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Modern Fashion & tradition

Feb 3, 2022
Fashion Is Incorporating Haute Couture in the Modern Industry

The fashion industry is one of the most fast-paced industries on this planet. Whether people merely used clothing to protect one’s body or to show off a particular social class, this industry has constantly been evolving.

Along with its evolution, the society established different means of creating clothing. From humans producing clothes to machines replacing their work, the practice of Haute Couture has been around for centuries. However, with the constantly changing consumer habits at the emergence of the Prêt-à-Porter industry, Haute Couture and its popularity started to diminish.

Nevertheless, recent trends in consumer behavior and exciting insights from established guest speakers have shown that Haute Couture holds a significant value in the industry. In addition, the modern industry is incorporating it.

A look back at the fashion industry and its evolution

Fashion has been around for as long as humanity has. People were always looking for a way to cover their bodies and protect themselves from environmental factors. What started as protection became a diverse industry associated with a particular social status. Today, it also means expressing oneself as social and cultural structures progress.

The practice of creating clothes as craftsmanship gained more recognition during the industrial revolution. It was the time when making clothes based on the clients’ silhouette was replaced by the mass production of machines and clothing became available to broader masses for lower prices. The norm shifted from singular, tailored handcrafted pieces to following trends in consumer behavior and supplying more general masses, with the fashion industry gaining a major role in the economy. Due to the peak of interest in the industry, clothing production began to increase. It resulted in the establishment of the modern world industry as we know it.  

Incorporating Haute Couture

We can’t use the term Haute Couture lightly. It also means “high dressmaking”, if you translate it. There are many requirements a designer has to follow to be in Haute Couture. An atelier with a minimum of fifteen full-time employees needs to be used by designers. And the clothes must be made-to-order with more than one fitting.

Upon the Haute Couture seasons in January and July, Haute Couture houses must present no less than 50 original designs, including day- and nightwear pieces. Creating these gowns is time-consuming and expensive, only catering to around a client base of 4000 clients worldwide. In fact, Paris’s Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode (FHCM) – with around 100 members – is the only institution that can make the label of an Haute Couture house.

Haute Couture and Prêt-à-Porter

Even within the fashion industry, distinctions can be made. As society was involved, so did the monetary means available to the population and the importance of owning clothing as an individual for self-expression and showing their social status. In the early 1900s, Haute Couture was a given.

Designers used to customize and tailor the pieces to those who could afford them, failing to target a large segment of clients. In the 1930s, Parisian designers began to realize the potential of producing high-quality clothing for a larger group of people, developing the beginnings of Prêt-à-Porter.

Although the industry and society rejected this movement initially, Yves Saint Laurent was the first established French designer to introduce a ready-to-wear collection within his repertoire. It marked the beginnings of the fashion industry as people know it today.

The rise of Prêt-à-Porter resulted in clothes becoming more affordable compared to Haute Couture. However, luxury designers still create the article and make it in an elaborate process, not compromising their quality.

Haute Couture in the Modern Industry

With the rise of the Prêt-à-Porter industry, high-quality clothing became more accessible to broader masses. In other words, designers started to fear that this new industry could jeopardize the couture’s future. However, the trend of incorporating Haute Couture into the modern industry has recently emerged.

Younger generations have expressed interest in this craftsmanship, creating a new demand for Haute Couture gowns. Designers have had to include the demand of their new and growing customer base into their practices. Also, making their Haute Couture designs more youthful to cater to this new audience.

Furthermore, designers have added less formal looks to their Haute Couture collections, such as coats and jackets. It is also due to the younger generation’s demand for more wearable items to add to their wardrobes. For Haute Couture designers to remain competitive, they must follow new consumer trends and change old practices.

Couture is a large opportunity for size inclusivity, as the clothing articles are tailored to individuals. Furthermore, the industry is implementing new technologies into the creative process of Haute Couture. For instance, the designer Iris van Herpen that is using 3D printing technologies to create her exceptional designs.

With Haute Couture houses implementing social media and younger influencers into their strategy, the industry is becoming increasingly established in the modern world of fashion. It is catering to the younger audience with large spending power, gaining exposure and reaching broader masses.

For designers to remain successful, they must embrace the shifts within the industry and adapt the newest trends into their strategies, as Nicole Miller has done.

Meet our speakers

Nicole Miller

Nicole Miller founded her namesake brand in 1982 and is based in New York City. Her lifestyle brand features a wide range of boldly printed clothing, creating elegant silhouettes with youthful hints. Nicole has a background in art and Haute Couture. Also, people know her due to her feature rebellion and a “good girl bad girl” edge within her designs.

She began designing dresses, gaining her breakthrough with ties before venturing back into dresses as ties started to lose their audience. Then she expanded it into extensions of her clothing pieces, such as bags, gloves, glasses, and hats.

As a youthful designer, Nicole Miller recognizes the importance of social media to gain exposure and connect with her audience. She believes it contributes to the success of her brand. She shows the importance of staying true to yourself and your brand while keeping up with the latest trends to remain established and competitive.

Marie Driscoll

Marie Driscoll is Managing Director, Luxury & Retail at Coresight Research. She is an experienced equity analyst and an expert in fashion and luxury goods. She also works directly with Coresight’s retail and brands clients. Marie is the “Best on the Street” analyst survey by The Wall Street Journal and a first-place ranking in the Clothing & Accessories industry.

The Speakers

Meet your Fashinnovators

Thub Nicole Miller
Founder & Designer, Nicole Miller

New York based fashion designer, Nicole Miller, founded her namesake brand in 1982. She gained her sense of creative freedom while training at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and mastered the classic French techniques of Haute Couture while at Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture in Paris.

At a glance, you can spot Nicole’s iconic designs by the skillful draping, and elegant silhouettes mixed with a hint of rebellion. Nicole’s vision is grounded in empowering women who want to look and feel their best, while participating in making the world a better place through her passion for sustainability and philanthropy.

Staying true to that vision to create accessible luxury and premium fashion, her collections are sophisticated, yet sexy. Her designs are full of clever combinations of bold colors and unique prints that echoes art, her travels, and pop culture. Nicole’s designs have been seen on Angelina Jolie, Beyoncé, Blake Lively, Carrie Underwood, Emmy Rossum, amongst others. Nicole has been the recipient of multiple industry awards, is a CFDA member and sits on the board of RISD’s board of trustees where she actively mentors young designers through paid internships and a namesake scholarship.

Marie Driscoll
Managing Director, Luxury & Retail, Coresight Research

Marie Driscoll is Managing Director, Luxury & Retail at Coresight Research. She is a noted subject matter expert on fashion, luxury goods, retail, and sustainability, works directly with Coresight’s retail and brand clients, is frequently quoted in the press and speaks at industry events. She is one of Rethink Retail’s Top 100 Retail Influencers in 2021.

Marie has served in key analytical and business development roles in leading financial research firms and was recognized three times in The Wall Street Journal’s “Best on the Street” analyst survey, including first-place ranking in the Clothing & Accessories industry.







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