It's Time for a Fashion Industry Reset

©. @Artfully79 via Twenty20


The months of lockdown have given everyone a chance to mull over how to do things differently, and the fashion industry is no exception. The Council of Fashion Designers of America and the British Fashion Council have joined forces to create a set of recommendations for how fashion could change going forward in a post-pandemic world.

"We strongly recommend designers focus on no more than two main collections a year. We firmly believe this can provide our talents with the time they need to reconnect to the creativity and craft that makes our field so unique in the first place. A slower pace... will have a positive effect on the overall wellbeing of the industry."

A slower-moving fashion industry would mean:

  • Fewer collections overall, ideally two main ones per year. This would mean foregoing the "cruise or pre-collections that fall in between the two main annual collections ... often debuted in lavish locations such as palaces in Marrakech or on the Great Wall of China."
  • Biannual shows kept in global fashion capitals, not far-flung exotic locations. This would spare journalists and buyers from having to travel incessantly: "This too has placed tremendous stress on the industry and significantly increased each individual’s carbon footprint." (In-between season collections would not warrant a show, but simply debut in showrooms.)

A focus on sustainability will improve everyone's fashion experience, the councils say:

"Through the creation of less product, with higher levels of creativity and quality, products will be valued and their shelf life will increase. The focus on creativity and quality of products, reduction in travel and focus on sustainability (something we encourage of the entire industry) will increase the consumer’s respect and ultimately their greater enjoyment in the products that we create."

It sounds exactly like what critics of the current fashion model, as well as certain forward-thinking designers, have been saying for years, but now it's finally coming from within the industry itself, which is hopeful news. It doesn't seem too far fetched, either, with a recent UK survey finding that many shoppers are more inclined to buy second-hand, prioritize quality, and make things last (suggesting they'd be more comfortable with an upfront investment in a pricier piece than they would have, say, five years ago).

Hopefully this will become a reality. Read the councils' message here.

Katherine Martink, May 2020