An engaging hour’s talk filled with industry experience and trend observation of who, and what, dictates fashion, was held in Katie Murphy Amphitheater on Thursday. “What Makes a Good Creative Director?” was moderated by Faces & Places instructor Joshua Williams.
- L-R David Wolfe, Emmett Shine, Piera Gelardi
One challenging topic was the response to fashion in the economic downturn. “There was never more luxury than in the 30s,” said David Wolfe of The Doneger Group. “Will the middle class find a way to be inspirational or feel trapped in the new financial landscape that they’ll go for the generic…Some will have called it correctly and others will be off by a mile.”
Piera Gelardi of Refinery99 noted regional differences in fashion. “Even though fashion is becoming worldwide there’s still a lot that’s local…Cities have their own style.”
“There’s a degree of homogenization…brands have leveled out,” said Wolfe. “I don’t think we have a fashion dictatorship. We don’t have to buy something to be in style.
“Customers are playing a larger role,” in fashion said Emmett Shine of Gin Lane Media. Yet creative directors he said still need to call the shots when they have a “gut feeling.”
“Staying true to your customers but not staying irrelevant,” is Gelardi’s approach. “People are trying new ways of testing products–to have people vote on products–it’s changing the whole brand system.”
Shine said he liked the “democratization” of social media. “I have my own taste but it’s fine for people to figure it out on their own.” But you have to know your “voice, vision and narrative” he said.
- A diverse panel of creative directors
Social media, the panel agreed, doesn’t replace meeting people and sharing ideas. “People who are at the right place and the right time put themselves at the right place and the right time 10 times,” said Shine.
On that note Piera, was keen to advise students “exceed expectations.”
Students lingered to ask questions. “It’s an awesome for students to be in touch with the brands they admire and the people who make the brands go round,” said FMM student, Claudette McQueen. “It makes it less fantasy and more tangible.”
Photos provided by The Doneger Group