Designers, fashion CEOs and retailers call for revolt against existing delivery system
May 13, 2020
A group of fashion CEOs, retailers and designers, including such luminaries as Dries Van Noten, Tory Burch and Craig Green, have called for a major rethink in fashion deliveries, and greater efforts to encourage sustainability in an open letter to the industry.
“Recently a group of us from across the global fashion industry, from CEOs to buyers and creative directors, came together in a series of conversations with a shared vision; to discuss ways in which our business needs to transform,” the group of nearly 40 noted industry leaders wrote, in an open letter made available to FashionNetwork.com.
“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 customers’ needs,” they added.
The revolutionaries even call for further signatories, via the web address: forumletter.org.
The group emerged from a series of Zoom conferences this month, uniting a surprisingly broad array of figures including fashion forward designers, dynamic executives, influential big boutique owners and even online retailers.
The first of their two key demands is for fashion to begin “adjusting the seasonality and flow of both women’s wear and menswear goods, starting with the Autumn/Winter 2020 season.”
They call on fashion to “put the Autumn/Winter season back in winter,” by retailing those collections from August to January; while also selling Spring/Summer in summer, by which they mean February to July. The letter also demands “a more balanced flow of deliveries through the season to provide newness but also time for products to create desire.”
A related goal is to greatly reduce the bane of all designer houses, discounts, in order to allow more full-price selling.
This fledgling fashion forum also calls for greater “sustainability throughout the supply chain,” and a new sales calendar, which they claim would lead to less unnecessary product; less wasted fabrics and inventory, and less showrooms. While they also envision greater use of digital showrooms and suggest a review of fashion seasons, though without making any specific suggestions.
However, while many of the suggestions seem logical, industry veterans will be only too well aware that younger designer brands have been belly aching for decades about department stores putting their clothes into chains far too early each year. Due to competition to have key collections ahead of rival retailers, stores have gradually advanced the arrival of new clothes earlier and earlier over the decades.
It’s also very noticeable that none of the giant luxury groups in Europe – LVMH, Kering, Chanel, Hermes or Prada – are signatories to this document.
Nonetheless, the missive concludes with a call to arms.
“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,” it reads.
The letter is also signed by the likes of Joseph Altuzarra, Linda Fargo of Bergdorf Goodman, Erdem Moralioglu, Gabriella Hearst, Shelly Corkery of Brown Thomas, Marine Serre, Mary Katrantzou, Michael Kliger of Mytheresa, Pierre-Yves Roussel and Rodrigo Bazan of Thom Browne.
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