For years, designers, editors and executives have said the fashion industry needs to become more sustainable. On Tuesday, May 14, 64 industry heavyweights released Rewiring Fashion, outlining how to do so. A self-described “proposal for the global fashion industry” housed on an independent microsite, Rewiring Fashion is facilitated by the Business of Fashion and co-signed by brands including Proenza Schouler, Rodarte, and Missoni.
The petition comes on the heels of a Dries Van Noten-headed open letter to the fashion industry. The two groups of signatories are not the same, but many of the Rewiring Fashion signatories did sign the Belgian designer’s May 12 letter, which called for a similar change in the fashion calendar.
In the past two days, almost 1,000 new signatories have joined the original 64 of Rewiring Fashion. The document presents three key suggestions on how to change the industry for the better.
First, the proposal calls for a resetting of the fashion calendar. There is too much time between runway shows and when collections hit stores, it argues. Buyers spend too much time and money traveling to see collections that customers feel are stale by the time they can buy them. So, the petition proposes a revised calendar, with shows taking place weeks or days–not months–before a season’s collection goes to retail. Combined men’s and women’s fashion weeks held in February/January and June would ensure diminished travel time, enable longer full-price selling periods, and remove the gendered barriers of fashion week.
The signatories also pose the possibility of fashion shows evolving for the digital age and becoming events geared towards engaging consumers. Designers could experiment with different creative formats and reach customers directly. Even though they’d be available for longer, collections would feel fresher and newer since they’d be hitting stores right away and not competing with dupes. According to Rewiring Fashion, not only should the fashion world reduce the time between the introduction and distribution of the product, but it should let consumers themselves experience firsthand the excitement of a new collection.
Finally, the petition calls for fashion to break its “addiction to discounting.” The COVID-19 pandemic has stunted buying this season, leaving retailers with loads of unsold Spring/Summer 2020 products that will likely not sell without heavy markdowns. However, the pandemic is separate from another problem: every season retailers will push markdowns earlier and earlier to try and retain the most profit possible. Customers then expect markdowns, and the resulting cycle damages profit, brand power, and transparency for all involved. The petition demands a stop to mid-season discounting and special event sales like Black Friday or Cyber Monday.
The pandemic has created an immediate crossroads for the fashion industry, but Rewiring Fashion hopes to address issues of sustainability that pre-date the current public health crisis. The fashion system is becoming “less and less conducive to genuine creativity.” Rewiring Fashion identifies the original signatories’ belief in “the actions we must take to preserve the beauty, creativity, and craft of our industry, while building solid, sustainable businesses that can survive the current storm—and beyond.”
Following Van Noten’s address, it is clear industry leaders are itching for change. In April, Van Noten and Lane Crawford’s Andrew Keith organized a bi-weekly Zoom to discuss concerns about the Spring/Summer 2020 season and sustainability in the industry. In the past, individual brands like Thakoon have tried to sell products directly to consumers, but without an industry-wide change these initiatives had little staying power.
The Zoom meeting became an unofficial group that composed the Open Letter to the Fashion Industry. With its similar proposals to reshuffle the fashion calendar and decrease waste and unnecessary travel, the Open Letter is connected to Rewiring Fashion even though the exact organization of the two groups remain relatively informal.
Van Noten himself was noticeably absent from Rewiring Fashion’s more comprehensive plan. Further, as of May 15, neither Kering nor LVMH has signed either call to action. Given the sheer market power of the two luxury conglomerates, it is hard to imagine significant industry-wide change without their support.
But #rewiringfashion is trending on Twitter. The group already has an Instagram page with over 2,000 followers. It is unclear who runs or owns the Instagram account, but several designers have already posted the account to their stories.
The coronavirus pandemic has forced the ever-growing, constantly innovating fashion world to stop. The surpluses from this season have thrown normal businesses cycles off-kilter. Rewiring Fashion begs the industry to embrace the disruption and go forward sustainably. The question is will it actually work?END
prev link: https://www.crfashionbook.com/fashion/a32503171/rewiring-fashion-proposal-industry-change/
createdAt:Fri, 15 May 2020 21:19:57 +0000