I had the privilege (as Marlene from Chocolate N Cookies, and a great selection of fashion bloggers) to attend the meeting with Jonathan Saunders @ House of Grazia. I was definitely happy to meet the Grazia UK gang (I’ve worked with Ogilvy on the launch of the French version few years ago), and THE fashion designer that everybody talks about.
Jonathan Saunders gave an insightful & informal lecture on how fashion industry works. His kindness to answer sometimes tough question, his ability to also confess when he does not exactly know the answer, tend to prove that Saunders is not only a visionary talent, but also a team-player. And in an industry which needs to recruit new sorts of people and cover broaden topics, from entertainment to politics, we definitely bet on him.
Here are some key insights. For the comprehensive discussion, just read Grazia articles and watch the video; it’s really worth it.
1- Inheritance is part of your creative process
Jonathan Saunders is a rebel son of Jehovah’s Witnesses, but the young designer is also a defender of what his parents brought him at the end. He’s also proud of his Scottish origins, “Scottish people love clothes“, and he describes the Glasgow School as “intellectual, meaningful” while the London one is “multicultural, more frivolous“. This symbiosis can be perceived within his last collection. And as he says, his main focus is to answer this simple question: “How can we make fabrics more interesting?“.
2- “Listen to Women”
At the very beginning, Jonathan Saunders confess that as many designers, his collections were like “putting a painting on a dress“. But now, he designs his pieces in order to make them more wearable on a daily basis. And that’s something really true: you no longer want to dream about a certain style or outfit: you want to own it! It’s an echo to Burberry last shows in which you can directly buy the products online; or also the creations of Anthony Vaccarello, that any IT girl-next-door wants to have.
3- Social Media is the key player
It can sound obvious but now Jonathan Saunders considers that the “elite of fashion is challenged by a sort of democratization through social media“. Challenged, and not totally dismissed thus! Again, Saunders spend a lot of time monitoring what is said online, identifying weak signals, emerging trends. If fashion transforms anything, it’s then normal that fashion designers create value through our daily digital footprints.