Designer Azzedine Alaïa Says Current Pace of Fashion is “Inhuman”

by , 07/08/11   filed under: Eco-Fashion News, Green Designers

Alaia, Azzedine Alaia, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style, slow fashion, fast fashion

Unless you’ve been living under a rock with those guys from that Geico commercial, you’re probably used to fast fashion—wear it today, trash it tomorrow. But fashion’s ruthless pace isn’t just unsustainable, it’s also “inhuman,” according to designer Azzedine Alaïa. “Today there is no time for creativity; nobody has time to develop a special silhouette or a special fabric,” the Tunisian-born couturier tells the Business of Fashion. “Four collections for women, four collections for men, another four collections to sell, and everything needs do be done within four, five months—it’s a one-way course towards emptiness. It’s inhuman.”

Alaia, Azzedine Alaia, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style, slow fashion, fast fashion


Remember that scene in Clueless where Cher (played by Alicia Silverstone) is being held at gunpoint but refuses to drop to the ground because it might ruin her dress? “Oh, no,” she pleads. “You don’t understand; this is an Alaïa.” Yes, we just quoted Clueless to make a point, but here it is: You don’t refuse an armed gunman’s request for just any designer. Would Cher have hesitated the same way if she were wearing Forever 21? We think not.

“You don’t understand; this is an Alaïa,” Cher pleads to an armed robber in Clueless.

Once upon a time, making and selling just a handful of exquisite garments at a time—like wearable pieces of art—was something to aspire to. Alaïa, for one, hasn’t forgotten that. Rather than churning garment after garment every season like many fashion houses do, Alaïa prefers to work—and show—at his leisure. “I refuse to work in a static rhythm,” he says. “Why should I sacrifice my creativity to that? That’s not fashion, that’s industrial work.”

But in an industry that believes who makes the most clothes wins, designers are being squeezed out like lemons, then tossed aside, according to Alaïa. “Look what has happened to John Galliano or this poor young guy from Balmain, who is now in a psychiatric hospital,” he says. “After five or six seasons, he was already broken. Or last year, McQueen—dead. And there are many more that are just so tired. There is a pressure that is mad.”

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One Response to “Designer Azzedine Alaïa Says Current Pace of Fashion is “Inhuman””

  1. millinerium says:

    This is absolutely brilliant and states so eloquently the things I’ve been saying for a while now. True art can’t be rushed. Sometimes it happens quickly; sometimes it takes years to finish a piece properly. Vermeer (the painter) didn’t churn out hundreds of paintings – instead, he took his time and created a small set of gorgeous masterpieces that still inspire us today.

    I’m relieved to hear this fashion icon advocating for a return to sanity in production and true creativity in design. Maybe if we designers didn’t cater to The Machine, our patrons would appreciate the ART in design much more…and be willing to compensate us more appropriately, too.

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