Fashion Innovation & Smart Stategies in the Era of Covid-19

Shopping — By on April 22, 2020 at 11:27 am

Within the fashion industry those hit the most belong to the group of small businesses with a few retail spots locally or even globally. Fashion designer heavyweights opted for the greatest part to fund the fight against Covid-19, including to support younger creatives. The novel coronavirus sent everybody home and there are many fashion brands right now that are on the verge of collapse, feeling overwhelmed by uncertain realities they have to face in the upcoming months. Work from home can be proven efficient in terms of virtual meetings and possible in terms of the handmade part of the production, yet it is not so ideal for overseas fabric research, technologically advanced manufacturing methods, and other operations that require physical presence. Self-isolation left many designers – including Marc Jacobs – pondering over the next steps. Life, in the way we knew it, is currently on pause, and creatives are struggling to figure out what it might look like when we all manage to get out of our quarantined world. The flow of production, communication, promotion, and distribution is violently disrupted and these people are already scratching their heads about ways to monetize all the creativity unleashed during scary moments. Because some believe that crisis feeds creativity. Secluded in their homes, designers are thinking, designing, keeping notes, writing journals, doing rough sketches, and looking for platforms that will help them sustain their businesses and what they love doing. It becomes apparent that those designers who have already adopted sustainable practices and a slower pace (slow fashion) come to the forefront and see this whole shift as an opportunity. They already have larger and slower circles of production, so they are ahead of everybody else. Customers, on the other hand, are realizing that they need less clothes and accessories or greater quality that will not harm the environment and will align with their newly adopted healthy lifestyles. Designers have already been complaining for many years that we produce so many collections that cannot be absorbed by the market. So it’s probably the time to invest in great fashion that lasts. Additionally to the production calendar, they are reevaluating the calendar of the fashion weeks, shows, and events across all continents that made most fashion insiders live their lives on a plane. Yet if we put limits to this extravagant realities, maybe we will miss the surreal essence and magic of this industry; the frenzy, the aspiration, the vanity, and the fantasy. Exaggeration is part of the creative process. It is a dilemma and nobody has a full answer to it. I would only like to say that we need to keep the fun aspect of creativity but maybe get more responsible in terms of the logistics. Less is more, so let’s embrace mindful consumption and meaningful production. Designers have come up with some interesting ideas and I would love to be sharing some of them along the way.

Gabriela Hearst decided to design and sell its current Resort collection in an effort to support their employees. The ethical designer explains that they worked with deadstock and recycled fabrics for 60% of the collection, which means they are less reliant on fabric meals and virgin materials.

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Thank you so much @nicolephelps @voguerunway for letting us express our thoughts on Resort. Gabriela Hearst is designing and selling resort too. “Quite simply,” she said, “we need the revenue, as we have vowed not to let go of any of our 40 team members. I will do anything and everything possible to make sure that no one from my team is an addition to the staggering layoff figures.” Hearst is in the advantageous position of being less reliant on fabric mills working at reduced capacity than some other brands. “I spent months looking for high-quality deadstock and recycled fabrics to make the samples and production for resort,” she explains. “Sixty percent of the production will be made with non-virgin materials, which was a goal of ours.” This could be an inflection point for Hearst’s brand, one in which her sustainability efforts produce real-world benefits beyond the good optics

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Misha Nonoo stresses as their advantage the fact that they are producing on demand after the wholesale and retail orders are placed by the buyers and customers. This eliminates 90% of the waste in the process. The sustainable brand takes more time to deliver, teaching us a thing or two about how we need to cure our dependency on instant gratification.

At Tanya Taylor they are rethinking their delivery calendar, persuading buyers to move it a couple of months later, omitting pieces that haven’t been produced yet, and finding middle ground with the retailers so that the designer’s incredible Pre-Fall collection doesn’t go to waste. Great clothes can be adopted any season, we totally agree!

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