Why Are We Hurt When Creatives Leave Fashion Houses?

Credits: Photo - Anonymous, Styling - Sarah G. Schmidt, Location - Sarah G. Schmidt's home

Over the past few week a couple heavyweights have announced their departure from their current posts. One was fired: Alber Elbez (Lanvin) and another quit: Raf Simons (Dior). It’s sad to see them both go. But why, exactly, are they leaving us?

As I processed I pondered why we are romantic about the heads of brands. Why do we seem to be so sad when creatives leave? Sure, on paper, it’s no different than other leaders leaving big companies, but for some reason the hurt seems personal?

Are we sensitive because we marry the creative to the collections they produce? As we get to know the collections and the designers behind them do we link the two together? Instinctually, I think, “Of course.” It appears no different than any other partnership. My mind could understand that it wasn’t any different but my gut said there’s something else there. There’s something else driving the pang of sadness. But what might that be?

I then started thinking about creative moguls that seemed like undividable pairings. For instance, could you separate Olivier Rousteing from Balmain? Donatella from Versace? Or The Big Karl from Chanel?

Ever more luxury brands and their head creative’s push to be seen. They make concerted effort to day-in and day-out to been seen loving and living in the brand. It’s all over the fashion media and their personal social media feeds. They feed content right to us. They craft the narrative. I understand why they want to do this. The public is very interested in the people behind the brands they love. They are curious about their process, their work, and maybe the most fascinating, their lifestyle. Lifestyle sells. That’s why fashion sells.

When they flip the script and move along, we ask, “Why? What happened?” We may think, “But you just told me this brand was your everything? This is what you’ve been talking about this whole time.” Or the brand perception crushing, “Did you use me to sell to me?” I deliberated if we lose trust in the brands or the people behind them? Both? Neither? Better yet, does it really matter?

Humans, for the most part, dislike change. We like to feel like we know what is going on, so when someone disrupts that, we don’t want to be played a fool. We want to know the truth.

Fashion is all about what’s next. It’s all about evolution, and sometimes, revolution. While it’s rooted in expression, that may not be honest-to-goodness truth. That’s fine for me. It’s everlasting play. Simply put, change, my fashion friends, is inevitable. I hope you’re changing your clothes at the very least to launder them.

People and brands have their reasons for shaking things up. We, the consumer, get to go along for the ride as they do and make our choices how to spend. As these two move on and find other opportunities, we too, will move on. What’s more than likely is that we’ll get distracted by something or someone else (Balmain for H&M, anyone?).