The Fashion Industry – From the ‘80s to Now

Our blog features the latest news about Carnal Apparel, behind the scenes stories, interviews and much more.  

From studies in Copenhagen and Milano to working for prominent designers and starting her own brand, Eva, our head of production and technical design have a long history in the fashion industry. We asked her about her career and how the industry has changed since the ‘80s. Read her answers below.

Tell me about your career in fashion?

Since I’ve always had a passion for colour, form and fashion I chose to go against the traditional career paths and study fashion design in Copenhagen. After my years in Copenhagen, I went on to study fashion illustration and product development in Milano. Having survived on spaghetti and tuna for a couple of years I became a designer.

During this time, it was quite unusual to have studied design in Italy which gave me several opportunities to work for eminent designers in Sweden. Being young and adventurous, me and my Swedish friend with whom I studied in Italy, started our own company. It went very well and we gained a lot of publicity, being two girls trying to break into an industry predominantly controlled by men.

During Copenhagen Fashion Fair, we received several orders. It was truly amazing to have your own garments hanging in department stores in Sweden and Norway. Unfortunately, our largest investor went bankrupt just when a large boat with our goods arrived in Malmö harbour. We didn’t have savings to cover the costs ourselves, despite cleaning hotel rooms during the nights, so we had to shut down the business. Fortunately, we had the time of our lives and learned a lot. Since then, I have been working as a consultant designer and fashion teacher in addition to my day job outside of the fashion industry.

When the opportunity to join Carnal arouse I realised it was time to get back into the game.

How has the fashion industry changed since the ‘80s?

In terms of style, the ‘80s was characterised by broad shoulder pads, wild patterns and bright colours. Minimalism basically wasn’t heard of. In regard to the industry itself, it was all about attending fashion fairs and going on roadshows, presenting your garments to a verity of store owners. Nothing was digital except from some back and forward faxing. We presented all our designs with pen and paper and all marketing activity was devoted to the traditional fashion magazines.

How would you like the fashion industry to change in the future?

I’m happy to say that a lot has improved since I started out. Brands now get recognised for being sustainable which is in direct contrast to what was the case in the ‘80s. However, we still have a long way to go and I believe we can do much better in terms of both sustainability and working conditions. It is a challenge in all industries to maintain a healthy business grounded in sustainability. When a large part of your competitors is still minimising costs by allocating production to countries far away and using environmentally unsustainable fabrics you have to be innovative to stay afloat.

The responsibility for the fashion industry’s future is divided between the customer and the brand. Brands need to be creative and find business models in which sustainable materials and production can be utilised without compromising the margins. Customers need to be brand-aware and promote brands that are taking the right steps towards a more sustainable future. The industry is currently heading in the right direction and even if we are moving slowly, at least we are moving.

 

 

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