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Date 04.04.2020
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Fashion Weeks: To Postpone or Cancel? Or convert them into one global expo in our mouths – Text by OG

If you find yourself bitter with disappointment and staring hopelessly out the window, consider reviewing this new list of guidelines for confronting these trying times:

DEAR LEADING DIGITAL AUTHORITIES: When will you take a week off to rest and reset?

As a weekly reader of Business of Fashion, I feel grateful to have access to their professional opinions and prompt updates regarding current debates in our field. While these have positively reshaped my experience of working from home, I have become increasingly concerned with more health-related questions. Something about broadcasting fashion information and forecasting movement 24/7 just does not feel right at the moment. Will editorial teams across the world ever take a break? Or are they doing the same amount of work, if not more, that they were doing before COVID-19? The movement to halt unsustainable practices and clean polluted arenas cannot mobilize until all major engines, from NYC to London, Paris, Milan, etc. shut down completely. It is only without echoes or noise that we can redefine fashion and work through these issues in silence.

IF YOU THINK FASHION WON’T BE YOUR CAREER: It is now the moment to stop.

What if we detach ourselves from phones and laptops and reset without attending to technology? This question is disavowed like a Coronavirus conspiracy theory. But in your own personal retreat, be it professional or spiritual, consider the appeal of disappearance. A temporary digital hiatus is your choice, not the government’s, and challenges us as a digital audience to a dose of information fasting. Many of us are still flirting with the idea of our systems returning to business-as-usual. These hopes combined deny not only the insignificant improvement each week, but also what was already gone in the first place. The industry’s current invisible episode of inertia is the result of an oversized regime so out of control that we remain trapped inside without methods of escape (except the ones COVID-19 requests).

DO NOT MARKDOWN: Turning the system into one big outlet would be catastrophic.

Unfortunately I have to disagree with Dutch trend-watcher Edelkoort who claims that spring-summer 2021 fashion can be recovered. Considering that June 2020 is the market period for those products and budget reconfigurations require major planning, this is far too optimistic. First buyers will need to read clients’ desires once they return to public life and storefront shopping. In the Netherlands, we are required to stay in our homes until mid May, but overall we do not know when this period of outdoor life will resume. Unless science delivers new findings soon, public life will probably remain shut down for much longer. It is estimated that physical stores will report big losses for the upcoming season, and official summer markdowns that typically begin in early June (a month earlier than in Belgium and France) will start sooner than ever. Do not shop beautiful designs centrifuged by COVID-19 under discounts! Don’t!


INFLUENCER-ISM HAS DISAPPEARED: It’s a shame that we weren’t able to stop it before.

A positive effect of COVID-19 is that it halted commercial brands from dissolving trends into ephemeral existence through the hiring of influencers. Influencers, who profit off of the most manipulated tentacles of neoliberal capitalism, certainly are not the ones rethinking fashion. They were created to suck the marrow out of consumers, making them shop and accelerating sales during times of economic stagnation. There was not any charity or kindness involved in their creation.

 

CONSUMERS AS THE GUIDING STARS: First we need to listen to them, and then advise them.

Hopefully and presumably for winter 2021 and not earlier, consumers will really know what they want. They will have to reignite bonds with formerly trusted brands and proudly share their new choices. They will look at fashion in a different way, and stores will need to listen to these new desires by socializing with each client and posing questions about their wellbeing during these difficult times. Without a humanitarian approach, such as sharing tea or coffee in stores, the desired transactions will not occur. I do not expect consumers to continue choosing the same types of items, as they are all even more aware that our system was working outside of the rules of sustainability.

DIRECT YOUR GAZE TOWARDS THE LOCAL & ARTISANAL: Kiki Niesten’s €499 ceramic ashtrays at Maastricht‘s oversized art fair TEFAF were set out.

Between March 7th and 15th, 200 polluting private jets were scheduled to land, but the organization had no choice but to cancel the 2020 event on March 11th, four days before it closed. Local store Kiki Niesten remained uninjured by the authority’s decision, for its spring-summer 2020 items and promotional video in collaboration with Sander Plug and KASSL Editions used to join the fair festivities, were already part of the seasonal stock. It briefly mentions how the retailer’s vision recently detached from the big houses by handpicking a national lacquered coat instead of the Prada and Jil Sander types that typically marked the store. My review on this clever Mammy Two Shoes situation is: smoke signals coming out of encrypted beauty inviting us to use our hands in a circular, mad world.

 

FASHION’S INAUGURAL ‘WORLD EXPO’ WILL BE HELD IN PARIS IN 2029: and not a week before!

Past fashion weeks suddenly felt colossally modest and feeble when just one week ago FHCM – Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode – officially suspended all upcoming Paris events around the months of June and July 2020 due to the world health crisis. This punctual and ethical stance might appear to buyers and press as a decision rooted in hope within the industry. The fact that the organization prioritized cancelling major events occurring in the distant future without providing sentiments about returning to the streets indicates the delicate state of the industry overall. As they say, stay tuned…

This article appears in the April 3, 2020, entry of A Shaded View On Fashion
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