The British Fashion Council (BFC) and the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) have joined hands in a call to the global fashion industry to “slow down” and rethink the way in which it operates amid Covid-19.
In a joint statement today (21 May), the organisations say while the pandemic is hitting the industry from every angle, it provides an opportunity to reset with recommendations for designers to focus on no more than two main collections a year.
“We are united in our steadfast belief that the fashion system must change, and it must happen at every level. We are listening to many conversations taking place. These changes have been overdue for a while, and the fallout from coronavirus has forced us all to prioritise the process of rethinking how our industry should function.
“We encourage our brands, designers and retailers, who are used to fashion’s fast, unforgiving pace, to slow down. 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.
“There is a clear disconnect from when things arrive in-store to when the customer actually needs them. The delivery cadence should shift closer to the season for which it is intended.”
The organisations add, reducing the focus to a maximum of two collections each year will reduce stress levels of designers and their teams, which in turn will have a positive effect on the overall wellbeing of the industry.
They also recommend that once the crisis is over and non-virtual events can resume, pre-collections return to the showrooms and that brands attempt to show during the regular fashion calendar and in one of the global fashion capitals in order to avoid the strain on buyers and journalists travelling constantly.
“This too has placed tremendous stress on the industry and significantly increased each individual’s carbon footprint.”
They add: “Sustainability is an important conversation in every industry. 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.
“The need to align as a global industry during these times has become more apparent. We will continue to work side-by-side, while each city will develop its own local initiatives. 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 reimagine and create, with our members and partners, a successful future.”