Facilitated by Business of Fashion, a group of designers, CEOs and retail executives have joined forces, creating a proposal for radical change in the way which the fashion industry functions. They cite the Covid-19 crisis as making transformations in the industry more necessary than ever.
A number of notable names have signed up to this manifesto, including designers Craig Green, AMI, Amiri, Alyx and A-Cold-Wall, as well as influential retailers such as Selfridges and Machine-A.
The group’s aims are condensed into a three-step plan, titled ” Reset the Fashion Calendar”, “Reimagine Fashion Shows” and “Break Fashion’s Addiction to Discounting”.
These are three topics are issues which those in the industry have complained about in the past, however, the disruption of Covid-19 has created an environment where calls for change are becoming louder and more unified: Dries Van Noten started a petition this month to change the fashion calendar which has also been signed by big industry players.
Have an in-depth look at the proposals made by the group at www.rewiringfashion.org.
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We were getting calls. I’m sure everyone was, writes BoF’s Tim Blanks. The coronavirus had hit fashion hard. There was a bush telegraph of nervous designers looking for any kind of reassurance against a growing tide of bad news. It was obvious that independent designers were going to be hit hardest. For those on a shoestring, it just got thinner. For those who were more established, querulous retailers and landlords were the challenge. Fashion has traditionally been an industry of secrets, but the virus made a nonsense of that. It was time for people to talk openly to each other. BoF facilitated a conversation, via Zoom, that brought dozens of independent designers and storeowners together. In bi-weekly digital gatherings over the past month – a whole patchwork of faces from all over the world – these designers and retailers hashed out a game plan for the future. In one way, it was purest logic. The fashion calendar – the showing, selling and shipping of clothes – divorced itself from common sense a long while ago. The rhythm of fashion’s seasons was surreally disconnected from the seasons as most of the world understood them. You’d go to buy a winter coat when the mercury dropped and all you’d find was bikinis. Irrational this was, but unquestioned, thanks in large part to the commercial might of American department stores whose tune the industry danced to. So, here were a few screens full of faces prepared to challenge the timetable, to create a new reality out of that old surreality, now turned to ashes by Covid-19. It hasn’t been easy. How could there be consensus with so many different wants and needs on the table? But, sure enough, a proposal on how to rewire the fashion calendar took shape. For me, says Blanks, the most important thing has been the communication. People who knew of each other but had never met are now talking across the globe. The future is collaboration not competition. That’s also how revolutions are made. Fashion needed one, and if it took a dreadful virus to create the conditions for change, that is surely just a measure of how great the need for revolution has been. Read the proposal at rewiringfashion.org #rewiringfashion