A group of fashion designers and luxury labels and department stores calls for a thorough reform of the fashion industry in an open letter. More than ever there is the need for a simpler and more sustainable fashion business, Dries Van Noten says.
Opportunity for fundamental change
The Belgian fashion designer took the lead in a series of (online) discussions with other fashion designers and top managers in the industry about its future. The initiative now culminates in an open letter to the fashion industry, calling for concrete and immediate reform. The signatories include big names such as Acne Studios, Jil Sander and Tory Burch, as well as heads of luxury department store chains such as Nordstrom, Harvey Nichols and Selfridges.
Although the current climate is challenging, the signatories also see it as an opportunity for "a fundamental and welcome change that will simplify our business". Simplifying, they claim, will make the fashion industry both socially and environmentally more sustainable, and "ultimately align more closely with customers' needs".
The appeal mirrors Giorgio Armani's call at the beginning of the coronavirus crisis. The Italian has already put his words into action: the brand's summer collection will remain in stores until September this year. He may also present fewer mid-season collections in the near future.
Less discounts, less pollution
Seasonality and flow are also the first major working points for the group behind Dries Van Noten. Preferably as early as the autumn and winter season of 2020, they want to put winter collections back towards the winter (August to January) and ensure that spring and summer collections are present in their own seasons as well (February to July). They also want a more balanced flow of deliveries, leaving "time for products to create desire". Moreover, they wish to limit discounts to twice a year, at the end of each fashion season.
They also want to work on sustainability, creating fewer unnecessary products, less waste in fabrics and inventory, and less travelling. Fashion shows should be reviewed and digital showrooms and "personal creative interactions" augmented, when it comes to selling the clothes.
"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", the letter concludes.