Design connections

Aniv Von Borche is one of the new wave of up and coming New York fashion designers who has already made a name for himself in the fashion world as an exciting young innovator. At only 25 years of age he has already worked with designer Patricia Field who was the Sex and the City stylist and also with fashion designer Anna Sui. He trained in Milan, London and New York, graduating from the Instituto di  Moda Burgo in Milan in 2007. Based in Milan, New York and Sweden he launched his own label in 2010 and has successfully shown at the Copenhagen and Stockholm fashion weeks. His style is modern sophistication, blending Scandinavian minimalist with New York downtown chic and a touch of classic Italian high fashion.

Scandinavian style

Scandinavian style, like their food and fiction is currently riding high in the popularity stakes in all areas of the fashion industry from the high street to the catwalk. Scandinavian minimalist describes the style perfectly with simple clean lines, basic colours and practical shapes and lengths. Scandinavians are famous for their gender equality and shared childrearing duties and this is reflected in their style with women opting for some fairly mannish shapes that don’t particularly differ from their men-folk’s attire.

Flat shoes are popular which suit the landscape and their cobbled cityscape equally and are ideal for both walking and cycling. Cropped ankle length trousers have been a Scandinavian standard for much longer than the rest of the world and fall under the ‘practical but stylish’ label as they look good on both sexes while avoiding wet hems and splashes in Nordic weather. And talking about the weather, the Scandinavian secret to staying stylish throughout their long winter is to layer to the nth degree, removing and adding layers as necessary for the environment they’re in. And although there are occasional bursts of vivid colour the mainstay colour palate in Scandinavian style is monochrome, with black, white and navy (and shades thereof) being the most popular colours. Scandinavians like to look chic but not like they tried too hard. ‘Simple and effortless’ is the phrase that perfectly defines the look.

Here to stay

The recent influx of designers arriving from Denmark and Sweden are all unique but share a set of core traits which include bold silhouettes and colour as well as the shared values of; attention to detail, high quality, excellent design and practicality but with a dash of the avant garde. Trends, as always, come and go but the current Scandinavian deluge in the UK is no flash in the pan trend with the high street exhibiting a large dose of the ‘Scandi-effect’ in the form of the established H&M along with the more recent brands of Monki, Cos and Cheap Monday. Individual Scandinavian designers include; Carin Wester a new Swedish designer who has successfully collaborated with Urban Outfitters and Fillippa K, who is already a household name in Sweden and is famous for her sleek and edgy contemporary ‘Armani-esk’ minimal design separates.

So whether you love or hate the ‘Scandi-Cool’ fashion movement or just don’t get it, it seems to be a long term trend with major UK fashion retailers, such as Selfridges, Liberty and Harvey Nichols happily stocking all these brands which seem to meet a gap in the fashion market in the ‘effortlessly cool’ department.

 

The financial difficulties of the fashion industry

The fashion industry is a highly competitive and ruthless arena for businesses to operate in with the highly prized opportunity of winning a share of this multi-billion pound market at stake. While there many obvious success stories of organisations and individuals who continue to reap the financial rewards, there are also many instances of business failure and ruined careers.

There are many different views on why so many designers and organisations struggle to survive in this lucrative market. A common factor however would seem to be the necessity of having not just very high levels of design skills but also a keenly honed business sense and sound understanding of the complexities of running a commercial business. This would seem to be a combination of skills reserved only for the chosen few.

Recent high profile business failures have included Loehmann’s, the States based designer chain who filed for bankruptcy for the third time and Nicole Farhi the UK designer who went bankrupt after many years of what seemed to be successful trading.

Many of these struggling individuals and businesses have experienced the challenges of requiring financial assistance and debt help but unfortunately for some it was not enough to reverse the downturn and solve the fundamental problems. This has resulted in businesses having to close and personal financial problems for the designers and business owners which have included being forced into formal debt solutions such as an individual voluntary arrangement or a trust deed and even having to declare bankruptcy.

There have also been many examples of celebrities from a range of unrelated backgrounds who have entered the fashion market to their cost such as Lindsay Lohan, and Kevin Federline. It can be a fickle industry that shows no favouritism and doesn’t discriminate in its high demands for success.

 

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