McQueen - the diabolical lie that London is changing!

Expert Advice

As the compelling new documentary on Alexander McQueen launches in early June, the fashion industry can look to this authentic portrait of his life and career to see what lessons can be learned for fashion talent today. We can expect to see a lot of debates in the press about his extraordinary talent and whether the industry failed him. 

In the Sunday Times Style Magazine on May 27th Colin McDowell wrote about some of his memories of Lee McQueen and the opening quote really stood out and led to this post. The brilliant article made me reflect on how long the fashion industry system has been in trouble and the consequences for start-up labels.

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McDowell wrote “Fashion commentators are so poncy,” the 27-year-old Alexander McQueen told me the first time I interviewed him in March 1996 for this newspaper (The Sunday Times). “They keep saying London’s changing, getting better. That’s a diabolical lie. Look at my studio. Three days after a show and there’s nobody. Not a buyer. There’s nothing in London. If I didn’t have Paris and Milan for selling, where would I be? Great show? Who cares?” (COLIN MCDOWELL< SUNDAY TIMES STYLE MAGAZINE, MAY 2018)

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So it is shocking that over 20 years later designers are still continuing to show in London with the expectation that they will make sales. 

This was the early stages of his label for McQueen, as he had only graduated three years before this statement and he went on to great things but not necessarily as a result of his early shows. 

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At Start Your Own Fashion Label, for years our mentors have been advising designers to really consider the consequences of showing too early and blowing all their money on a show that may bring no return on investment. Sometimes it is better to stretch your money to ensure you can survive numerous seasons rather than blow it all in a show that could be a pure vanity project in the beginning.