Sunday, November 29, 2009

Waking Up en vogue

In fashion, designers don't act alone. There are usually teams and teams of individuals who come together at the helm of one person (the designer) who acts more like a conductor than a multitasking jack-of-all-trades. Most designers may start with a concept or a few sketches as inspiration for a collection, but then leave the draping, the pattern making, the sewing, the construction, or some other key piece to the teams to perform, of course reserving final approval. Don't get me wrong - some designers are more skilled than others and are able to perform all of the tasks associated with creating a collection from start to finish. Gone are the days when Christian Dior and CoCo Chanel create fabulous collections, keeping their hands literally in the mix from conception to reality.

We see the same concept applied to Boutique Owners and Store Directors. It's becoming more and more rare to find an individual who is equally as motivated vacuuming their store as they are going to market, focusing on vendor relations, creating inspired visual merchandise schemes, and the like. As a consumer - it's very obvious when you enter a store that is lead/owned by a caring individual - one who is goal oriented and driven towards the reality of a bigger picture.

I'm not saying that every designer or boutique owner needs to do it all. Their inspiration, guidance, and example are sometimes all that is needed for success and happiness. But for those who do and can do it all, there seems to be even greater reward and pride.

We can argue the same concepts for music as well. YoYo Ma might be a terrible singer - but he's a virtuoso on the cello. Beyonce is a powerful, popular singer - but her piano or guitar skills might be incredibly lacking. Having one talent in the music industry is all you need for success, as long as there's a niche market and people generally like you. For those musicians and groups that can actually sing, play instruments, and produce music - that is the triple threat.

Enter: Ryan Tedder. Zach Filkins. Eddier Fisher. Brent Kutzle. Drew Brown. Better known as OneRepublic. Formed in 2002, the boys do it all - they sing, play their own instruments (from the piano/organ, drums, guitars, cello, and a myriad of other sounds), write (not just for themselves - Ryan co-wrote and produced Leona Lewis's Bleeding Love) and produce. You may have been getting sick of the group's Apologize or Stop and Stare after the seemingly 10,000,000th time you heard them on the radio or television. But there's so much more to the band. Their sound is real. Intensely musical. Unpretentiously awesome. Natural. They might just be my favourite band. I'm not saying they'll have the same impact on music as Dior and Chanel did for fashion, but I'd say they're definitely en pointe.

OneRepublic's new album, Waking Up, was released on 17 November and highly recommended.

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