University of Fashion Blog

Posts Tagged: "Ganni"

WILL FASHION SHOWS EVER LOOK THE SAME AGAIN?

- - Fashion Shows

Erdem’s resort collection draws on the juxtaposition of Regency dress and the 1960s. (Photo Credit: Erdem)

COVID-19 has changed the world, no doubt about it. This deadly pandemic took many innocent lives and toppled global economies in just months. It is unfathomable how every industry has been affected and how each is racing to adapt to a new way of doing business. The fashion industry is no exception. As our industry grapples with millions of dollars in losses, stockpiles of unsold merchandise, and store closures and bankruptcies that resulted in thousands of people being furloughed, the industry is also grappling with the future of the fashion show.

You may remember our blogpost back on November 18, 2019, we covered the topic of whether fashion shows are still relevant. Well, who knew back then that a deadly pandemic would help make the decision for us.

As we wait for scientists and doctors to advise us on when it will become safe enough to gather in large groups, the idea of presenting and attending live fashion shows seems far off. Though LVMH just announced that their brands will produce a live show this fall, most designers are getting creative with new ways to showcase their collections. Here is a rundown of what the new fashion calendar will look like.

RESORT/CRUISE 2021

On March 27th, the CFDA announced the cancellation of the official New York Fashion Week Resort 2021 schedule of presentations, which had been planned for the week of June 6. According to a statement by the CFDA, “The decision was based on the current global situation, the ongoing uncertainty regarding its impact on retailers and their open-to-buys, and designers’ challenges in producing collections at this moment,” the statement read. “We strongly recommend and urge designers not to show their resort spring 2021 collections. The news followed similar announcements by the Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana in Milan and the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode in Paris to postpone or cancel their respective spring 2021 men’s collections, as well as the fall 2020 haute couture shows.”

The resort 2021 season would have been in full swing by now with many of the bigger brands holding mega-shows in exotic locations, while the majority would hold intimate shows or appointments in New York City. As a result of Covid, many designers chose to skip the season altogether citing worldwide factory lockdowns, huge sales losses on spring merchandise and the inability to receive the fabrics and trimmings needed to create a collection. However, a few designers did opt to present their collections, through videos and lookbook images. Here are a few ways designers became creative with presenting their latest collections.

CHANEL

A look from Chanel’s Resort 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Chanel).

Click link to Chanel’s video presentation:

The Chanel cruise 2021 collection was originally intended to be shown onto Isle of Capri, the mythically beautiful Italian island a ferry ride from Naples, a place that Chanel’s creative director Virginie Viard still has yet to visit. But while on lockdown, Viard traveled there ‘in her mind’ and created a collection labeled Balade en Méditerranée (A Mediterranean Jaunt). Viard, along with photographer Karim Sadli, created the illusion of a Caprese sunset in Chanel’s Paris photo studio.

As for the clothes, Viard created a destination wardrobe of effortless pieces, which were sophisticated yet oh so cool. The designer focused on swimsuits that were worn – every which way – as under-pieces to cardigan jackets to tops paired with wide-legged trousers. Viard also updated the classic Chanel suit, opting for vibrant little jackets and miniskirts – all in cotton tweed. The collection was injected with a youthful appeal with a maxi cardigan paired with micro shorts, a collarless jacket paired with denim pants with tweed insets, and a bandeau top paired with a handkerchief skirt. Overall the collection was the ultimate vacation wardrobe.

BALMAIN

A look from Balmain’s Resort 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Balmain)

The Eighties made a major comeback at Balmain, as creative director Olivier Rousteing created a fun and cheeky collection for both his woman’s resort collection and his menswear spring 2021 line up. The designer invited a handful of his “Balmain army” friends to style themselves in his latest looks. Clearly Rousteing has spent his quarantine time watching 80s films and television shows; the collections were filled with Miami Vice inspired jackets, polka dot dresses inspired by Pretty Woman, graphic t-shirt mash-ups with a nod to The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, while heavily encrusted bustiers and exaggerated shoulder pads were straight out of Dynasty’s wardrobe. With all the turmoil in the world today, Rousteing’s collections were a throwback to happier times.

TANYA TAYLOR

A look from Tanya Taylor’s Resort 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Tanya Taylor)

Being on lockdown brought out many innovative ideas and designer Tanya Taylor came up with a very creative way to showcase her resort line-up. Taylor sent her latest collection to a handful of artists, stylists, and friends, with instructions that each one was to style themselves in one of here looks and then photograph themselves. The results were a lookbook come to life. In an interview with Vogue, Taylor stated, “I’ve never loved styling our customer. I prefer seeing what they do with our clothes and how they add their own personal twist. That’s where the lookbook came to life. It felt like these women were telling us how they want to feel in their clothes.

As for the clothes, they were infused with Taylor’s signature feminine charm. There was a vibrant fuchsia jumpsuit, ruffled trim wrap skirts, playful print dresses, flirty dot motifs and for evening, a pleated lame one-shoulder dress..

GANNI

A look from Ganni’s Resort 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Ganni)

The husband and wife team behind Danish brand Ganni, Ditte and Nicolaj Reffstrup, literally designed their resort collection in their home kitchen, so it felt only natural for the duo to shoot their lookbook in the kitchen. The collection focused on the foundation pieces that have made Ganni such a coveted brand among the “It-Girl” set. There were pilgrim collars, bubble sleeve mini dresses, striped tops and party dresses to dance the night away once a coronavirus vaccine is found.

RAG & BONE

A look from Rag & Bone’s men’s resort collection. (Photo Credit: Rag & Bone)

A look from Rag & Bone’s woman’s resort collection. (Photo Credit: Rag & Bone)

Marcus Wainwright of Rag & Bone, focused on pieces that make their customers feel good. The collection was filled with classics with a modern twist. These are pieces that you can live in and wear all winter long.

DAVID KOMA

A look from David Koma’s Resort 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: David Koma)

David Koma is known for his glamourous collections and for resort he did not shy away from his campy aesthetic. The collection was filled with sexy crystal embellished dresses, body-con neon dresses, patent leather biker shorts and plenty of corsets. Koma’s girls are ready to step out into the world of cocktails and celebration.

LONDON MEN’S SHOWS

Natasha Zinko x Duo Spring 2021 Menswear Collection in London. (Photo Credit: Natasha Zinko x Duo)

Right around  now, Europe would have held their menswear fashion shows in London, Milan, and Paris. In lieu of traditional shows, Industry leaders came up with creative solutions. The British Fashion Council hosted a three-day coed digital week, which took place from June 12-14. This event brought together British brands that shared creative content that varied from podcasts to photo diaries. “By creating a cultural fashion week platform, we are adapting digital innovation to best fit our needs today and something to build on as a global showcase for the future,” Caroline Rush, the chief executive of the British Fashion Council, said in a press release.

E. Tautz’s spring 2021 menswear collection in London. (Photo Credit: E. Tautz)

However, many British coed brands like Burberry are holding off on showcasing their spring collections until September. It will be a runway show, outdoors with no audience, following social distancing guidelines. The only people in attendance will be the models and members of the Burberry team.

PARIS’ NEW SCHEDULE

Hermès will be livestreaming a digital experience tied to its spring 2021 collection, slated to go live on July 5th at 8 a.m. ET.

The Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode (FHCM) will host the first-ever virtual couture fashion week. The three day event will take place from July 6-8th and accredited couture maisons will present videos and complementary content that will go live on a preset show schedule, replicating the format of a physical couture fashion week. Although Giorgio Armani will skip out of showing his couture collection this season, the Italian designer will host a seasonless Privé show at the Palazzo Orsini in January. Joining Armani, Chitose Abe of Sacai will debut her couture collection for Jean Paul Gaultier as his first guest designer in the New Year. Meanwhile, Balenciaga has not yet officially confirmed a new date, but the French house has likely postponed Demna Gvasalia’s couture debut until 2021.

The FHCM has also announced that the men’s spring 2021 collections would evolve into a video-only format this season and will be held from July 9-13th. The digital week schedule will run like a live fashion week with organized time slots, allowing for back-to-back streams on one central platform. “Digital is clearly part of the shape of fashion to come and we will take it as an opportunity for innovation to complement tradition,” Ralph Toledano, the president of the FHCM, told Vogue. “This being said, [in the] last weeks behind our screens, we all felt that a dimension was missing: the sensorial one. This has tremendously reinforced our position that nothing will ever replace the unity of time and place. Shows are a major component of the fashion industry, and this will remain…. Physical events will always have our preference, but as long as there is uncertainty, there should be flexibility.”

A portrait of Anthony Vaccarello, the creative director of Saint Laurent. )Photo Credit: W Magazine)

Anthony Vaccarello, the creative director for Saint Laurent, announced the brand’s departure from this year’s preset schedules and beyond. “Conscious of the current circumstance and its waves of radical change, Saint Laurent has decided to take control of its pace and reshape its schedule,” Vaccarello, wrote in an Instagram post published in April. “Now more than ever, the brand will lead its own rhythm.”

Meanwhile, German-based streetwear blog, media brand and production agency Highsnobiety hosted a digital fashion event known as “Not in Paris,” which brought together luxury, streetwear, art, music, architecture and even fine wine, under one digital roof. The online exhibition project —which debuted on June 24 and will run through July 2nd — is a direct response to the Highsnobiety audience’s continued zest for fashion storytelling.

“Not In Paris” presented by Highsnobiety. (Photo Credit: Highsnobiety)

So many of the events we write about have been canceled, so we’ve had to think of ourselves as cultural producers in our own right,” said Thom Bettridge, the publication’s editor in chief, in an interview with WWD. “We basically thought, let’s set our own calendar and become this project-based media brand. If there isn’t anything going on in the world, let’s just make it happen.’”

According to an article published in WWD, Highsnobiety is bringing together everyone from Berlin-based company GmbH, which is shooting a film in Berlin exclusively for the online event, to up-and-coming stars like Wales Bonner and Marine Serre, as well as luxury megabrands including Bottega Veneta, Dior, Fendi and Hermès. The latter let the Highsnobiety team loose into its archives to narrate the history of its famous silk scarf.

MILAN’S NEW SCHEDULE

Italy’s Camera della Moda team also announced a cyber-focused men’s and women’s fashion show format which will take place from July 14–17th. The four day event will be known as Milano Fashion Week Digital and consist of panel discussions on social media to virtual showroom appointments, giving designers a chance to showcase their latest collections in a new and innovative way. “Everybody can decide their own message. The advantage is that in a digital world, you are completely free. You find your way of expression. We said to everybody, you have from one minute to 15 minutes, and you decide what you want to show,’” Carlo Capasa, the president of the Camera della Moda, told Vogue.

Ermenegildo Zegna will stage an innovative-slash-intimate hybrid event that will feature the brand’s spring 2021 collection and will also celebrate the label’s 110th anniversary.

A portrait of Alessandro Michele, the creative director for Gucci. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Gucci is confirmed to premiere its men’s and women’s resort 2021 collection in the form of a digital fashion show on the final day of Milano Digital fashion Week.  This will be Gucci’s last pre-collection; on May 25th, Creative Director Alessandro Michele announced that the house will only hold two coed shows a year (one in the spring and one in the fall) instead of the five seasonal runway spectacles a year.  “I’m passionate about fashion shows, but maybe we can be open to seeing them in a different way,” Michele said.

SEPTEMBER SHOWS

September’s Spring 2021 NY Fashion Week also has plenty of shakeups. Kerby Jean-Raymond of Pyer Moss is staging a full-fledged drive-in fashion experience tour to showcase his new film American, Also. Jean-Raymond is slowing down the speed of how much he produces and is focusing on improving the quality of what he produces. This may be a popular mindset for many designers moving forward – quality over quantity.

A portrait of Kerby Jean-Raymond of Pyer Moss. (Photo Credit: Hyperbeast)

Jean-Raymond is not the only New York–based designer planning something big in September. While many designers had to cancel their resort seasons due to factory closures and shelter-in-place orders, some labels, such as Proenza Schouler and Collina Strada, have refocused their efforts on New York Fashion Week, a strategy that is gaining momentum in Milan and Paris too.

A portrait of Virgil Abloh, the creative director for Off-White. (Photo Credit: High Museum of Art)

While the majority of designers are set on staging something in September, there are a few who are altering the fashion calendar to fit their needs. Virgil Abloh is holding out until 2021 to present his own women’s and men’s spring collections for his label Off-White. Abloh’s decision to wait until January means Off-White is officially experimenting with the see-now-buy-now calendar.

A portrait of Alexander Wang. (Photo Credit: W Magazine)

For the past few years Alexander Wang has been presenting two seasonless collections a year, one in June and one in December, that were in sync with the fashion calendar’s pre-collections.  However, Wang opted out of showing last December and instead planned a bigger event for 2020 to celebrate his labels 15 year anniversary.

Michael Kors on the runway. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Michael Kors announced he would be stepping back from New York Fashion Week for the Spring 2021 season due to unsold inventory and Fall 2020 production delays due to Covid-19. Instead, the designer will present his Michael Kors Collection line sometime between mid-October and mid-November. “I have for a long time thought that the fashion calendar needs to change. It’s exciting for me to see the open dialogue within the fashion community about the calendar — from Giorgio Armani to Dries Van Noten to Gucci to YSL to major retailers around the globe — about ways in which we can slow down the process and improve the way we work,” he said in a statement. “We’ve all had time to reflect and analyze things, and I think many agree that it’s time for a new approach for a new era.”

PARIS WILL GO LIVE IN SEPTEMBER

The Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode announced on June 24th that the spring 2021 ready-to-wear shows will resume in Paris from September 28 through October 6. Although few details were shared, the FHCM announced that they “will comply [with] the recommendations of public authorities.” Designers will have to limit their guest lists and venue choices, perhaps shows will occur in outdoor spaces, only time will tell how the future of runway shows will takes shape.

So the question remains, will the glamour of fashion shows ever return to its glorious heyday?

RETHINKING FASHION AND REDUCING THE INDUSTRY’S CARBON FOOTPRINT

The most memorable eco-friendly Red Carpet looks. (Photo Credit Vogue)

In only a few short months Coronavirus turned the world upside down. Hard to believe this could ever happen, right? Not only were we forced to stay-at-home and students were expected to complete their studies online, but schools and businesses are now having to re-evaluate the way they conducted business in the past and are re-imagining new ways to move forward into the future.

One of the hardest hit industries affected by the pandemic is fashion. To help get through the crisis and to offer some advice, numerous publications including Vogue, are hosting Zoom seminars where editors and designers discuss the future of our industry.

For years the fashion industry has been debating the future of the business; is the old business model still relevant today? Are fashion shows necessary? Well, thanks to COVID-19, the industry to being forced to get off the dime. Among the issues? What is the industry really doing when it comes to the environment in terms of reducing fashion’s carbon footprint, sustainable fabrics and the overstock of garments.

In the mid 2000s, when I was an editor covering fashion designers for Woman’s Wear Daily, I remember Donna Karan complaining about the fashion cycle. Donna was against the concept of ‘pre-collections’ which added additional seasons to an already crowded fashion calendar. And, she would argue that store deliveries made no sense, as in, why are Spring clothes shipped in February, just to be marked down in May when consumers are actually buying spring clothes?

Well, today, finally, this is issue has reemerged as a major point of discussion. Gucci’s Alessandro Michele just announced that he is reducing Gucci’s shows from 5 to 2 a year. Hey Donna Karan, you were years ahead of your time!

Alessando Michele of Gucci is giving fashion a new model. (Photo Credit: Gucci)

COVID-19 is not only causing fashion designers and industry leaders to re-evaluate the fashion calendar cycle and how many collections are needed a year, but the pandemic is also forcing brands to look at their practices and think about how they can do more to protect the environment. In an interview with Forbes magazine, Francois Souchet, who leads the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Make Fashion Circular initiative, is bringing together leaders from across the industry to create a circular economy for fashion through business innovation and better design. When asked if sustainability initiatives and investment at fashion brands were under threat, he believes that for brands who have adopted waste management and sustainability initiatives at the core of their business, their sustainable transformation plans are secure, post COVID. In contrast, he believes that the brands who have used sustainability as a marketing tool, rather than integral to their processes, that they are likely to suffer. Souchet says, “The closer (sustainability and investment) are to the core and the more integrated, the harder they are to cut off. For some businesses, it will be a question of survival, so it is quite difficult to predict what will happen.”

Echoing Souchet, Dr. Hakan Karaosman, a fashion supply chain and sustainability expert at the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe declared, “Sustainability as a marketing tool will go—inherent sustainability will stay.” Also, he claimed the biggest problem in the fashion industry is the “fragmented supply chain,” calling for a “restructuring” across all tiers. Lean, simple and transparent supply chains are proving the most resilient during this crisis, he said, and this is what brands are likely to favor as they emerge from the crisis.

In an interview with Forbes magazine, Karl-Hendrik Magnus, Senior Partner at McKinsey and Company in Frankfurt and leader of the Apparel, Fashion & Luxury Group said that: “consumers have seen how vulnerable the entire world is, and the whole crisis has raised awareness for social and environmental sustainability, even among those that were not previously onto the topic.” Due to the global shutdown, major cities are seeing a reduction in air pollution, and the industries carbon footprint has been reduced, so moving forward, consumers will demand sustainable clothing.

According to McKinsey research, a return to pre-crisis consumer behavior is unlikely. McKinsey collected data from 6,000 consumers across the UK, Germany, France, and Spain. The results showed that an additional 16% would now seek products with sustainable credentials once shops reopen, 20% intend to reduce their overall spending for the rest of the year and 45% would look favorably upon companies that communicate with concern and purpose rather than prices and products.

So, what should the fashion industry change post COVID to protect the environment? Well, according to Céline Semaan, founder of Slow Factory, a sustainability literacy non-profit that hosts global sustainability education summits and works in partnership with global brands, including Adidas, says “Everything. From the fast-paced fashion calendar to the overproduction of goods that encourage (and depend on) overconsumption to sustain its broken economic model; to the exploitation of land, labor, and exotic animals, to the way it capitalizes on movements such as Earth Day and all efforts around that day/month focusing on profit-driven initiatives. Everything.

The fact remains that global brands such as H&M and Zara, to name a few, still create so many garments a year that end up in landfills.  Do consumers really need all these clothes? The answer is NO. Brands need to focus on quality vs quantity, as well as selling garments in the actual season. For example, fall/winter should arrive in stores in September and not get marked down until February.  This will help designers make a profit off their garments at full price and therefore they can create fewer seasons to stay afloat.

According to H&M Group’s CEO Helena Helmersson, “the company recently signed with the European alliance for a Green Recovery alongside Ikea, Unilever and others, who are committed to contributing to the post-crisis investment decisions needed to ‘reboot’ and ‘reboost’ our economy, taking into account climate change and circular economy as key pillars.”

H&M Conscious Collection. (Photo Credit: H&M)

For years, H&M store had a policy that offered anyone who brought in their old clothes for recycling to receive a discount for future purchases. Today, H&M is moving away from its fast fashion roots with their “Conscious” collection, which is completely made of materials like organic cotton and recycled polyester. and by 2030, H&M has set a goal to only use sustainably sourced materials.

And there are plenty of other brands who are trying to do their part to protect the environment and create ethical fashion brands. Let’s take a look:

People Tree was one of the fist sustainable fashion brands. Founded in 1991, this brand was the first to be awarded with the World Fair Trade Organization product label. People Tree invests heavily in sustainable and environmentally friendly practices, such as organic farming. The company also advocates and promotes fair wages, good working conditions, and only works with sustainable materials like organic cotton, natural fibers and chemical free dyes.

Actress Emma Watson and People Tree launched a clothing line together in 2010. (Photo Credit People Tree)

Another pioneer of sustainable fashion and circularity is Eileen Fisher. Every facet of Eileen Fisher’s design and manufacturing process is built to be as sustainable and eco-friendly as possible, from the eco-friendly materials used, to the ethical treatment of all her workers. Eileen Fisher uses creative processes and innovative techniques in order to limit textile waste. The company also initiated a program to buy back used items and to recycle them into new garments or their Waste No More team transforms used garments into one-of-a-kind art, pillows and wall hangings. To further reduce the brand’s carbon footprint, Eileen Fisher avoids air shipping.

Eileen Fisher’s Waste No More team transforms used garments into one-of-a-kind artworks, pillows and wall hangings. (Photo Credit: Eileen Fisher)

Tentree’s clothing is made entirely from ethically sourced and sustainable materials including cork, coconut and recycled polyester, all  produced in ethical factories.  The company is also committed to planting ten trees for each item purchased. To engage their clients, after each purchase, the customer receives a code so they can monitor the growth of their trees. Tentree is on track to plant one billion trees by 2030.

Tentree’s marketing initiative. (Photo Credit: Tentree)

Sustainability is key at Everlane as the brand recently launched a clothing line made from recycled plastic bottles and other reused materials. The brand also focuses on transparency to their customers, as they offer an exact breakdown of the cost of each item, as well as showing the factories where those garments are made. Everlane has built strong relationships with factory owners to guarantee that the employees and production meet Everlane’s high ethical standards.

Saitex jean production for Everlane. (Photo Credit: Saitex)

Denim is one of the harshest fashion items on the environment, but many denim brands are looking for ways to make sustainable denim. Huge amounts of water are needed to create only one pair of jeans, but now Levi’s has introduced a new collection called Water<Less; which uses up to 96% less water to create a garment. Across the board, Levi’s is committed to sustainability through the entire design and manufacturing process, including working towards 100% sustainably sourced cotton. Levi’s has also initiated recycling old jeans into creating home insulation.

Levi’s Waterless Campaign. (Photo Credit: Levi’s)

Reformation has become a cult favorite among the fashion “It-Girl” set. Not only are the clothes trendy and fun, but the brand is also environmentally conscious. Each look is created using upcycled and sustainable materials in fair wage markets; also, every item comes with a description and score of its environmental footprint to help customers understand the impact of their clothing. Since 2015, Reformation has been carbon neutral and the brand helps to protect deforested regions to offset its manufacturing. The company has also implemented a recycling program that their customers can sell their old clothing to Reformation to earn credit for future purchases.

Reformation’s recycling program campaign. (Photo Credit: Reformation)

Patagonia is known for its durable outerwear, but did you know that it also helps customers repair their clothing instead of buying new items? Their products are so indestructible that customers are encouraged to recycle their old Patagonia pieces and purchase only items second hand. In addition to using sustainable materials in each new garment, the company also follows fair-trade practices and strictly monitors its supply chain to make sure they are safe for the environment, workers and consumers. One of Patagonia’s main goals is to find solutions to environmental issues without causing unnecessary harm to the world.

Patagonia’s Campaign. (Photo Credit: Patagonia)

Contemporary fashion label GANNI has quickly become the go-to brand for street-style stars world-wide. Nicolaj Reffstrup, co-owner of GANNI, is implementing strategies to become an environmentally-friendly brand. One strategy is that the brand’s Denmark stores are combining fashion rental, an outlet to test resale of older styles, samples, and prototypes called Postmodern (which they intend to take online), and a re-structured merchandising strategy, which will downsize their collections by offering less styles, so the store will hold less volume, but there will be more drops.  In addition, Reffstrup said that every fourth drop of products will be “made of recycled or deadstock fabric,” and this is being built into their range planning and material ordering processes.

GANNI Repeat, A new sustainable rental service. (Photo Credit: GANNI)

Footwear & Carbon Footprint

According to Adidas, the footwear industry emits 700 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, every year. That’s equivalent to 80,775,444 homes’ energy use for one year. For a single pair of running shoes made of synthetic materials that translates to having a carbon footprint of somewhere between 11.3 and 16.7 kilograms of CO2. To change this, Adidas and shoe brand Allbirds have teamed up to make the first net zero carbon shoe. Adidas with their End Plastic Waste initiative and Allbirds’ Tread Lighter Together initiative marks the first time in history that Adidas has collaborated with another footwear brand not under its own umbrella. To quote Tim Brown, co-founder and co-CEO of Allbirds, “Our hope is that the future is more about collaboration than it is about competition.”

As consumers are focusing on more environmentally friendly fashion product, every brand should look at ways to reduce their carbon footprint. Even small improvements can help protect the Earth. Every little bit helps!

Resources to Help Designers Become More Sustainable-Minded

As part of the CFDA Sustainability Initiatives’ ongoing commitment to sustainability through education and professional development, they have created a  sustainability-centered resource hub designed to provide open access resources and information specific to fashion design and business sustainable strategies. These resources are intended for everyone- for CFDA Members, educators, students, professionals, designers, and anyone in our community interested in learning more about sustainability and sourcing relevant contacts. An annex to that initiative is a Guide to Sustainable Strategies Toolkit which helps map and frame sustainable priorities. Also part of the initiative is the CFDA A-Z Materials Index  and, in partnership with NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business, their KPI Design Kit, a Sustainable Strategies Playbook for Measurable Change.  A Key Performance Indicator (KPI) is a measurable value that demonstrates how effectively a company is achieving key business objectives.

 

Re/make, is a community of millennial and Gen Z women whose mission is to put an end to fast fashion by training women leaders around the globe to: host workshops, panels, and webinars to educate, inspire, engage, and uplift the voices of their community. In turn, the community hosts film screenings, clothing swap parties, and educational panels to mobilize others in the fight against fast fashion. The organization offers documentary films, fact-filled stories, campaign assets, and workshop materials to empower the community and recruit more women to the movement. Re/make drives transparency and accountability with their Seal of Approval process. They call out greenwashers and they push brands to disclose better information publicly. How are they making a difference? “Our mission is to make fashion a force for good.”

Ethical Fabric Suppliers

If you are a designer who is interested in moving into more sustainable, ethical fabrics and notions, then check out the directory on the website Change the World by How You Shop. 

Queen of Raw is a marketplace to buy and sell sustainable and deadstock fabrics and textiles, for students, clothing manufacturers, and designers. Using a technology engine to build a supply-chain management service, owner Stephanie Benedetto, started MateriaMX (short for Material Exchange) so monthly subscribers can map, identify, measure and trace waste throughout their supply chains in real-time, ultimately allowing them to minimize their excess fabric, water and other waste streams. The online platform uses blockchain and machine learning to find and track excess fabric— post-consumer waste, fabric on rolls, you name it—and then match it to factories, retailers, designers and other buyers looking for that material.

Fabscrap is another deadstock fabric resource.  According to info on their website, “each pound of waste from apparel production is associated with 2.06 pounds of CO2-E. In New York City, if 10% or more of your commercial waste is textile material, you are required to recycle itExtended Producer Responsibility polices for textiles are on the horizon. Fabscrap provides reports enumerating tonnage diverted from landfill and CO2 emissions saved. When disposed in landfill, the dyes and chemicals in fabrics can leach into the soil, contaminating local water systems.” Fabscrap claims that, “In the U.S., 48% of customers check tags for sustainability information. Brands that market their eco-conscious efforts and corporate social responsibility practices show increased sales.

Swatchon.com is an eco-friendly, recycled, organic wholesale fabric marketplace based in Korea with 3 yard minimums and free shipping.

Nature’s Fabrics is another great resource located in Pennsylvania with a very nice selection of organic fabrics to choose from.

Retail Consignment Resources

As a result of store closures due to the coronavirus pandemic, shoppers have rediscovered the online consignment clothing market that had its start in 2012. Companies like the The RealReal, Tradesy, Poshmark and ThredUp (who recently partnered with Walmart) and the resale handbag company, Rebag are making secondhand clothing not only affordable but ‘cool.’ As climate change concerns grow, especially among millennial and Gen Zers, according to the 2019 ThredUp Resale Report, “secondhand items are expected to occupy one-third of people’s closets by 2033.”

Macy’s, Madewell and Nordstrom, have all added secondhand clothing to their merchandise line-up. According to a January 31, 2020 article in The Washington Post,  “As resale goes mainstream – the resale market is expected to triple in three years – department stores have become an unexpected next step to woo young shoppers.”

So tell us, what steps are you taking to reduce your carbon footprint?

How Indie Brands are Revising & Revolutionizing Retail

- - Fashion Business

A busy street in NYC’s Soho neighborhood. (Photo courtesy of USA Today)

2020 is here and there’s much to look forward to (and not just the election). Although our beloved Barney’s has shuttered its business and major chains such as The Gap and Victoria Secrets are closing stores across the U.S., and a stroll down Madison Ave., uncovers a retail graveyard of a few dozen empty store fronts, good  things are happening for NYC retail. For years now, we’ve been hearing that traditional retail is dead, but wait…hold the presses….indie brands are starting to open boutiques in Soho! Is this a sign that brick-and-mortar will survive after all? Is it that millennials prefer downtown over uptown for their retail experience?

While many digital native brands, such as Glossier, Warby Parker, and Bonobos, started online. Today, these brands are expanding and opening retail ‘concept’ shops for their clients. “According to real estate experts, digitally native brands are predicted to open 850 brick-and-mortar stores in the next 5 years, with New York being the most popular destination,” according to Tinuiti, a NYC-based marketing firm. Through research and marketing, Tinuiti stated that “most of the digital brands opening stores sell apparel, which makes sense; it’s a category where shoppers definitely benefit from interacting with the product in person. We’re sure to see plenty more storefronts from these ecommerce brands — apparel and other categories alike.”

The outside of Glossier’s store in New York. (Photo courtesy of Glossier)

Another trend that is sure to continue is the rise of omnichannel. Retailers need to offer a consistent buying experience across channels, both online and off. The lines between digital and physical shopping experiences are a blur. Retailers need to be agile and responsive to customer needs with branded touchpoints at all parts of the purchasing journey. According to Ray Hartjen, Marketing Director at RetailNext, “Consumers simply don’t think in terms of channels. This isn’t 1998. No one is sitting around and thinking, ‘Hey, I think I’ll do some online shopping.’ For many years and certainly in 2020, it’s all just ‘shopping.’ Shopping journeys now go through a variety of branded touchpoints, digital for sure, but physical touchpoints too, and they are nowhere near linear shopping journeys. Brands need to be nimble, agile and responsive to shopper needs, and they need to deliver seamless, friction-free paths for their shoppers to navigate.”

Through marketing research, Tinuiti states that retail is in fact in the midst of a Retail Renaissance. A recent study by the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) showed that opening a physical store increases online traffic by 36% for established retailers and 45% for emerging brands. According to the marketing firm,” In-Store Purchase Funnel is about to be integrated seamlessly into Unified Commerce. The stores will become Experience Retail. In addition to Interactive Technologies such as Smart Fitting Rooms, watch for more in-store immersive innovations in 3D Printing, Eye-Tracking, and Augmented Reality.”

In today’s retail environment, direct-to-consumer brands are reinvigorating the retail scene in NYC. A growing number of e-commerce brands are opening storefronts to grow their businesses further. “Physical retail embodies a social and tangible experience that America’s Amazon-driven format of online retail has yet to duplicate,” Web Smith, the co-founder of Mizzen+Main, said. And so, “digital-first retailers are … investing in extending their direct-to-consumer relationships by owning permanent storefronts in worthwhile locations.” It’s a theme that’s expected to continue to ring out in retail this year. A study in 2018 by real estate research firm Green Street Advisors found so-called digitally native brands altogether have more than 600 stores blanketing the U.S., and counting.

Rents across NYC have also dramatically dropped and are nowhere near levels seen in the peak of 2014. Even Madison Avenue — known for its prestige and high end boutiques such as Chanel, Prada, and Celine— is not immune to the trend of falling rents.

According to CNBC, “in the second quarter of 2019, average asking rents across New York City declined an average of 4.5% from a year ago to $776 per square foot, according to an analysis by commercial real estate services firm CBRE. It marked the seventh consecutive quarter of declines. Rents along Upper Madison Avenue (57th to 77th Streets) in particular dropped 11.7% from a year ago to $1,042 per square foot.”
Thanks to the falling prices of rents and more flexible lease terms, its open the possibility for smaller brands to open shop. At some point, landlords had to budge. A lot of these new retailers weren’t going to pay sky high rents. “If someone was renegotiating a lease today, it’s a very different market than it was 10 or 15 years ago,” said Nicole LaRusso, director of research and analysis at CBRE.

After 2014, as rents started to fall and store closures picked up, “landlords didn’t want to hear it,” LaRusso said. “But most of that lesson has been learned now.” There’s much more negotiating being done today, she said. “I think we are getting to that equilibrium.”

Indie Brand Retail Invasion 
“Meatpacking today is what I would call New York’s ‘it’ neighborhood,” said Jared Epstein, developer at Aurora Capital Associates. Epstein worked on RH’s roughly $250 million deal for a 15-year lease in the area. An RH hotel is also set to open in the Meatpacking District next fall.

“New York has a certain resiliency that is proven time and time again,” Francis Greenburger, founder and CEO of real estate developer Time Equities. “I would never doubt New York resiliency.”

And as a resilient city, here are a few indie brands that have opened retail shops in NYC and across the United States.

Glossier NYC Boutique. (Photo courtesy of The New York Times)

Beauty brand Glossier is a direct-to-consumer label founded by Emily Weiss in 2014. In 2018, her small business surpassed $100 million in revenues. Weiss opened her flagship boutique in Soho, in November of 2018. The store is such a hit that you can find shoppers lining the sidewalk streets to get in, whether it’s to shop or pose in front of the companies signature millennial pink-covered walls. Glossier also has a store in Los Angeles and is experimenting with pop-up locations.

Rothy’s San Francisco store. (photo courtesy of Rothy’s)

Rothy’s, a woman’s shoe label, opened its first brick-and-mortar store in San Francisco in 2018. The label was launched in 2015 in San Francisco by Roth Martin and Stephen Hawthornthwaite, the direct-to-consumer brand created and sold shoes that ranged from ballet flats to loafers for women and kids that are made out of recycled plastic bottles. The brand decided to open its first store so customers can see the shoes in person and try them on before making a purchase. In 2018, Rothy’s gained a $35 million investment from Goldman Sachs and has raised over $42 million to date. Rothy’s booked a little more than $140 million in revenue for 2018.

The outside of Koio’s store in Venice, California. (Photo courtesy of Koio)

Koio, a high-end sneaker brand, was launched in 2014 by Chris Wichert and Johannes Quodt. In 2018, the brand has already raised $5.1 million and opened a handful of stores throughout the United States, including, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles and are planning to open more in the near future. The brand creates sneakers for both men and women, but the men’s category outperforms women’s. Wichert and Quodt are already creating new silhouettes to keep up with the growing ‘designer’ sneaker category which has exploded in popularity.

Outdoor Voices Boston Store. (Photo courtesy of Outdoor Voices)

Outdoor Voices is a woman’s athleisure brand that was founded by Tyler Haney, the 31-year-old is also the CEO of the brand. Outdoor Voices was started in Austin in 2014 and has raised over 56.5 million to date. The brand has a number of stores throughout the United States, including Los Angeles, Chicago, Nashville, and Boston. Tyler told CNBC in 2017 that in the future she planned on opening at least 50 stores, one in every state. Giving investors a vote of confidence, Mickey Drexler, the former CEO of J.Crew and Gap, serves on its board. Haney said he’s played a key role in helping Outdoor Voices grow offline.

Ganni store in Soho. (Photo courtesy of Ganni)

Ganni, the Copenhagen-based brand, opened its first U.S. store in Soho this past October, followed by one in Los Angeles and Miami.”We always dreamt of opening stores in the U.S.,” explains founder Nicolaj Reffstrup. “We’ve been extremely fortunate to be stocked in some of the U.S.’s finest boutiques and retailers; seeing our U.S. audience connect with our Scandi 2.0 sense of style has been incredible and we’ve resonated well with the market. This next step of having our own physical stores means we can welcome our community into our universe and experience Ganni in real life. It just made sense. There’s been so much talk of the death of retail, but I don’t think retail is dead, it’s just entering a new phase. It’s about figuring out how you give your community a unique real-life experience, a high level of service, interesting interactions with real people and an easy, effortless shopping experience where your community feels welcome.”

Self-Portrait Boutique. Courtesy of Flaunt Magazine

Self-Portrait is a contemporary label launched in 2013 by Han Chong. The London based label is known for its feminine dresses with a youthful twist. In August 2019, the label opened its first brick-and-mortar concept retail space in the U.S. in  Soho; but Self-Portrait is testing out the New York City store-front experience before fully committing, with the concept store set to close in June 2020. “This is a great opportunity to welcome anyone, not only to shop, but also to explore the Self-Portrait experience,” says Chong. “What I’ve seen happening is that stores are now becoming brand ambassadors both online and offline. We want to blend these experiences to create that connection with our clients. We’ve built this amazing community digitally with them since we started the brand and now we get to invite them into our home to get know us more intimately.”

Are you considering opening a pop-up or a retail shop for your brand? Share your thoughts!