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04.19.2014

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March 25, 2009 7:27 PM

Fashion

Jil Sander Proves It's a Small World After All

Jil Sander When I interviewed Jil Sander last week about her fashion comeback and her consulting gig at Uniqlo, I asked her about how the fashion world had changed since she left the industry in 2004, parting ways with...

Jil Sander
When I interviewed Jil Sander last week about her fashion comeback and her consulting gig at Uniqlo, I asked her about how the fashion world had changed since she left the industry in 2004, parting ways with her former company’s then-owner Prada Group and the accompanying run-ins with Prada chief Patrizio Bertelli. One of the things she noted was how fashion has become more globalized over the past few years.

That rang true as I thought about the path that brought the designer to Tokyo.

Here was a German designer who had sold her brand to an Italian company before ultimately leaving it behind. Her fashion house was then bought by Change Capital Partners, a London-based fund run by a Belgian and financed with French capital, and subsequently sold to a Japanese company, Onward Holdings. A short while later, Sander herself joined forces with a Japanese firm in the form of Fast Retailing’s Uniqlo and now she was talking about it to an American journalist she had met in Italy who was living in Tokyo.

“Now we have to position ourselves everywhere in the world,” Sander said. “It has good sides and bad sides, of course. But the good sides are — I think — much stronger. Because, like I said, I’m meeting you here now. Everything became so connected. Fashion is always reflecting time…it’s really interesting that we are using every tool and every possibility today.”

The conversation didn’t even touch on other changes seen in fashion in the last five years — from the global expansion of chains like Uniqlo, H&M and Zara and the increasing blend of high and low to the development of new markets. But it proved one thing: What part of the world is immune to the fashion system these days — be it weavers in India, leather artisans in Italy or flush consumers in Dubai?


View the full Jil Sander interview >>
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