Beginning with an open letter of concern from fashion designer Dries Van Noten, the fashion community was put on high alert with the memo voicing prime problems present within the industry, most important now more than ever as the COVID-19 pandemic has struck all across the globe. The letter, signed by the likes of Marco Zanini, Joseph Altuzarra, and Mary Katrantzou, the document represent an industry of likeliness joining together to address the moment of distress.
The pandemic has ignited a surplus of closures all around the globe forcing companies to close on a daily basis for now what has been weeks. Ultimately shattering the infrastructure of companies existence, for example Neiman Marcus and J. Crew both filing for bankruptcy and Jeffrey locations being permanently closed by Nordstrom, the industry is in need for an intense change. Pushing the issue further, the Council of Fashion Designers of America and the British Fashion Council weighed in today issuing a joint address to the respective parties of the community. The address, called “The Fashion Industry’s Reset,” covers topics from sustainability to a re-design of the Fashion presentations across its platforms. “We are united in our steadfast belief that the fashion system must change, and it must happen at every level. For a long time, there have been too many deliveries and too much merchandise generated. With existing inventory stacking up, designers and retailers must also look at the collections cycle and be very strategic about their products and how and when they intend to sell them.” In summary, the model planned is one that plans to “focus on no more than two main collections a year” and delivering the merchandise of the collection(s) “closer to the season for which it is intended,” continuing “A slower pace also offers an opportunity to reduce the stress levels of designers and their teams, which in turn will have a positive effect on the overall well being of the industry.”
As reported previously in a 2017 study, the fashion industry contributes to over 92 million tons of textile waste per year and that doesn’t speak to the garments discarded or didn’t make it to sale before the latest collection or each companies carbon footprint. Sustainability has been an intense topic for the community as the amount of waste continues to increase over time. The statement continues saying, “Through the creation of less product, with higher levels of creativity and quality, products will be valued, and their shelf life will increase.” With so many different collections presented to consumers at one time creates a high-volume ingesting ultimately creating a lack of engagement with consumers to adequately give attention the the countless hours of har work and creativity put into it.
Creating a beacon of hope, the address comes to a close with stating “Fashion is a business of creativity and new ideas and difficult times are also ones for innovation. We will work to our industry’s benefit as we re-imagine and create, with our members and partners, a successful future.” At such a vulnerable time of creation, the industry needs a unique change for the better. As the future still remains unclear, one thing is sure: We will get through this all, together.
To read the full statement, visit the CFDA’s website.