Fast Company magazine has published the 100 Most Creative People of 2009
(and the companies they work for); among them are six amazing individuals that represent fashion brands.
What impresses and inspires me the personal beliefs that fuel their creativity.
1. Finding Inspiration Anywhere
Sandy Bodecker (#6), VP of Global Design, Nike
Sandy Bodecker, 56, believes inspiration is everywhere. Last year, his team found what they were looking for in suspension-bridge cables. The result: the revolutionary Flywire technology, and the lightest and strongest high-performance footwear ever. Before he became Nike’s first VP of global design, in 2007, Bodecker built powerful brands in two sports that had resisted the swoosh: soccer and skateboarding. Even after his big promotion, he designed a sleek black skateboard sneaker with white embroidery. “We’re always thinking about what we can do with a design now that wasn’t possible in the past,” he says. – by Anne C. Lee
2. Creating Responsible Luxury
Stella McCartney (#13) for Stella McCartney, Fashion Designer
According to her boss, PPR CEO François-Henri Pinault, fashion designer and Beatle progeny Stella McCartney is the new face of responsible luxury. “Stella has set the bar,” he told Britain’s Sunday Times. Across the pond, the Natural Resources Defense Council honored her this spring for her “outstanding environmental leadership.” McCartney, 38, a PETA pet, uses no leather or fur; her skin-care line and ready-to-wear collection are both organic. Lest this sound too hair shirt to be stylish, consider Women’s Wear Daily’s review of the designer’s latest fall collection: “McCartney’s biker jacket in ‘nonleather sheen cupro’ can vroom with the best of them, and her thigh-high boots, in silk knits and perforated faux, strut the killer instinct she can live with.” – by Linda Tischler.
3. Establishing & Exhalting Minimalist Couture
Designer (#24) & Creative Director, Uniqlo
The high-fashion/mass-marketing movement seems to be reaching a new phase with Jil Sander’s new project: The German designer, who became famous for her luxurious if minimalist couture, has signed on as the creative director for Japanese retailer Uniqlo. Sander, who sold her namesake label in 2004, took on the clothing chain as her first consulting client, and then agreed to oversee its fall and winter collections — possibly including one of her own design. – by Abha Bhattarai
4. Being Fashion’s Fortune Teller
Marc Jacobs (#42), LVMH, Fashion designer
Marc Jacobs has “made fashion hip, but not inaccessibly hip,” says Vogue editor Anna Wintour. Accessibly hip enough for him to build a $5 billion empire within LVMH that delights both the moneyed elite and the allowance-driven economy (his junk-store concept — $11 flip-flops, $55 rubber totes — is still thriving in the retail slump). Jacobs’s knack for forecasting trends (this fall, neon and ’80s nostalgia), anointing muses (hola, Anne Hathaway), and playing the media keep him in the spotlight. But it’s his endless inspiration that drives sales. “It’s very organic. We say, ‘Let’s make this happen and see what the reaction is,’ ” Jacobs says. “It’s not like a creative person sits down with a mathematician. That’s a hard thing for a lot of businesspeople to understand.” – by Mark Borden
5. Creating Haute Tech Dreams
Hussein Chalayan (#62), Puma, Creative Director
Fashion designers aren’t new at Puma — as guests. But now Puma has hired Hussein Chalayan, 38, as its first creative director and bought a majority stake in his own business. Known for fusing high tech and high fashion in pieces such as a Swarovski frock studded with LEDs, the two-time British Designer of the Year says he’s looking to Puma’s “access to technology to turn some of the technological dreams into reality.” Will the creator of the self-undressing dress now invent shoes that take themselves off? – by Anne C. Lee
6. Silently Marketing & Creating Viral Beauty
Consuel Castiglioni (#65), Creative Director, Marni
Consuelo Castiglioni doesn’t play the usual couture game. She’s publicity-shy. She does not advertise. She won’t hustle celebrities. But Castiglioni is a master of her craft, defining Marni as a house of unusual shapes and idiosyncratic prints (she teamed with singer/painter Kim Gordon to concoct bold geometric patterns for summer ‘09). Yet her designs are also consummately wearable. The brand has thrived — sales have shot past $100 million per year – and celebs including Gwyneth Paltrow, Kyra Sedgwick, and Cindy Sherman have flocked to Marni unbidden. Castiglioni has also expanded cautiously into accessories, menswear, and rugs. – by Linda Tischler
Read more about creative individuals and brands on FashionablyMarketing.Me