#REWIRINGFASHION. UFW SUPPORTS WORLD FASHION INDUSTRY INITIATIVE
On May 14, Ukrainian Fashion Week announced its vision of changes in the global fashion industry. In a few hours, the world saw an appeal initiated by The Business of Fashion, which concerns a rethinking of the functioning of the fashion industry. The changes that began to be talked about a few seasons ago were instantly accelerated by the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Changes that can be called revolutionary. The radical ideas of the #rewiringfashion movement require not only support but also rethinking of many points. The changes proposed by UFW coincide with the ideas of the #rewiringfashion movement. We are proud that Ukrainian Fashion Week was and remains an integral part of the global fashion industry.
Among the practical issues according to #rewiringfashion participants: are a fashion calendar that is out of sync with the end customer, unsustainable for industry professionals and damaging for sales; a fashion show format that is outmoded; and an addiction to discounts that erodes profitability and brand equity for everyone along the value chain.
We need to revise the current fashion calendar, which is out of sync with today’s market, rethinking the timing of shows, buying periods and product deliveries.
Fashion shows are staged too far ahead of product deliveries. Some brands quickly copy designs, getting them to market in cheaper, disposable fast fashion. Delivery dates are out of sync with real-world seasons. Full price selling periods are too short due to rampant discounting. Buyers and press expend too much time, money and energy travelling.
- Combined men’s and women’s fashion weeks to take place in January/February and June to enable longer full-price sell-through periods, minimise travel requirements and de-gender fashion week.
- Aligned fashion shows, collection deliveries and real-world seasons so shows take place just before weather-appropriate collections hit stores.
- Synchronised next season buying periods with current season presentations to cut back on travel.
Outmoded format of Fashion Shows
The format of fashion shows has not changed in 50 years and yet these previously closed industry events for press, buyers and other insiders now welcome celebrities and influencers, and they are captured and shared online for everyone to see.
- Repositioned fashion shows as events primarily designed to engage customers, creating awareness and desire for collections just before deliveries arrive in stores.
- Agreed that there should be no rules regarding the format of shows, nor any expectations that every brand should show every season.
- Freed designers to reimagine their fashion presentation.
Presently, there are large amounts of unsold Spring/Summer 2020 product in the market, and retailers may have little choice but to apply markdowns to clear this inventory. However, each season, retailers turn to early and frequent discounts to drive traffic and sales, training the customer to expect perennial markdowns and pull back from full-price shopping.
- Retailers avoided extreme discounting for Spring/Summer 2020, keeping in mind the importance of long-term brand equity and profitability.
- Future markdowns were delayed to January and July each year, starting with Autumn/Winter 2020 and all seasons thereafter.
- We stopped in-season discounting, including Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Singles Day.
As we can see, great changes await us. The #rewiringfashion statement already has more than 1,500 signatures. But in fairness, we have to say that today the fashion world has not heard a reaction to new ideas from major fashion groups, fashion media and other key players in the industry. Global change needs time.