The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the fashion industry to reassess the traditional calendar.
The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the fashion industry hard – however in amongst all of the uncertainty, there is a movement to affect positive change on the industry’s future. With stores shuttered and fashion weeks cancelled and going digital, this time of quarantine has given designers a chance to reflect on the traditional fashion calendar and a cohort of some of Canada and the world’s top brands has decided that things need to change – immediately.
In an open letter to the fashion industry, a group of designers and brand executives from the likes of Erdem, Holt Renfrew, Burberry, Mary Katrantzou, Carolina Herrera, Altuzarra, Proenza Schouler and Tory Burch, have proposed a new schedule that is not only kinder to the environment but allows brands to more accurately cater to their customers’ lifestyles. The letter begins by saying, “We agreed that the current environment although challenging, presents an opportunity for a fundamental and welcome change that will simplify our businesses, making them more environmentally and socially sustainable and ultimately align them more closely with the customers’ needs.”
It continues, “We hope to achieve this by adjusting the seasonality and flow of both womenswear and menswear goods, starting with the Autumn/Winter 2020 season.” The letter then outlines three ways in which they would like to see the schedule/old order of business change. “Put the Autumn/Winter season back in winter (August/January) and Spring/Summer season back in summer (February/July), create a more balanced flow of deliveries through the season to provide newness but also time for products to create desire, [and] discount at the end of the season in order to allow for more full-price selling – January for Autumn/Winter and July for Spring/Summer.”
The brands also outlined five ways in which to “increase sustainability throughout the supply chain and sales calendar” including “less unnecessary product, less waste in fabrics and inventory, less travel, make use of digital showrooms in addition to personal creative interactions [and] review and adapt fashion shows.”
The letter finishes by saying, “Working together, we hope these steps will allow our industry to become more responsible for our impact on our customers, on the planet and on the fashion community, and bring back the magic and creativity that has made fashion such an important part of our world.”
So far, the letter has garnered almost 200 signatures.