The CFDA and BFC make a statement on the system's future changes
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The CFDA and BFC make a statement on the system's future changes

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Despite several lockdowns being lifted, as it is happening in Italy, the COVID-19 pandemic has provoked a crisis with long-term consequences that are already leading towards big changes. Even the fashion industry is undergoing a revolution, as suggested by the MKS Milano Fashion School Fashion Design students during online lessons in the past few months.

Following Giorgio Armani’s open letter and Dries Van Noten’s one, signed by many designers, the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) and the British Fashion Council (BFC) underlined the need to slow down the fashion system’s pace for a general reset. The two major institutions for fashion weeks in New York and London have issued a joint press release meant to be a guide full of tips to start again and to react to the pandemic. “We are united in our steadfast belief that the fashion system must change, and it must happen at every level. We are listening to many conversations taking place. These changes have been overdue for a while, and the fallout from coronavirus has forced us all to prioritize the process of rethinking how our industry should function,” they explained.

The message, dubbed as “The Fashion Industry’s Reset”, takes into consideration some of the main issues which have recently emerged, aiming for a better functioning of the fashion system, and offering useful insights for positive effects. Amidst various recommendations, the one standing out the most is the necessity for brands to slow down and rethink the way they do business and present their collections: “We encourage our brands, designers and retailers, who are used to fashion’s fast, unforgiving pace, to slow down. For a long time, there have been too many deliveries and too much merchandise generated. With existing inventory stacking up, designers and retailers must also look at the collections cycle and be very strategic about their products and how and when they intend to sell them. There is a clear disconnect from when things arrive in-store to when the customer actually needs them. The delivery cadence should shift closer to the season for which it is intended. Together, we strongly recommend designers focus on no more than two main collections a year”.

Sustainability is another extremely important aspect, because “through the creation of less product, with higher levels of creativity and quality, products will be valued and their shelf life will increase,” explained the two Fashion Councils, also suggesting the simplification of the pre-collections system with showroom presentations, as well as fewer shows around the world and in line with the regular fashion calendar.

The CFDA and BFC have also decided to establish new formats for the Spring Summer 2021 collection. This message can be seen as an expression of the winds of change blowing in the industry right now, even if some of its protagonists are yet to participate in the debate, especially in Europe, as demonstrated by Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode.

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