Name: Karl Otto Lagerfeld
Occupation: Fashion Designer for Chanel, Fendi, and Chloé (1959-78, 1992-97)
D.O.B: September 10, 1933. Hamburg, Germany (supposed birthdate, as he has never revealed it).
What better way to start the designer series than with the chief designer himself; Karl Lagerfeld.
With an iconic white mane and permanent black sunglasses, Karl Lagerfeld is a fashion icon. As the creative designer for Chanel and Fendi fashion houses, Lagerfeld has proved a force to be reckoned with when it comes to knowing how to design luxury goods. Having been in the business for over 50 years, it is safe to say Lagerfeld has experienced the changes caused by the Internet within the fashion industry.
In response to the emergence of social media and information technology, Lagerfeld has embraced and reinvented the way people experience fashion.
In 2006, the Karl Lagerfeld collection closed the New York Fashion Week. The show was podcast and hours later made available for purchase on the iTunes music store. This was the first show podcast in fashion history, and is a marker of Lagerfeld’s role as a fashion innovator. Through the new technology, designers and fashionistas around the world are able to download the event to their personal media devices, within hours of the show.
The use of technology to stream fashion shows has changed the way in which people receive content. Print magazines traditionally provide the show reports, however with the introduction of the Internet readers are relying less on print material and more on the content available around the world.
Karl is a devotee of Apple. With four iPhone’s, an iPad and three iPod’s that he carries with him all the time, Lagerfeld remains updated at all times.
His opinion on how technology has influenced the design process leads him to explain that there was no clear distinction between a time of using technology compared to the time of only pen and paper. “Paper and technology can coexist. One does not kill the other”. It is different the way things are done now compared to five or ten years ago, but as Lagerfeld understands it is a natural progression into the 21st century.
In January this year Karl Lagerfeld teamed up with Internet super store NET-A-PORTER to create a purely online fashion brand. ‘Karl’, is a more affordably priced collection to which the fashion is being directly sold to the consumers. The traditional process of designs being passed through the fashion press before consumers have access to the clothing has been removed. As Lagerfeld explains the clothing is then shipped around the world and shared through social media sites. As Natalie Massenet, NET-A-PORTER creator explains, “Fashion and technology are not mutually exclusive. This is the next big frontier”.
As an industry veteran, Karl Lagerfeld is still a forward thinker, and technological leader when it comes to the reinvention of how we encounter fashion.