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2013 December 9

Designer Scott Sternberg Sounds Off About Tom Ford (And More) To Apartamento Mag

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Scott Sternberg Scott Sternberg
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(NEW YORK) Dish alert: In the autumn/winter issue of indie Spanish mag Apartamento, designer Scott Sternberg of Band of Outsiders and Boy. by Band of Outsiders gave the interiors glossy a tour of his abode. But the pics, while pretty, aren’t the intriguing part: Sternberg was delightfully filter-free as he sounded off the fashion industry. Highlights include some very frank thoughts on Tom Ford. The article’s not available online, so check out Sternberg’s juiciest bits below.

On the perils of an expanding company:
“I have 26 employees. I used to do everything myself. It was ten times easier and more enjoyable. Now I have to socialize with all these people and tell them what I want, which would be much easier to do myself.”

Some uncensored thoughts on the biz: “The fashion industry is retarded. It doesn’t make sense. There is too much product out there and when you’re a wholesale business it’s really impossible to resolve. You can’t, because if you want to be in a store like Barney’s, you can’t just deliver twice a year. You can’t just have two runway shows.”

Musings on the circus that is the fashion industry: “There’s this layer in fashion in between me and the person buying the clothes, which is the buyers and the press. They’re this kind of hilarious community, this council of judges. They love a dog and pony show. They complain about it to no end.”

Sternberg marvels at getting it done, Tom Ford style: “Tom Ford is an interesting one. He’s somebody that got out, not intentionally. I think he sort of screwed up. He played his cards a little too far and they said, ‘bye bye,’ at Gucci and then he somewhat successfully made a movie…Then, he gets back in the industry. At the beginning I thought, ‘God, this guy is kind of genius.’ He launched fragrance and eyewear first and then beauty, makeup—all of it. Now these are the tertiary things that you do. Actually, that other people do with your brand so that you make a lot of money. Now I’m like, “Oh my god, he’s so fucking smart, ‘ because he doesn’t have to do all this crap, waste all this fabric, make all these clothes that nobody is ever going to buy that’s essentially for a few stylists to shoot and is part of the ‘dog and pony show’. He just cut right to the chase. What a genius.”

…Or maybe Ford isn’t a genius, Sternberg muses: “And then all of the sudden, he’s doing menswear and opening these ridiculous stores that are so out of touch to me with where consumers are at these days, even the luxury consumer.  And then he’s doing womenswear and then he’s not showing on the runway and I’m like, ‘He’s a genius, he’s not doing the runway.’ And now, he’s showing on the runway. So I don’t know, I guess we’re not on the same page, Tom Ford and I.”

But still, there’s plenty to envy about the TF model: “He’s selling a dream without the middle part, without that sort of wasted part.”

Why having a smaller label sometimes sucks: “I didn’t raise a lot of money when I started or open 20 stores like A.P.C. or Tory Burch. So you’re sort of stuck in this cycle. It’s something to resolve. It’s hard.”

Whether designing for guys or girls, there’s a lot of wasted effort: “With women’s, they pretty much spend half the year on the dog and pony show ‘cause they’re always looking at collections, we’re always presenting them. We present four times a year and they just sit there and they wait for us to show what we do. Even though with men’s, for example, there’s probably like three editors in the US that like matter, you’re still doing this. You’re still having to go through this because the stores need to know that you did that show or that thing that the press are watching to have some feeling that there’s not so much risk involved with buying all this product from you.”

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