The BFC & CFDA Issue Joint Call for Fashion Industry Change with a Reset
The British Fashion Council & Council of Fashion Designers of America Issue “The Fashion Industry’s Reset”
On the heels of Dries Van Noten’s open letter to the fashion industry to change its pattern of deliveries and go-to-market habits, the British Fashion Council (BFC) and the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) have issued a rare joint statement for sweeping changes entitled “The Fashion Industry’s Reset.”
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 prioritise the process of rethinking how our industry should function.
The statement echos sentiments many in the industry had discussed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic including seasonal deliveries that have been out-of-synch with global weather patterns (delivering downed coats and wool sweaters in July) as well as seasonal markdowns that eroding profit margins (November markdowns of said coats and sweaters to make way for January deliveries of spring).
“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,” explained the joint statement. “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.”
The leading designer fashion institutions recommend that designers slow down to “focus on no more than two main collections a year.” Adding that the benefits of slowing down allow for more creativity and a reduced stress level for designer’s and their teams.
In addressing the two main collections a year business model, the institutions recognized the need for commercial pre-season collections but called for design houses to offer these collections that often aren’t ‘fashion-forward to warrant a show” to return to the showrooms.
Post the crisis when non-virtual events can resume, they further recommend that design houses show only during “the regular fashion calendar and in one of the global fashion capitals in order to avoid the strain on buyers and journalists traveling constantly.” Citing the benefits of reduced strain on industry travelers and reducing the carbon footprint.
The statement also touched on sustainability and the benefits of creating less product with higher levels of creativity and quality to increase the shelf life and reduce the environmental impact.
Both the BFC and the CFDA will continue to focus on “creating fashion calendars and other formats that will highlight and help to organize the virtual presentations for the Spring Summer collections.”
The announcement serves to publicly pronounce that both the BFC and the CFDA have heard the concerns of their membership of designers and is seeking to course-correct deliveries, reliance on markdowns, the abundance of shows off the seasonal calendars and outside of core major fashion weeks, sustainability, speed, and stress.