Lately we’ve noticed that Filofax is busy trying to become a fashion accessory. They’re sending free personal organisers to fashion bloggers and celebrities. They are chasing the fashion crowd in this absurd, embarrassing wanna-be way that makes me cringe. The thing is, as they chase the fickle “fashion” crowd (who are really, mainly, tacky followers of celebrity fashion, which is virtually entirely garments loaned for advertising purposes), they’ve obviously forgotten that Filofax, in years past, had real style. The simple, very high quality binders they produced in the 1980’s were perfection of form-follows-function design. People carried them for years as an essential extension of their person.
If Filofax were to partner with a designer to produce a special edition of their products they could, at least, have chosen someone with class. Imagine a Stella McCartney filofax, if you will; I envision something simple, classy, high quality, and not leather.
Filofax turned out their Temperley line with truly gauche marketing. The naming itself was absurd: “the Affair” just evokes something naughty. I cannot see naughty as being the right word for a personal organiser! Their ad copy described this horribly named product as being made of pale pink leather encased in black lace “simulating lingerie against the skin.” Disgusting! The “Guinea,” in this age of vegetarians and animal rights, was described as being made of “pony skin.” No, just no.
“Celebrity seeding” was determined to be a choice marketing tactic. Personally, I find today’s celebrities a truly sad bunch and seeing most any of them carrying a Filofax does not make me want to own one myself. These are people who put name ahead of fit, who try to look rich, who have no real style. There are so many cheap and trashy celebrities in this day of reality television; I certainly do not take my fashion cues from these people!
Filofax has made a fatal mistake; they’ve insulted their core customer. They’ve sent us the message that they don’t think we’re stylish or fashionable. I find this insulting. I’m not very interested in my own clothes but I studied art history and am keenly interested in the decorative arts. I closely follow the couture shows each year, and love to visit fashion exhibits at museums. I see good fashion as exceptionally well made, by hand, of the highest quality materials. It is truly wearable art.
I do not equate poorly made, flashy accessories as being fashionable. And they certainly are not stylish!
If I cared not about style and fashion, I’m sure I could outfit myself with a perfectly functional vinyl DayRunner binder for a fraction of the cost of a good Filofax. But this is not what I choose to do. I’ve tried several modern day filofax binders and have found all of them to be either poorly made or cheap in appearance. The truly fashionable filofax is the classic vintage model. My design eye truly appreciates the simplicity and quality of the Winchester. I even appreciate the Domino, which in my mind is the most successfully designed modern filofax, being simple, purposeful, and clever. Plus, I’ve not found a Domino with a faulty ring mechanism!
The marketing people at filofax have truly lost their direction. I’m sure that this fashion/celebrity pr plan will net a few new customers, but they are throwing away a long-earned style and reputation to achieve their desired end. And in the end this cheapens the brand. If filofax becomes a cheap and nasty fashion accessory I will invest in something classy and move on. There is so much trash in the world; must Filofax become trash too?