What will be the future for the fashion industry?

All designers and fashion professionals are on the same page: the fashion calendar has reached its limits and the industry could not continue anymore. The coronavirus crisis has certainly accelerated what was meant to be a major turning point in the industry and certainly marks the start of a new era in the fashion world. The #rewiring fashion initiative is one of the examples to follow.

Cécilia Pelloux

By Cécilia Pelloux12 juin 2020

Greek designer Mary Katrantzou chose the Temple of Poseidon in Greece for her Spring-Summer 2020 fashion show (photo German Larkin)

The next fashion week in September will definitely not follow the same format for each brand. A fresh new start? Let’s see what luxury groups and independent designers think and how they will showcase their collections this fall when 50% of the business are down for the next year for most of the brands. So, it might be a show, a dinner, an intimate presentation, videos on social media platforms and sites or even a beautiful look book.

US Designer Adam Lippes reported on a call to Luxury Tribune “nothing would replace a live presentation of clothes even though we certainly have a lot more influence on social media than we have in a room”. “There are two different things, showing to the press and stores and showing to the consumers and that is something else.”

Fashion Weeks a crucial financial income that would be difficult to find.

Adam Lippes, founder of the American brand that bears his name. (DR)

The future will probably be a combination of these two parameters.
Nevertheless, fashion shows represented a huge marketing budget for brands, fashion weeks generating millions of dollars in income for cities like New York. A report from the New York City Economic Development Corporation notes that New York Fashion Week generated close to $600 million in income in 2019, which includes hospitality and all the service industries that come around it. NYFW represents a greater income than its rival in London, Paris and Milan all together and a more economic impact than the Super Bowl in the US.

On May 12, 2020, a first group of fashion designers, retail executives, CEO’s from around the world led by Dries Van Noten, Lane Crawford Executive Andrew Keith published an online Forum - an open letter calling for fundamental and expected changes in the current fashion calendar.
Following this initiative a few days later, a second group of industry fashion leaders call for Rewiring Fashion. The plan was facilitated by Imran Amed and Tim Blanks from Business Of Fashion and published online

The Webster shop in Los Angeles founded by Laure Hériard Dubreuil (DR)

Fashion designers talk to one another very rarely and now there is a platform to share ideas and thoughts where people are struggling.

Adam Lippes, founder of Adam Lippes brand

Both plans are similar and some designers, CEOs and retail executives have signed both as reported Laure Hériard Dubreuil, Founder of the so chic luxury multi brand retailer The Webster, operating seven physical boutiques in the U.S. and an online store “both projects help us to combine our strengths, share our ideas and move forward all together in this post Covid crisis”. On the economic impact of her business Laure Hériard Dubreuil told “what we found out in this crisis was that our retail model had been strong and valuable”. “Our core value is curation, editing and being close to our customers and they have really helped us to get through it. Even if all the stores were closed, we have been communicating with them. All my team have been working together and when we opened the Website in Houston, we had queues on the street as customers wanted to come back, talk and see familiar faces. “

Independent Designers are united

Rewiring Fashion includes an overhaul of the fashion calendar, a re-imagination of fashion shows, a different approach to discounting.
The good result is that fashion designers have never been so opened and supportive. They follow the same goal by thinking deeply how the industry needs to be challenged and modified to make it more responsible and adapted to our modern times.

Mary Katrantzou's creations. The designer is a signatory of the Rewiring Fashion initiative (photo German Larkin)

Thanks to a what’s app text sent by Imran Amed and Tim Blanks, they gave the fashion system an incredible feeling of empowering

Mary Katrantzou, fashion designer

Also signatory of Rewiring Fashion, Greek fashion designer Mary Katrantzou- who lives and works in London –added: “since I started in the business twelve years ago, I had never felt this kind of generosity, a real collaboration and a sense of true camaraderie. We all knew that a need for change was imminent and I think to exchange ideas all together is the only way independent designers can be heard. It was really time to go back to the core, do fewer shows and collections, design better to protect creativity and make sure there is no waste and we can create in a responsible way”. Thanks to a what’s app text sent by Imran Amed and Tim Blanks, they gave the fashion system an incredible feeling of empowering, embroidering during this very challenging time. At the beginning zoom calls gathered 30 people and now once a week the conference call counts around 80 participants. Enthusiast about this initiative Designer Adam Lippes mentioned: “fashion designers talk to one another very rarely and now there is a platform to share ideas and thoughts where people are struggling.”

Adam Lippes' Spring/Summer 2020 Collection (DR)

This time is truly an opportunity to think differently for designers around the globe. When US Designer Adam Lippes is working currently on his Resort Collection that was supposed to be shown this week and will be shown in July, his team are all working on photos and videos, handmade beautiful look book with swatches. He is also making some styles in miniatures like a dress for a doll so the store can see the proportions. Mary Katrantzou had already decided internally before the crisis came to show once a year. At the time she wanted to do a show that reflected the values of her brand. The Greek designer showed her SS20 collection show at the temple at Cape Sounion outside Athens in Greece last September. Her show was a fundraiser for the children’s charity Elpida of which she is patron. Mary Katrantzou explained: “it gave me the opportunity to see how much more motivated a team is when a show has a higher purpose.”

Moreover sustainability is now obviously the center of the Rewiring Fashion plan. Fashion businesses need to be sustainable and this catastrophic pandemic will force the industry to focus on it more than ever. Seems everyone agrees on that point. For American Designer Adam Lippes “sustainability” had become a real catch word: “we make very refined and beautiful clothing that women do not want to throw away, and to me it is ultimate sustainability».

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