This month, Manning Cartell took to Instagram to announce that they would, “no longer be following the fashion calendar.” Their reasoning? “We will instead be showcasing inspiring pieces to you at a time that is relevant to our weather patterns. As an example, right now the temperatures are dropping throughout most regions in Australia, so we will be presenting you with pieces that you can work into your wardrobe for the cooler months ahead. In the past, following the fashion calendar, those pieces would typically be showcased in the summer months.” A move that with retrospect seems completely logical. You go looking for what you realistically need right now – or crave, and you want the immediate gratification. And who has the attention span to wait six months anymore?
Long before the pandemic flipped 2020 on its head, the fashion industry was already thinking about new ways to reimagine the decades-old practice of Fashion Month.
Twice a year, packing up and packing out transport, from planes to fleets of cars, to schlep to, and around, each fashion capital (a growing number of cities vying to be added to the schedule), was a resource-draining, perhaps outdated ritual, reserved for the influential few. Ready-to-wear shown on the runways might not be picked up by buyers sitting front-row, or go into production at all – even if it did, it wouldn't physically be in stores for months. Questions were emerging about how the industry could sustain it.
As Eva Kruse, CEO of Global Fashion Agenda says, “The fashion industry is one of the world’s largest industries and a powerful engine for growth and development … Fashion has the ability to push the sustainability agenda, as well as bring people together across sectors and companies around the goal of creating a sustainable society.”
The last few months of conducting business virtually has reaffirmed that you don’t physically need to be somewhere to be completely immersed in it. But going digital is no new concept. Burberry was one of the first luxury houses to livestream Christopher Bailey’s runway to the masses – a decade ago. Then, with the great levelling that Instagram brought, fashion houses harnessed the accessibility of sharing new collections with billions of would-be customers and followers, live, in real time. Years later, Victoria Beckham allowed you to watch her show and pre-order your pieces for the following season, handing you the role of buyer. A concept that seemed like early access then, and now doesn’t feel nearly instant enough for our generation of zero patience.
via Instagram @bof
When it became apparent that New York Fashion Week could not go ahead this year, there was debate about whether we should skip a season. Saint Laurent decided not to present in Paris. Gucci went off-calendar. With priorities shifting, brands began to wonder if it even made sense to keep designing and putting out collections, especially knowing it would be a while before we really even went outside again. Business of Fashion sensed the change and pronounced seasons ‘obsolete’.
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