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House vs. independent

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
To define: The Fashion Houses are big designers that are in the Gucci to Costume Nationale range. Independent designers like McQueen are counted in this category because they originate from the House scene. Independents are small desginers, with less clothing produced and a smaller audience. If you aren't sure about a brand, think about how many people know about its existence. If it's a handful of people, then it's generally not independent. I was just wondering which everyone prefered and bought more clothes from. I personally keep it a bit to the Fashion House side because they are consistent, but I still have a considerable number of independent goods that are amazing because so few people have them. I think this is an interesting topic because it often defines the style of a person. The difference between House and Independent is often that House is more commercial, more sleek and finished, whereas Independent can be more BoHo etc. There are, of course, exceptions, but I really believe that there is a massive gap between the House styles and the Independent styles. I'd love to have everyone's opinons on this, write anything that comes to mind. --European Interloper
post #2 of 12
I voted for House... mainly because that's what I mostly wear. Independent brands tend to be quite expensive and keep in mind as a 20-year-old college student, I have a budget to keep a firm grasp on. A lot of the independents are slowly entering the mainstream culture and that's where they become a wee bit more affordable like Dolce & Gabbana (I'm not really a fan of them anyway), Lucky, Diesel, etc. I currently reside just right outside of Washington DC, and here, the only independent shops are usually located in Farragut West and Georgetown. It's not as profound as New York City but that causes me to go for the more common shops such as Banana Republic, etc. That would present a problem with originality but I think as long as you mix it up (and in college, you can get away with it since I'm not required to wear a suit everyday), you'll display an excellent taste in fashion.
post #3 of 12
Personally I live in a small rural area so most of the clothes I own are more House and conglomerate brands, but for a very few pieces. If I had the access though I would think I would opt for the more small, indie labels just to not look so much like everyone else. I wanted to bring up the question of what can be truly classified as Independent for most of those seemingly small designers are actually owned by larger fashion conglomerates. For instance I know that NY Industrie is owned by Diesel, and I think Sandy Dalal is also owned by another house. I know there are some designers out their doing some cool work in just very limited lines so I am interested in hearing which of those 'handful of people only know about' labels that the rest of you enjoy. One group that really interested me years ago when I started hitting up NY was Final Home for their designs seemed so ingenious, yet still very urban. Right now I am interested in what I hear about this Alabama shirt co. and would like to find a store that sells them.
post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
I was unaware that Diesel owned NY Industrie. It's rather sick that Diesel owns such a chunk of the Urban Funky style designers, I don't like that they can impliment their design ethos on such a large scale, because it leads to a look-a-like situation in fashion. As for Dalal, I think he worked at Byblos or something, but I count him as small scale still. Mcqueen, for comparison, enjoyed Givenchy and Dior (?) before moving to make his own dissapointing lines. I'd love to hear everyone else's views on this. Do you think that independents would enjoy more success if they were to have lovwer prices and generally be less niche? Do you think that fashion needs to have these designers in order to remind the big houses that they need to innovate consistently? Love to hear your views, --European Interloper
post #5 of 12
Looking into my closet, I see that I've become something of a label whore, and that of the major labels I tend to stick to the more "sober" designers (Armani, Jil Sander, and Burberry as opposed to Dolce Gabbana, Gucci, and Versace). I make a conscious effort to look for interesting pieces from out of the way designers, precisely because I like the boho/downtown hipster/funky chicken look that the Gucci's of the world can never give you. In fact, one of the rules of the fashion world seems to be that you gain renown only at the expense of your underground cachet. Some of my favorite indie designers: Jean Colonna (at least here in the States), Dirk Schonberger (although it's debatable whether he can still be considered an indie), Charizmatik (an L.A. phenomenon. I just bought a terrific cowboy shirt from V-neck, an Italian company I've never heard of. I think that the problem with the classifications is that there are lots of grey areas. I think that we'd all agree that any company owned by Prada, the Gucci Group, or LVMH is a "House" designer. But otherwise, a lot of it depends on your geographic location. For example, do Mahirishi, James Perse, Jefri Jeans, etc... count? I'm sure most of you have not heard of Jefri Jeans, or seen them only in rarified boutiques, but in California, they can be found even in big chains like Urban Outfitters, which cater to the high school and college set.
post #6 of 12
An addendum: I love Diesel Jeans because they have such a great range of fits and washes. However, I've pretty much given up on their clothing because, as EI stated, they are so ubiquitous. The only exceptions I make are on my infrequent trips to San Francisco, when I occasionally find something at their flagship store that has not been distributed to every retailer under the sun. Another addendum: Sandy Dalal designED for Byblos. Byblos is sort of an incubator, and brings in a new designer every season much like Ruffo Research.
post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
LA Guy once again nails it. Fashion, despite being a global entity, is not truly global. Regional styles lead to regional catering: I'm sure there's almost no Gucci in Kentucky or Alabama. This creates problems in definition, because some designers cater to a style that fits exactly with a regions entity and therefore becomes mainstream and almost 'house' in that area. Outside of it, the designer remains independent and niche. LA Guy: I personally love DG because a lot of the clothing is almost unrecongnizable. The style, to fashionistas, is instantly identifiable, but to outsiders it's just trashy/funky. Gucci is ubiquitous but I like quite a bit of the stuff (not recently) and Armani is often just slightly too bland for me. They also have an abnormal leaning towards Capris (3/4 pants), which I detest. Burberry is undergoing a change of style which I love, an ex-Gucci guy (Chris something) is moving in to take control of it. It'll be more funky and (thank god) less checked. Anyway, thanks for everyone's input. --European Interloper
post #8 of 12
European Interloper, Although I love Armani suits, I have to agree that some of their sportswear is unbelievably boring. Yesterday, I went in search of funky sportswear and went into both the Emporio and Giorgio Armani boutiques in Beverly Hills - and there was nothing there to hold my interest. The Armani Jeans line in particular I have never liked. I do feel that in terms of jeans and streetwear, other brands (including Dolce & Gabbana) do a vastly superior job. Having said that, I feel that the very best streetwear comes from what you would term independents. Any member of the Antwerp Six or their descendents fit that bill perfectly.
post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 
LA Guy, I agree completely about the independents and, especially, anythin related to ANYONE in Antwerp. Just like the people who design there, the city is overlooked by everyone other than hardcore fashionistas, which makes having an original look and style even easier. I only wish that there were more independents because an original style is so hard to come by in these recent House dominated years. If you ask me, I think Armani should drop a few of his lines and concentrate on the more serious ones, such as giorgio, EA, Armani Casa, and Collezioni. Perhaps also the fragrances, but I hate the Aqua Di Gio affect that mainstream designers have. I'm actually getting slightly bored with the entire Armani style because it seems like it has become too happy in its little niche. I fear that it will become as bland as Prada, but then again Armani himself is such an inspiring person that I doubt he will allow his company such a fate. --European Interloper
post #10 of 12
I pretty much buy what I like regardless of origin, but I guess my preference tends to be European houses with a reputation for outstanding quality first and foremost, although I do patronise "designers", too. Quality is key to me. I spend a decent amount on clothes, and I simply expect them to last. For example, I used to buy a lot of Helmut Lang and a little Jil Sander, but since Prada took over those labels, quality of both has sunk to Zara/Banana levels. But prices have remained where they were. So, whereas in 1999 I probably bought a quarter of my clothes at Helmut Lang, this year I bought nothing there. On the opposite side, after discovering Loro Piana's cashmere jumpers last year, others just feel cheap, even "good" ones such as Pringle or Malo. Most of my S/S 2002 stuff thus far has come from Zara and Ferragamo. (Yes, widely different prices and quality-levels. But I like them both.) Also bought stuff from Loro Piana, Wolfgang Joop., Samsonite Blacklabel, Paul Smith and PS by Paul Smith, H&M, Valentino, Brioni, Rene Lizard, John Lobb, and Gucci. I liked both Dior Homme and YSL Rive Gauche, but didn't end up taking any of their pieces home. Likewise, I found myself admiring some Issey Miyake and Yohji Yamamoto stuff, but they just don't design for the tall man who works out. The season before, I was transitioning from college to a research project that involved interviewing Austrian government officials, and I invested heavily in a custom-made Knize suit, and shirts from tailor Zum Jockey Club. Both are traditional Viennese mens' tailors that have been around since the Habsburgs. Peace, JG
post #11 of 12
I'm not fimiliar with Knize. I know that it's been around forever, but how does it compare to other labels. Is the quality/price that of Kiton or Brioni, or more along the lines of Zegna? I'm not sure if it's available in the states.
post #12 of 12
I would put Knize's tailored clothing on par with Brioni, Kiton, and the best of Saville Row. Their house silhouette is very structured and not unlike the Saville Row/Neapolian way of doing things, but has much softer shoulders than Kiton or the Brits. Their shirts are excellent but no better than my favourite Viennese Hemdenmacher, Zum Jockey Club, and pricier. Their cashmere goods are made from Loro Piana cashmere, and look/feel it. The only place to buy them is at Knize in Vienna (halfway down Graben). They long ago closed their NYC and Bad Gastein stores. Well, Ten is sold at the cologne counter at Bergdorf's, but besides that, no dice. Peace, JG
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