A call for change, emerging from a time of collective despair – and collective hope – for a system that serves everyone, from designers and retailers to consumers and our planet.
With 64 founding members from Missoni, Proenza Schouler, Christopher Kane, Isabel Marant, Roksanda Ilincic, and Phillip Lim to name a few, news of the manifesto arrived on my desk the day after I read the open letter penned by Dries Van Noten and Lane Crawford executive, Andrew Keith, supported by Tory Burch and Marine Serre and major retailers Selfridges, Nordstrom and Mytheresa.
Both letter and manifesto embrace the disruption caused by the coronavirus and call for this moment to be one of reflection and repositioning of a broken system.
Rewiring Fashion takes the industry to task over some of its most damaging practices; (1) a fashion calendar that showcases collections months before they reach the consumer, creating a growing window of opportunity for disposable fast-fashion copies, (2) an outdated fashion show format that comes at both a gross financial and environmental cost, and (3) an overreliance on discounting and markdowns that erodes profitability and brand equity.
The solutions seem so intuitively simple that you wonder how an industry has veered so far from its original course.
So, it has been proposed that we introduce a reworked fashion calendar to stage shows weeks – not months – before arriving in stores, and we combine men’s and women’s collections to reduce travel, and remove the gendered constructs of fashion week. We reframe our fashion shows as consumer-focused opportunities, opening up digital front rows to our core audiences. And we break our addiction to discounting, setting the full price A/W selling season from August to January and S/S from February to July, delaying end-of-season discounting and eradicating major sales events like Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Singles Day.
What this all amounts to is less fashion waste, improved consumer interaction, more valuable purchases, and a more responsible and sustainable fashion industry.
But if I were to add one further call to the industry, it would be this: make fewer products, and make them better.
If we’re asking of our consumers to break an addiction to discount shopping, is it not then up to us to provide better products that have intrinsic value beyond their price tag?
My personal maxim, and our mantra here at Trendstop, is Less but Better. It’s the fundamental belief that creating fewer, but better products, rigorously informed by consumer insight and product trends, is the key to streamlining resources, driving profitability, and eliminating the shameful overuse of landfills.
We’ve long seen the need for a reduction in the overall volume of products created – a vast proportion of which will end up flogged in those bemoaned sales periods, reducing profitability for both brand and retailer.
Our research into Unprofitable Collections show that around 25% of products in any given range, produce 75% of the profits. This means that a brand could comfortably do away with 75% of their collection – saving time, resources, and money, whilst better catering to consumer needs.
And as the post-pandemic consumer will likely be more careful in their spending, more considerate in their shopping choices, and more demanding in their product expectations, the margin for error is shrinking.
Eliminating that unprofitable 75% of fashion industry waste – both from the shop floor and from landfills – was my driving factor in starting Trendstop some 18 years ago, and it’s why today, myself and my team help businesses better understand future consumer demands and how to create products that sell.
Today, arising from a situation no one wanted, is the forward leap our industry needed.
It’s an incredibly exciting and hopeful time to be working in the fashion industry, and I look forward to helping propel this message forward.
– Jaana Jätyri, Founder & CEO, Trendstop