is a disadvantage from being thousands of miles from fashion capitals of the worlds. However, the role of technology has made the geographic distance “virtuously unnoticeable.”
Increasingly, conversations about fashion are taking place on the digital landscape, and retail is increasingly moving towards the e-commerce space. What trumps geographic advantages is having quality ideas and conversations, and staying in pace with the rhythm of the global fashion system. Fashion brands need to keep track of the reinvention in the space, and equally important the obsolescence of what is in fashion today. This process has recently been accelerated given the speed of digital sharing of fashion trends, and how quickly retail brands can update their physical store offerings, and even quicker e-commerce offerings.
Karen suggests that consumers are increasingly product-based in their selection of pieces, going farther away from having their favorite brands from head-to-toe. She suggests the development of “small collections of well considered product,” as opposed to large collections encompassing every corner of the consumer’s wardrobe. Karen Walker also takes a new approach of no longer having fashion shows, and instead is finding other ways to engage with the industry and consumers. The designer again highlights the importance of keeping track of global trends, and the impact of e-commerce in the fashion industry. Her own experience shows that geographic distance is no longer an hindrance with the advent of technology and its tools to keep pace with the rapidly changing retail and fashion landscape.