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This takes the joy out of design. We’ve become less than merchants. We’re now primarily strategists, designing into trend, not creating new ideas. And always with one eye on an exit plan! Daily I’m told by brands that the Series A raise is around the corner. This comes from start-ups — from companies that don’t yet have revenues. There is no discussion any longer of building a sustainable company, utilizing seed money from friends and family and growing organically. The need for making money by cultivating proper margins and modest overhead to sustain the growth is rarely discussed. Margin needs are secondary to volume, cash flow is negative, retained earnings are not even a thought. The focus is on creating brand awareness through social, and finding investors who can help the company scale, regardless of profit and loss, on the way. The sad logic behind this way of thinking is that there’s always someone else out there who will take out the existing investors if the brand has become “big” enough, not “profitable” enough.‘ data-reactid=”29″>This takes the joy out of design. We’ve become less than merchants. We’re now primarily strategists, designing into trend, not creating new ideas. And always with one eye on an exit plan! Daily I’m told by brands that the Series A raise is around the corner. This comes from start-ups — from companies that don’t yet have revenues. There is no discussion any longer of building a sustainable company, utilizing seed money from friends and family and growing organically. The need for making money by cultivating proper margins and modest overhead to sustain the growth is rarely discussed. Margin needs are secondary to volume, cash flow is negative, retained earnings are not even a thought. The focus is on creating brand awareness through social, and finding investors who can help the company scale, regardless of profit and loss, on the way. The sad logic behind this way of thinking is that there’s always someone else out there who will take out the existing investors if the brand has become “big” enough, not “profitable” enough.

This is a fine model for money movers and investors, but it’s a tragic one for fashion. It strips the heart out of our industry. It turns us into a commodity that can be bought and sold regardless of the integrity of the product, the design, the expression. Integrity, creativity, novelty and authenticity become catchwords and marketing phrases, not foundations of a brand. Fashion has always been the bellwether of change, the predictor of tomorrow. Fashion challenges the status quo. It allows the consumer to feel good, to experiment, to take advantage of self-expression. And it needs to be driven by designers who share that craving for great art, originality and design, not just spread sheets, exit strategies and white-space hunting. When we forsake what’s uplifting and inspiring about a profession and art form for the allure of impassionate, quick money, we spiral down the rabbit hole of irrelevancy. American designers need to be globally embraced. We once were. We once lead. Now we chase, and our talent, our designers, are losing the allure of their front row seats.‘ data-reactid=”33″>This is a fine model for money movers and investors, but it’s a tragic one for fashion. It strips the heart out of our industry. It turns us into a commodity that can be bought and sold regardless of the integrity of the product, the design, the expression. Integrity, creativity, novelty and authenticity become catchwords and marketing phrases, not foundations of a brand. Fashion has always been the bellwether of change, the predictor of tomorrow. Fashion challenges the status quo. It allows the consumer to feel good, to experiment, to take advantage of self-expression. And it needs to be driven by designers who share that craving for great art, originality and design, not just spread sheets, exit strategies and white-space hunting. When we forsake what’s uplifting and inspiring about a profession and art form for the allure of impassionate, quick money, we spiral down the rabbit hole of irrelevancy. American designers need to be globally embraced. We once were. We once lead. Now we chase, and our talent, our designers, are losing the allure of their front row seats.

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