The fashion industry has collectively spoken and it wants a new deal. Word on the street is that post-pandemic fashion gets a new calendar.
In response to our current reality of mandatory business closures, a strong sense of panic cut through design studios and brick and mortar stores alike. Many brands began reaching out in hopes of finding a sense of security and togetherness in this very uncertain, and for many businesses, unfortunate, time. Because of that, Business of Fashion facilitated a conversation amongst a group of fashion industry designers and retailers to establish a proposal for the entire industry to rewire the way the fashion business is run.
Think of this: Fashion shows focused on the consumer rather than the industry and media, deliveries closer to season, less discounting. Ah, what an idea. The proposal is for this industry to strip itself down and shake itself up. Model its future to be more sustainable for brands everywhere. This is done by providing longer full price selling seasons. Reduce the the ability for copy cat brands to knock off higher end designers before their product even hits stores. Perhaps most importantly to finally shake the consumer out of their hard held habit of demanding deep discounts.
For many direct to consumer brands this has already happening. To the rest of the industry: Welcome to the party!
The global pandemic that has effectively shut down our economy, and many others across the globe, is essentially becoming the last straw for a fashion industry model that was not working already. As a result, bankruptcies have begun with a domino effect. Retailers have announced many stores that will never reopen. Independent brands are struggling and looking for ways to pivots, many turning to producing PPE in order to keep the lights on long enough to get out of this current crisis.
Now, designers and retailers are fearful of what’s to come. As they should be. We are in uncharted territory. We have never faced a government mandated shut down like this and hopefully never will again.
Over the last six weeks or so, the team over at BoF has been facilitating Zoom calls with a mixed bag of fashion industry folks ready to spearhead a change to the overall industry calendar. Fashion has been notoriously on a calendar if its own; shipping Fall clothes in the dead of summer, summer clothes in the throes of winter, fashion show structures that have not seen much change in 50 years. It is time to change things up.
“Normal” as we knew it is gone.
WE HAVE SEEN THIS COMING
For years now, digitally native brands and direct to consumer brands that have foregone traditional wholesale retailer selling channels have been operating mostly on a calendar of their own. They put product out when it’s viable for selling, not dictated by the traditional buying patterns of big box department stores. Hashtags are their runway shows. Their ad campaigns are constant, personal, and timely. Selling seasons are long and void of deep discounting. Is the rest of the Fashion World finally taking notice?
The proposal that has come from BoF’s group think is very reminiscent of DTC brand habits. But still, we applaud them. “Normal” as we knew it is gone. This pause of the industry has allowed people to think about what is working and what is not. How can we improve and redefine our systems to serve us all better?
In this new proposal the fashion calendar has been totally reworked to establish deliveries that are closer to seasonal selling. Besides that, it will push fashion shows out to be presented closer to when the product will be available in stores in order to preserve the excitement of the consumer. Therefore, consumers are ready to purchase once the runway looks are available. Men’s and women’s fashion weeks would now be held at the same time. Most importantly, the new calendar would eliminate excessive travel for fashion buyers and media. Instead of fashion shows being at one time and buying seasons another time of year, this new calendar marries presentation timelines with buying seasons. In doing so, buyers and media make fewer trips to major fashion capitals.
Streamlining the calendar serves many benefits to the larger world surrounding fashion. Benefits include degenderizing fashion week, saving on travel costs and inefficient scheduling, reducing excessive travel to reduce the carbon footprint of this very wasteful and polluting industry.
See the full proposal here and sign-up to be included in the on-going conversation.
Thanks for stopping by! As always, and especially now, we love to hear from you. Tell us what you think about this new calendar. Does your brand already work on a non-traditional fashion calendar? For daily inspiration, motivation, tips, and brand shout outs be sure to follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.