French luxury house Céline has announced that they will not be sharing photos from their just-shown resort '14 collection this year. Instead, consumers will have to wait until the actual resort retail season in January to see the brand's designs. In a time where collections are Instagrammed, tweeted, and blogged about months before they hit stores, it appears a strange decision. Everyone else is showcasing their resort collection? Why is Céline refraining? While the Céline PR team has refrained from commenting, many are speculating that answer is just one word: Zara.
Anyone who has ever so much as stepped foot in a Zara has likely noticed that they have trends are not just up-to-the-minute, but up-to-the-very-moment. The ubiquitous brand restocks their store twice a week, and not with the typical fare of fast fashion stores. While the ultra-trendy options at H&M, Urban Outfitters, and Forever 21 are more likely to appeal to teens and twenty-somethings, Zara targets those interested in high fashion. Compare the neon crop tops you might see at Forever 21 to the minimalistic shift dresses at Zara, and you'll see what I'm talking about.
Zara is especially guilty of producing Céline-inspired clothes, but, still, the question remains: Why should Céline care? Objectively, a person who shops at Céline is not the same person who shops at Zara, right? Their price points aren't even competing. While this is true, it is also true that a person who shops at Céline (that is to say, pays the money to shop at Céline) likely does not want a 22-year-old wearing a nearly identical garment as them months before they can even get their hands on it. A brand like Céline is all about being elite, but Zara, arguably more than any other fast fashion company in history, has taken that element of exclusivity away from them.
Until copyright laws in fashion become more stringent, there is not much that Céline or any other design house can do to fight against fast fashion. Currently, telling people that they cannot take photos of the collection is the best option available, but it does make me imagine a world with highly glamourous Zara spies breaking into presentation rooms.