Contemporary Fashion: The Minimalist’s Coverbook

Models walk the runway at the 3.1 Phillip Lim Fashion Show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Fall 2015 at Skylight Clarkson SQ. on February 16, 2015 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.


The sense of fashion never goes out-of-date for a true fashionista. Among the Millions of fashion lingos in today’s market , one that often dominantly buzzes around, is the term “Contemporary Fashion”.Meant to describe labels with a designer aesthetic and more accessible price points and we use the term “accessible” loosely, with most pieces averaging out around $500 , the term means big bucks where the fashion industry’s concerned, having become one of the biggest areas people spend their money in the last few years.

What Contemporary Fashion Is

Contemporary apparel is clothing that is accessible, in price and in terms of the way people wear it. The contemporary category often contains more modern-style clothes compared to the higher end luxury market. The voice of the contemporary industry is a bit more modern and a tad younger. Contemporary brands appeal to both the luxury shopper and the new breed of aspirational shopper.  This tier has become a go-to for women who can no longer justify shelling out huge amounts of cash on designer garb. It is also appealing to people bored of regular fashion and who are prepared to spend that little bit extra for something that will last.

A great contemporary brand is one with a unique look and feel. Garments and accessories will have interesting construction details and a good-quality finish. The collections are in line with seasonal trends but also incorporate signature items that consumers immediately recognize and associate with the designer brand.

A Harpen Fashion Show

Is It Futurist: The Sustainability Question

In fashion, the term ‘futuristic’ is often used to describe avant-garde clothing designs. It could refer to several things, such as the clothing’s method of production, the materials used, or the garment’s design. Futurism can even refer to the 20th century Italian art movement, and indeed, this movement addressed the problem of designing fashion for the 20th century. We would learn much by examining Futurist fashions in order to understand its legacy in relation to contemporary fashion designers viewed as futuristic today. This paper will review this legacy by looking at five specific examples—Italian Futurists and their contribution to classless and genderless fashion; French designer Yves Saint Laurent’s iconic minidress inspired by the De Stijl art movement; fashion designed specifically for women with active lifestyles; technological advancement and space exploration seen in the designs of André Courrèges and Pierre Cardin; and advancements in textile manufacturing during the late 20th and early 21st century in relation to Karl Lagerfeld, Donatella Versace, and Hussein Chalayan. This leads to the primary analysis of Iris van Herpen and other contemporary designers including Noa Raviv and Neri Oxman. Their designs will be discussed in relation to the problem of labelling fashion as futuristic.

A Paris Georgia Apparel

Challenges of Contemporary Fashion

The contemporary brands fashion market is clearly brimming with a high level of competition. The up-and-coming contemporary designers are forced to continuously compete with older, established luxury brands in the targeting of the younger generation of consumers. The contemporary market began out of consumers’ need and want to own versatile clothing that could be worn on a daily basis.  Stylish consumers were hungry for locating a head-to-toe outfit that luxury brands create, but could be sold at a more reasonable tag.

Simone Racha Catwalk Show at London Fashion Week

Scopes of Contemporary Fashion

Due to the fact that contemporary brands appeal to several groups of consumers, this industry will continue to see global opportunities. Fashion editors and industry insiders agree that contemporary brands have stolen the limelight and are helping to bridge the gap between luxury brands and main street.

Not only will contemporary labels allow you to up your designer arsenal without forcing you to exist on an exclusively Kraft Dinner diet, but the pieces are also constructed with everyday wear in mind (no couture-like assembly required). Not to mention that contemporary lines still boast that oh-so-coveted designer aesthetic and quality craftsmanship—perfect if you’re looking to break away from the usual suspects in fast fashion retail.

Famous Contemporary Fashion Designers and Their Works

Carven: Founded in 1945 in Paris, Carven has enjoyed a resurgence since the hiring of designer Guillaume Henry in 2009, who transformed the house from old-school couturier into the cool girl’s label du jour.

Carven Spring 2014 ready-to-wear collection
Carven Fall-Winter 2015-16 collection

N°21:  Started in 2010 in Milan by designer Alessandro Dell’Acqua, the brand offers a smorgasbord of whimsical designs that can be effortless.

N°21 Spring- Summer 2018 collection
N°21 Spring-Summer 2021 collection

Jonathan Simkhai: Starting from NYC His first womenswear collection was shown in 2010, where Simkhai debuted his take on dressing for today’s cosmopolitan woman. A master at tailoring oversized pieces to flatter the female form, his designs run the gamut from exaggerated boxer shorts to basketball jerseys.

Simkhai Fall 2017 collection
Simkhai Fall 2020 ready-to-wear collection

Sandro : Launched by husband-and-wife duo Didier and Evelyne Chétrite, Sandro is a well-known and popular brand in the contemporary market.  Since its launch in 1984 (in the Marais district of Paris), the label has gathered a cult following with women charmed by its insouciant, season less separates and rock’n’roll aesthetic. Sandro has stores worldwide in places such as New York and Japan, and a flagship store based in Covent Garden, central London.

A Sandro Store
Sandro Spring-Summer 2021 Menswear Collection


Consumers want to feel like they own something special and unique. They want exclusive quality labels that are not mass produced, yet are still affordable.  It is important to keep in mind that this category is less expensive then higher tiers such as Haute Couture, but the prices are clearly higher than budget collections.The changing demographic of fashion consumers and the rise of contemporary brands. To stay in the game, luxury fashion marketers must compete on a global scale.