ARE WE REALLY CHANGING?
The environmental impact of production and consumption systems is central to any contemporary conversation about fashion and design. After more than 25 years of debate, suspicion and indecision, companies are slowly rising to the challenge of creating sustainable products. The question is: why did it take so long to arrive at this point and can the industry really get it to work right through the textile platform?
The reason behind this change of heart lies in the combination of a top-down approach by governments across the world, enforcing an environmental agenda embracing everything from plastic drinking straws to air and water pollution, with a groundswell of public opinion demanding and taking action on everything from fracking to fur. The anvil of consumer pressure is reflected not just in demands for transparency but also in the rise of veganism, company boycotts, interest in ethical indexes and, most significantly, in the past few months, decelerated consumption, the reasons for which go far beyond questions of austerity and economy.
And this pressure will only grow as Generation Z joins the ranks of the Millennials in the push for ‘responsible’ living. Their heroes are not high-street multiples or status-laden brands but change leaders such as Stella McCartney, who have placed ‘guilt-free’ principles at the heart of their brands. But, McCartney is not alone. More and more companies are seeing that sustainability and environmental awareness make sense not only morally but also economically. That’s not just because of possible savings in energy, water and processing costs, but also because sustainability is an asset to long-term corporate image and market value.
AUTUMN 2018 COMPOSED
After 25 years of trying, the fashion world has suddenly woken up to the imperatives of sustainability, environmental control, wastage
and recycling. Technology and synthetics were seen as the enemy, the propagators of stuffocation and fast obsolescence. But not anymore! If we are to really confront the terrible impact of consumption, then we not only have to tackle sustainability and recycling issues in the processing and manufacturing stages but combine them with winning aesthetics at the design stage. To do this, we need to believe in innovation and technology as much as reduction and recyclability as the ways forward to what we most love and aspire to, to fabrics that are desirable, inclusive and serviceable and garments that make us look beautiful. As we say in our Fabric Preview S/S 2020, where we list nine ways to achieve this, we should never forget that its aesthetics that really enable us to connect with what we wear. Technology provides the freedom to create anything we want: our values set the boundaries to make it human and sustainable. It’s a wonderful new combination, as we set out to show in our Lifestyle pages,‘The Next Phase in Making and Creating’.
Luxury that is democratic and open to all is quite a step away from the scenario where elitism and exclusivity were its very
raison d’être. Who will manage the change?
We look at Frome, a multi-award winning,
culturally vibrant market town in Somerset that prides itself on its independence, its strong spirit of community, innovation and enterprise.
Season highs & lows
What were the real winners S/S 2018 in retail and how will that influence S/S 2019
Menswear r-t-w designer styling & colours
There is a contemporary lexicon of menswear that defines a new establishment: it features the tracksuit at its core. The tracksuit is not a
suit, but is the sharpest way for men to dress right now.
Menswear r-t-w designer fabric analysis
Designers are rejecting the old norms and tired categorization of clothing and, instead, looking to think intelligently about new material choices that are lifting menswear into other realms.
A new assertiveness is emerging that shines a light on our future direction. Young people are embracing the immense difficulties facing humanity with courage and mettle.
We power down and take a brush and some paints and rediscover how
colours really sit together and how each hue gradates and flows from deep intensity to softer tints.
Womenswear key looks
Fashion is responding to the ever-increasing multidisciplinary approach within creative
trainings, where boundaries are blurred between art, science and product.
Autumn/Winter 19/20 is a season of contradictions, a season when fashion takes on new meanings to reflect the changes in the world around us.
Womenswear trimmings and accessories
A new freedom of independence, optimism
and personalization is in the air, creating a disorderly burst of energy, creativity and vitality. Fashion is liberating itself, stepping firmly ahead into a promising future.
colours and styling
Fashion and design
is at the forefront of the fight to save the planet, as we embrace accountability and preservation. Research, technology and design are the keys to change.
Men’s fabrication this winter leant heavily towards multi-styles of design, scale and pattern making, with the check holding pole position: patterned clean or hazy, pure tech and raspy or luxe-soft and relaxed.
Womenswear and menswear fabric and
We came up with the following nine textile design strategies for positive change within
in the industry.
Print design forecast
Start to influence the world with your imagination
not with your nightmares. Dream of beauty! Dream of tolerance! Dream of art! Dream…
New ways of making and creating bring unlimited freedom in design. Do the unexpected, be wild, unique and rebellious.
The future of making
This overview presents meaningful developments focusing mainly on young designers and recent graduates as symbols of progression, opportunity and potential.
SUMMER 2018: PRONOUNCED
The most talked-about collaboration of the moment is the appointment of Virgil Abloh, the founder of streetwear sensation Off-White, as men’s artistic director of Louis Vuitton. This encapsulates the massive change taking place in fashion at the moment and shows how luxury brands are looking to the cultural energy and business model of streetwear to stay relevant.
The question everyone is asking is whether all this truly heralds a new age of luxury streetwear, permanently changing our understanding of clothes. Certainly a ‘Millennial mindset’ is taking hold across the luxury market. Generations Y and Z are now the main growth engine of that market, driving 85% of luxury expansion last year, according to Bain & Company. By 2025, they are expected to account for 45% of total luxury goods spending. Each generation has its cultural touchstones and Millennials are clearly more in tune with hip hop than red-carpet glamour. They want brands that reflect what they consider more authentic cultural associations.
What’s more, these generations were brought up on the internet; they live a socially networked life which streetwear, with its graphic visual approach and irony, can so much better reflect than formal fashion. We are also living in the age of drop marketing, with its constant flow of new product releases: street and athleisure are much better at providing a stream of novelty at Instagram speed than traditional luxury fashion. Most important of all, streetwear exists within a culture of collaboration, and collaboration models are one of the biggest factors driving innovation at the moment.
We have crossed the frontier. 2018 will see major growth in the use of Artificial Intelligence as a tool to re-shape the fashion business with major AI innovations to be expected in predictive forecasting, capacity planning, merchandising, automated production and delivery. However, the possibilities with AI go much further than that as developments move its potential way beyond the mechanical into the creative. For example, Amazon is on the verge of creating the first AI designer, with the development of an algorithm that designs clothes by analysing images, copying popular styles and using them to build completely new designs. Meanwhile, enriched data will allow for new opportunities in customer relationship management, improving customer insights and, last but not least, much more reliable demand projection thereby reducing forecasting errors. Twenty percent of executives who took part in the Business of Fashion-McKinsey Global Fashion Survey believe that the use of AI to “reinvent design, merchandising and marketing” will be an important trend. However, there is still a significant number who remain dubious about AI’s lack of flexibility and intuition for it to be a major player in fashion’s deep creative process. This division of thinking is at the forefront of our A/W 19/20 forecasts where we ask the question: “Should the fashion industry be led by algorithms?” and make a strong case for accidental fashion. Above all, we look at fabrics as tools serving fashion as a whole, enabling designers as well as users to mash up looks, to create their own interpretation of garments.