Heritage key to keeping fashion original

Fashion is increasingly global, but cultural heritage and innovation are essential to keep the original from becoming the ordinary, a gathering of international fashion schools heard on Wednesday.

Delegates from about 40 fashion schools in 20 countries are in Paris this week for the 13th annual conference of the International Foundation of Fashion Technology Institutes.

"Fashion and luxury: between heritage and innovation" is the theme of the four-day event.

"We took off the kimono a long time ago," the foundation's chairman Satoshi Onuma, referring to his native Japan where he is president of the Bunka Fashion College, whose alumni includes Yohji Yamamoto and Kenzo Takada.

"The fashion industry and Western culture are going very fast," he said. "The world is going faster and people mix their civilizations. That's a direction, a movement that we can't change."

But - arguing that "globalisation doesn't mean uniformisation" - Onuma stressed that "every country has its own heritage".

"These are the roots of creativity. That's what we teach even if we can't teach creativity itself. Originality will come from creativity. We are not forced to wear the same thing."

Dominique Jacomet, director general of the Institut Francais de la Mode, the Parisian fashion school that is hosting this year's conference, agreed.

"It is try that with globalisation, we can all be in jeans, but there is a real demand for identity," he said. "What makes French brands in particular successful worldwide is the way they are anchored to a cultural heritage."

"Thirty years ago, luxury and fashion were very much separated. Today everything comes together, for reasons due mainly to consumer demands and business strategies."

Striking a balance between innovation and tradition has enabled family-held French luxury goods house Hermes, founded in 1837, to grow overseas, notably in Asia which accounts for 26 percent of its business excluding Japan, said Hermes International vice president Guillaume de Seynes.

To meet special demands in China, Hermes has launched its own Shang Xia brand with furniture, cashmeres and porcelain designed along traditional Chinese lines yet adapted to contemporary Chinese tastes, he said.

Fielding a student's question, De Seynes said leather and silk artisans Hermes are always been recruited in fashion schools, with candidates subjected to a tough six-month selection process before one to two years of training.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Recruitment Genius: Professional Sales Trainee - B2B

    £15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: First things first - for the av...

    Recruitment Genius: Creative Web and UI Designer

    £30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An experienced creative web and...

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - PHP

    £17000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity is now ...

    Recruitment Genius: Account Executive - Graduate / Entry Level

    £22000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital advertising infras...

    Day In a Page

    On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

    On your feet!

    Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
    With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

    The big NHS question

    Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
    Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Big knickers are back
    Thurston Moore interview

    Thurston Moore interview

    On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
    In full bloom

    In full bloom

    Floral print womenswear
    From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

    From leading man to Elephant Man

    Bradley Cooper is terrific
    In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

    In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

    Dame Colette Bowe - interview
    When do the creative juices dry up?

    When do the creative juices dry up?

    David Lodge thinks he knows
    The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

    Fashion's Cher moment

    Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
    Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

    Health fears over school cancer jab

    Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
    Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

    'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

    Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
    Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

    Weather warning

    Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
    LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

    High hopes for LSD

    Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
    German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

    Saving Private Brandt

    A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral