Restart the fashion industry
Updated: May 1
Even before the pandemic broke, the fashion industry was approaching an existential crisis. After her Spring 2020 show Miuccia Prada said “there is too much fashion, too many clothes”. And while we do not know whether people are going to go all out and retail therapy, or be content with what we already own there is most definitely going to be a shift in the way the industry (and world) will operate.
On Monday Saint Laurent announced that it would not stage any runway shows for the remainder of the year, and will show clothes on a self-determined calendar. The brand on Instagram stated that it will “take control of its pace and reshape its schedule,” in hopes of “connecting with people globally by getting closer to them in their own space and lives”. The brand’s chief executive, Francesca Bellettini, said, “We want to encourage a more lasting, less ephemeral attitude toward experiences and products.”
And shift is gradually seeping into an industry that changed seasons more than outfits. Brands will find that they really need to convince their customers that their products are worth the price, and the key, especially as consumers feel financially squeezed and cynical, is to show that they aren’t merely marketing. Brands like Hermès, which emphasizes the human aspect of its artisanal tradition is putting the names of its designers on its scarves, for example.
The industry seems to be betting that benevolent, customer-first service and entertainment are more effective than playing the trend-generating monarch.