SPRING 2020: OUR FOOTPRINT
Looking back just 10 years to 2010, it is difficult to understand how we got from there to here. It seems only yesterday that Donald Trump was a reality TV star, Boris Johnson was a jocular mayor, and Facebook was just a way of tracking down old friends, rather than a threat to western liberal democracy. It was a decade of austerity, fracking, populism and fake news. But there were also a lot of lifestyle positives: the plastics backlash, women’s rights, veganism, renewables, mental health, gender fluidity, and last, but definitely not least, women’s football.
And what do we remember in the world of fashion? The death of Alexander McQueen and Lady Gaga’s meat dress in 2010; Kate Middleton’s wedding and her sister Pippa’s derrière launching a thousand bottoms in 2011; Kim Kardashian starting a boom in front-cover pregnancy nudes and maternity wear in 2013; the arrival of the hoodie, a lightning rod for aggro and later for luxury; Kanye’s Yeezy Season 1 show in 2015 launching flesh tones and an era of streetwear that bestrode the rest of the decade; Vetements’ DHL T-shirt, ‘Call me Caitlyn’ and the start of the genderless dressing movement; fashion’s discovery of feminism in 2016, when pink became the colour of the decade, reaching new heights in January 2017 as the pussyhat at Women’s Marches across the world; Serena Williams’s Nike catsuit for her first major grand slam appearance in Paris after having a baby in 2018, the same year that body obsession and fitness, epitomised by the Love Island television series, brought us the gym craze. Then, to end the decade, the industry went through a Damascene conversion where, in the face of ‘woke’ culture and climate change protests, doing good became the hot new thing.
2020 and the decade it ushers in will undoubtedly see the end of one era and the start of another, thanks to the impact of a new generation on fashion and fashion systems, and the inescapable consequences of AI. The industry is already fighting on all fronts. It’s not just a question of rethinking business models in the face of more sustainable and responsible practices, it’s also about decreasing costs but increasing services at the same time. On the one hand, industry is looking to cut costs in stockholding, waste, distribution, speed to market, inventory, order fulfillment and customer acquisition; on the other, consumer expectations are rising in terms of self-realisation, meaningfulness, multi purposes, time and money spent, experience and responsible behaviour.