Book speaks to "recessionista", not "fashionista"

Wed Sep 16, 2009 9:31am EDT
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By Camille Drummond

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Financial crises and war have long fostered dramatic innovations in fashion, and today's times are no different, according to Nina Garcia, author of the new book "The Style Strategy."

The "recessionista" has replaced the "fashionista" in this economy, marking a "pivotal moment that will create a lot of changes" in how consumers shop, said Garcia, fashion director at Marie Claire magazine and a judge on the hit television show "Project Runway."

The style guide, Garcia's third book to be published by Harper Collins, looks at how savvy shoppers have adjusted to this moment by learning to not shop on a whim.

To aid in teaching the science, she peppers the book with historical reminders of how fashion has found a way to adapt to hard times.

In World War II, leather shortages forced shoemakers to switch to cork and wood soles, giving birth to platform shoes. With fabric in short supply, shirt cuffs were deemed wasteful and eventually went out of style.

During the Great Depression, flour sacks caught on as an inexpensive fabric for dresses, so much so that flour companies began designing distinctive prints to feed the trend.

"When we have a crisis like this, I think everybody has to find better, creative ways to work," Garcia told Reuters. "It goes beyond just designing clothes. It's how we sell them, how we buy them -- it's everything."

Garcia suggests that this time, the most pivotal innovations will not be so material.   Continued...

<p>A model presents a creation from the Badgley Mischka Spring 2010 collection during New York Fashion Week, September 15, 2009. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid</p>