The fashion calendar has been broken
The pandemic has forced brands to assess the traditional system
Fashion technology can change the face of the industry
With Gucci becoming the latest luxury brand to go seasonless, following the steps of Yves Saint Laurent - it seems the traditional fashion calendar is no longer viable. For a long time now, the system has been broken – the showing, selling and shipping of clothes no longer fit the rhythm of 'seasons' and many brands were losing out. The pandemic though dire, has forced brands to look at their whole supply chain and assess the efficiency of the traditional system. Many are now facing the facts and come to realise that a reworking of fashion is more necessary now than ever.
The traditional Fashion calendar runs in 2 distinct seasons; Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter with a resort collection in between. They are held in the 4 main fashion capitals of the world; Paris, London, Milan and New York each creating a platform and showcasing world renowned design talents. The corona virus pandemic has completely disrupted this with many cancelled shows and restricted travel, brands have been left on pause not quite sure how they will move forward.
During this time, many conversations and discussions have been held to try and figure out what to do and how best to manage the situation as time goes on. From the BOF facilitating ‘The rewiring of fashion’ alongside independent designers, CEO’s and the like whilst Vogue partnered with the CFDA and Amazon to create a platform for designers to sell. Yet, majority of brands are still playing the waiting game. All these discussions have shown in reality, are excuses of an industry built on secrecy now forced to actually talk to one another from suppliers to manufacturers to designers and retailers. They must now come together and really work to rebuild and restructure a system that adds value at every point and not limited to a few.
This is not the first time such conversations have been held nor will it be the last. The current circumstances, has brought the issue to the very forefront because it is affecting everyone in the industry. Even though the reliance on the calendar has lost its hold, it is hoped that actionable steps are not just implemented but taken. New opportunities for innovation in developing, showing and delivering garments are now endless. Whether the see-now-buy-now model is to adopted by more brands or shifting the focus to be more costumer-centric by tailoring the experience to be more intimate or even the implementation of technology in every sector of the industry building a system that is advanced, sustainable and truly speaks creativity.
An example of how the future of fashion shows could go was witnessed the world over using Instagram as a medium. The Pink label Congo showcased on Friday the 22nd May 2020. The collection by Congolese-American designer Anifam Mvuemba of Hanifa Official was a 3-D digital presentation with no models. It showcased the beauty of the clothes from the movement of the pleats on the Kinshasa backless mini dress to the ruching detail on the Orelie skirt. The clothes were brought to life literally, whilst touching on issues of sustainability, war and conflict, importance of the female body, child soldiers, the African diaspora privilege and the African artisan skills. Each garment spoke of the beauty of The Congo from the colours used to the style and cut. Anifam seamlessly wove fashion with technology presenting a detailed thought process behind each piece and produced ground breaking and innovative fashion.
As fashion is a multi- sensory experience and many consumers want to interact with the clothes that they buy, will the investment and development of technology within the industry lead to concepts such as virtual changing rooms to try on clothes in real time with the use of your phone camera or simulations that bring your clothes to life by a simple scan of a garment giving you all the fabric information you need.
The future of fashion does hang in the balance as the taste of consumers change and emerging markets grow, enough conversations have been having, it is now time for the industry to step up, collaborate and truly revolutionise.
I encourage you to take a moment and truly witness a defining moment in the industry, one that sets the precedent of possibility - watch the encore of the Pink Congo Collection by Hanifa Official on their website http://hanifaofficial.ctcin.bio/
Author: Mayward Martindale