The fashion director is a threatened species in These Times. Michael Fink lost his job as fashion director of Saks Fifth Avenue in January. LaVelle Olexa recently lost her job as fashion director of Lord & Taylor. Julie Gilhart, fashion director of Barneys, is safe, but, according to the New York Times, should be scared. The position of fashion director is increasingly viewed as expendable as retailers lose boatloads of cash and slash staff. What do fashion directors do, exactly? They decide which trends, products, and designers a retailer store should promote, and how. They might put a bunch of pink men's shirts in a window with a banner that reads "Think Pink." They discover and promote new talent, conceive ad campaigns and floor displays. They tell buyers what to order. They create a store's image.
But in this economy, image isn't nearly as important as not losing any more money, God help us. (Saks lost $99 million in the fourth quarter.) Retailers are more interested in commercial items that will sell than, say, having the latest Balenciaga no one can afford in the middle of the store. But also, with shows like Project Runway and blogs like this one that anyone can comment on, anyone can be a fashion director in their own right. We don't need real fashion directors to tell us what to wear. The all-powerful Internet and reality TV will guide us! And let's not forget fashion's living, breathing stimulus package, Michelle Obama, who can shut down J.Crew's website merely by wearing a pair of the store's gloves.
Since fashion directors operate under a diminished role, they busy themselves these days with things like making store appearances, talking to reporters, and making Internet videos, serving more as the face of their respective retail establishments than as merchandise influencers. It's only a matter of time before one of them lands a reality-TV show, which Julie Gilhart should definitely be trying to do right now. It would keep her job safe and be genius, obviously. Bravo, we'll take a commission on that idea via PayPal. Thanks.
Most Viewed Stories
Elizabeth Warren Just Said What Most Women Wish They Could to Donald Trump
Blake Lively Reportedly Just Gave Birth, and You’ll Never Guess Who’s Running to the Hospital
I Tried Hillary Clinton’s Diet and Now I Sympathize With Her
Brad Pitt Fights Back Against Angelina Jolie and Her Plot to ‘Destroy’ Him
What It’s Like to Be a Female Reporter Covering Donald Trump
The Mysterious Deaths of Two Sisters in a Luxury Hotel
Prince George Has No Time for Justin Trudeau’s High Fives
Looks Like Kate Middleton Is Enjoying the View in Canada
It’s Time to Stop Writing ‘I Hope You’re Well’ in Emails
Here Are the 5 Most Random Anecdotes From Tiffany Trump’s New York Times Profile
From Our Partners
The Zoe Report
powered by PubExchange
Latest News from The CutAngelina Jolie’s Latest PR Move Is Ingenious
She reportedly told social workers Brad Pitt hit Maddox, but that she doesn’t want Pitt prosecuted for abuse.Here Are the 5 Most Random Anecdotes From Tiffany Trump’s New York Times Profile
She did the photo shoot, though.Sarah Silverman Remains Baffled by ‘Bernie or Bust’ Folks
The comedian appeared on Real Time With Bill Maher to discuss the upcoming election.Like You, Anna Kendrick Is Mourning The Great British Bake Off’s Untimely Demise
Anna Kendrick thinks Mel and Sue are “folk heroes,” and is also a little bit scared of Paul Hollywood.Chris Hemsworth Presents His Glorious Bottom for All the World to See
A new angle.Elizabeth Warren Just Said What Most Women Wish They Could to Donald Trump
She went on a Friday tweetstorm.Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on Why Being a Feminist and Loving Makeup Aren’t Mutually Exclusive
Contrary to that egg’s recent tweet.Yes, You Should Intervene If You Think a Child Is Being Abused
The safety of the child should come first.Gigi Hadid Is Now Designing Fall Boots
Would you wear the “Gigi”?Of Course These Two Celebrities Are Friends
They ate raw food together at a vegan restaurant.
Photographs from the new book Inge Morath: On Style.Joe Biden Spoke Out Against Rape Culture on The Tonight Show
“Any man who takes a drunk woman up the stairs in a fraternity house is a damn coward, man.”Samantha Bee, Gloria Steinem, Gayle King, and More Women Told Us How to Deal With Mansplainers
Samantha Bee’s advice: “I clamsplain right back.”These Diamonds Are As Cool As They Are Affordable
Simple studs for multiple holes.3 Brilliant Shows From Paris
Balmain, Rick Owens, and Galliano at Margiela deliver.The Mad-Scientist Designer Making Clothes From a Single Thread
Designer Jeanne Vicerial is pushing the limits of what we consider fashion.What Does Girl-Power Makeup Look Like?
Dior’s first female creative director has a simple interpretation.The Mysterious Deaths of Two Sisters in a Luxury Hotel
Annie and Robin Korkki were found dead in a private Seychelles villa.Gwyneth Paltrow Tortures Her Trainer by Playing Justin Timberlake on Repeat
Tracy Anderson admits she hates training Gwyneth Paltrow.Here’s a Depressing But Helpful Suggestion: Buy Your Winter Stuff Now
Because nothing is worse than trudging through a snow pile in a thin coat and leaky boots.