SLOW FASHION revolution in a digital world

2Goodmedia illustration of a social worker of the Slow fashion revolution

The path and the form of economic recovery post Covid-19 remain uncertain. But it presents the opportunity to implement the adoption of various forms of technologies and innovations

8th of May 2020 | Rome, Italy
By Delphine Souquet

What will the future of Fashion be post Covid-19? Some people say the world will turn to normal and run even faster. Others like the French Label on sustainable Fashion SloWeAre are calling for a Slow Fashion Revolution. Indeed the Fashion industry is the second most polluting industry in the world after the oil industry. Some observers say the pandemic will only accelerate some changes. Has the Fashion system become obsolete? The path and the form of economic recovery post Covid-19 remain uncertain. But it presents the opportunity to implement the adoption of various forms of technologies and innovations. The acceleration of recycling lines and second hand marketplaces are predictable. Is it the upcoming of a Slow Fashion Revolution on the way?

This is the first episode of a series of articles and interviews on 2Goodmedia’s podcast to give a voice to a strong and global community of people engaged in creating a more human, ethical and sustainable future. A community composed of managers and entrepreneurs sharing insights and reflexions. They will be responsible to take decisive actions in the next months.

The tone of this article is deliberately optimistic. We illustrate our reflexions on the future of Fashion with the sketches of Gabriele Melodia, a young and talented Italian Illustrator and Fashion designer. Indeed we believe in the power of human creativity and imagination to invent the future…

The new formats of Fashion weeks need to be reinvented.

What will be the future of Fashion weeks? There will be no Fashion Weeks as we were used to, in 2020, due to the measures of social distancing. It is difficult to remain updated on the calendars as news are published every day.

2Goodmedia illustration of the new Fashion show calendar of the slow fashion revolution by the fashion illustrator Gabriele Melodia

Most nations have canceled purely and simply their 2020 Fashion shows, meanwhile others go for a pure digital streaming solution like in Shanghai and London or Milan in July. The new formats of Fashion weeks need to be reinvented.

Single shows on the calendar to take the time to create

Carine Roitfeld, the goddess of Fashion, after creating the spectacular CR Runway during Pitti Uomo in Florence last year, has announced an unprecedented format from home, through a Digital show live on YouTube on May, 1st. It will be all produced remotely with a distant production & backstage team and models at home!

But before Covid-19, we were already in a situation where the New York Fashion Week had been deserted. Tom Ford, the newly named chairman of the Council of Fashion Designers of America had turned his back on NYFW preferring to show in Los Angeles in 2020. For Saint Laurent with CEO Francesca Belletini, simultaneously President of the French Woman Fashion week, it is a participation canceled. The reason is to dedicate necessary time to creation first.

Creative Directors and brands are calling for a Future of Slow Fashion

2Goodmedia illustration of A plane used to attend Fashion shows by the fashion illustrator Gabriele Melodia

Is there a Slow Fashion Revolution at the level of the industry leaders? After Alber Elbaz, John Galliano, Raf Simons speaking against a frenetic schedule of Fashion shows and dramatic labour conditions, Giorgio Armani and Anthony Vaccarello are also moving to slow down the game. The objective is to find the time focus on creativity. And scale down the rhythm of collections to match seasonality and remain more time in boutiques.

The culminant point of Fast fashion has been reached with the See now-Buy now collections available in Boutique the day after the show. The organization of Fashion shows and the selling campaigns need to be totally transformed in 2020 and maybe through 2021. Until the end of the sanitary crisis and the relaunch of the transport industry.

The technologies of live-streaming platforms and virtual showrooms are critical

It is very difficult to tell what will be the future of fashion shows and fairs in 2021. Clearly the access to digital platforms & technology will be a cornerstone. The concept of a pure digital event in itself is controversial among the professionals of the events industry as totally insufficient to substitute for physical events.

The financial impacts of the cancelations of the Fashion weeks are huge for the Fashion industry itself but also for the live and the events industry as a whole. The industry of live events in Italy alone represents 569 000 employees, involves 56,4 millions of attendees, and hospitality represents 40% of total hotel room reservations, as reveals the campaign of the Live and events industry in Italy #Italialive.

2Goodmedia : illustrations of streaming fashion show technology  by the fashion illustrator Gabriele Melodia

Will the future be made of live streaming Fashion shows and events without an audience? This is already the case for the Shanghai Fashion Week. It was organized with a 2-day anticipation on the scheduled calendar set on March, 24th during Covid-19 crisis! Chinese and foreign brands have been showing their collections onTmall, the live-streaming platform and e-commerce portal of the giant Chinese Group Alibaba. No one can predict how much Live streaming and Virtual showrooms will drive Retail and E-commerce success.

The moto of a Slow Fashion Revolution : do less, more quality, and timeless creations

After months without shopping or spending, we wake up with the conscience of our unnecessary consumer habits. The consumer is becoming an activist speaking out and encouraged by the crisis which is surrounding us. This forms of activism can take the form of a new consumer manifesto : spend less and for better quality.

2Goodmedia illustration of tons of garments wasted to be fighted in the slow fashion revolution by the fashion illustrator Gabriele Melodia

Upcycling of unsold or unusable stocks :
There are huge opportunities to upgrade the stocks of luxury Houses in the new recycling or upcycling sectors that are being reorganized. But we note that the Luxury brands of Fashion groups are reluctant to sell their stocks of unsold or unusable materials. They fear the depreciation of their image and losing in exclusivity.

We are only at the beginning of the transformation of the entire upcycling and recycling sectors. They respond to changes in the market and usage : waste is no longer acceptable to the consumer. Platforms like Adapta in France aim to resell stocks of dormant leather in small series to emerging designers.

The Slow Fashion Revolution and the emergence of a Second Hand marketplace

A new ecosystem of the Second hand involving Luxury and fashion brands is growing. The second hand business is far from being new. In France, Emmaus is a well-known and recognized player in this sector. But it includes now new players of the Luxury industry. Even though luxury brands are less concerned by definition since they produce in smaller quantities. Anyway, it is a way of meeting consumers’ expectations to give clothing a second life.

2Goodmedia illustration of second hand market in the slow fashion revolution by the fashion illustrator Gabriele Melodia

The financial stakes of the second hand business are enormous : we are talking about a global market of 33 billion Euros in 2022. Fast Fashion actors such as Zalando and H&M with Sellpy have taken up the subject and organized their own Second hand platforms. Vinted, the French leader of second hand online, is opened to collaborate with brands.

Luxury brands are very interested in the Second Hand market as it represents a potential for additional turnover. It can also attract customers to a Second Hand corner in Boutique with the possibility of cross-selling with the newest collections at the same time.

Credits : 2Goodmedia agency for the editorial ; All Illustrations by Gabriele Melodia, Images Courtesy of Gabriele Melodia

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