COVID-19 is compelling the fashion industry to change the way it sells and delivers garments. The pandemic is leading to the emergence of several fashion industry-driven initiatives that indicate what this change could involve.
Slow the pace of collections
One initiative launched by the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) and the British Fashion Council (BFC), urges the industry to slowdown the pace of new collections. This initiative believes the current delivery model fails to meet customers’ requirements.
This initiative is joined by another initiative #rewiringfashion.org launched by a group of independent fashion designers and facilitated by the Business of Fashion — and Forumletter.org. This initiative, kicked off by designer Dries Van Noten and Lane Crawford’s president Andrew Keith along with Altuzarra’s CEO Shira Sue Carmi — petitions for a change in the industry.
Reset event calendar
Both initiatives have so far gathered over 2,100 signatures from fashion brands, CEOs, designers, textile producers, university professors, and others who have signed either one or both. They have been joined by prominent names such as Chloé, Oscar de la Renta, Tory Burch, Gabriela Hearst, Isabel Marant, and Missoni and stores such as Harvey Nichols, Selfridge's, Lane Crawford, and The Webster appear on the petitions.
#rewiringfashion.org has three objectives: to reset the fashion calendar, re-imagine shows and counter fashion's addiction to discounting. The plan recommends designers to combine the Spring/Summer 2022 and Resort 2022 shows for press, buyers, and other industry by timing the sales of both collection one after another.
Stop mid-season sales to end discounts
The group also urges retailers to defer their end-of-season market downs and stop mid-season sales. This would prevent them from offering heavy discounts. The discontinuing of in-season markdowns, including Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Singles Day by earlier designers have trained the customer to anticipate the yearly sales period and shop accordingly.
Agreeing to this, Gary Wassner, CEO, Hilldun Corporation recently hosted a Zoom call with major retailers to discuss how the industry can adapt to this change. Retailers at this discussion viewed that a law should be passed to change the discounting schemes that retailers follow. This law should overcome American antitrust laws, even temporarily. This way, retailers, most affected by price wars, can coordinate the acquisition of their merchandise and plan their promotions and markdowns.
The Forumletter.org recommends designers to realign deliveries in such a way that the Autumn/Winter collections are sold from August to January, and Spring/Summer from February to July. Staggering their deliveries would allow designer to retain the 'newness' of their collections besides giving them ample time to create desire.
The CFDA and BFC also recommend designers to limit their collections to two in a year. Designers should showcase their main collections within the fashion calendar in one of the global fashion capitals once in-person shows resume. The two bodies pledged support in organizing the Spring/Summer 2021 presentations slated between early September and early October of this year with virtual presentations.