The Corona crisis offers a unique opportunity.
Let's take this chance to rectify what is screwed up. The rhythm of fast commercial fashion has resulted in an absurd economy and damages our planet.
Today fashion is not about creativity, individuality, or personality. The success of a fashion brand is depending on how much it can spend on celebrities and Insta girls in order to create hypes. In the commercial fashion the success is depending on being the fastest in copying these IT- brands at the lowest prices.
The overproduction of clothing and discounts is accelerating the lifetime circle of a product.
We see fall collections hanging in the stores in July, finally, the customer knows that when she needs her winter coat she will find it on sale. By the time collections feel weather appropriate, they've been sitting on the shop floor for 3 months and are put on a deep discount.
Today the COVID situation makes it even worse: retail companies and brands are canceling their orders, bargaining even more on the price.. all damaging even more the industry and harming people's lives in low-cost countries as Bangladesh, India, Cambodja.
Too many products, too many overlap.
As many brands and retailers have expanded their collections, categories, we see so many products and overlap of identity between brands. Shoe retailers started to sell clothing, clothing retailers started to sell shoes. Jeans brands started to offer jackets, accessory brands extended their collections with clothing.
Bigger collections result in higher development costs, transport costs, sample costs.
It's vicious circle designers have protested for years but the rapid pace of the fashion cycle has made it impossible to press pause and change course.
Time to straighten everything out.
We need more creativity, quality, authenticity, human scale, and need to redefine the purpose of the fashion industry.
Designers and retailers should be focusing their time and energy on what they really want to put out there and what their customers want from them.
Let's reflect today how we will continue in the near future and work on a different business model which is more sustainable and regenerative. Because even if the spread of COVID-19 has slowed by the fall, the world won't feel "normal" and the fashion industry will have spent months struggling to simply survive.
So let us:
- follow the seasons as they are and offer products when they are really needed
- create smaller and unique collections
- focus on long-lasting trends and meaning full products
As a result :
- fewer resources needed -> a better environment
- longer life cycles
- fewer discounts, honest pricing
- better financials
Want to know more about Kaai 's vision and how we are preparing ourselves for the "new normal " after COVID? Read the article in the Belgian newspaper De Standaard 9-10 May.