The fashion community is urging the industry to use the hiatus caused by the global pandemic as a time to rethink and reorganize, with the American Fashion Design Board and British Fashion Council on Thursday issued a joint message calling for change.
It appears when the industry faces what some people see existential threat – some estimates estimate that half of all British industry can stop there at the end of 2020 – with many shops closed and clothing sales plummeting.
The shared message, an unusual step from US and UK trade bodies, set recommendations intended to encourage greater creativity for designers hampered by the constant need to provide new collections, as well as recommendations to help limit the environmental impact of the industry.
The message encourages “brands, designers, and retailers, who are accustomed to fashion speed, unforgiving speed, to slow down”, and shipping clothes to stores to be more suitable “when customers really need them”, so “closer to the season for the intended “. One of the industry’s habits is that winter clothing is often sent to shops in the summer and vice versa.
With a voyage or pre-collection that is between the two main annual collections that are commonplace, it often debuts at luxury locations such as castles in Marrakech or on the Great Wall of China, also recommending that “designers focus on no more than two main collections of the year”. This, he said, would “give our talents the time they need to reconnect with creativity and craft”.
While most industries have moved online during the crisis, with virtual fashion weeks and photo shoots, organizations look to the future where non-digital events are again possible. It called on the brand to show “in one of the global fashion capitals to avoid strain on buyers and journalists who travel constantly”, they pointed out, has increased the carbon footprint of many individuals who work in this industry.
It is hoped that by making the recommended changes, the industry will have a direct effect on how consumers see their clothes too. “We are united in our unwavering belief that the fashion system must change, and that must occur at every level,” the statement said. “This change has been delayed for a while, and the impact of the coronavirus has forced all of us to prioritize the process of rethinking how our industry should function.”
The message of BFC and CFDA follows other high profile interventions that call for industry rethinking, in what some people call important moments. Earlier this month, a group of designers including Dries van Noten, Gabriela Hearst and Thom Browne write an open letter to the fashion industry calling for change which will make their business “more environmentally and socially sustainable, and ultimately align it more closely with customer needs.” While The Fashion Business industry site also developed a manifesto, which was signed by more than 600 industrial designers and executives, called for a realignment of the fashion calendar.
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