In Brief

The BFC and CFDA partner on call for reform of fashion

London/New York

21 May 2020

“We are united in our steadfast belief that the fashion system must change, and it must happen at every level,” reads a new joint statement from the British Fashion Council and the Council of Fashion Designers of America. “These changes have been overdue for a while, and the fallout from coronavirus has forced us all to prioritise the process of rethinking how our industry should function.”

The joint statement from the two trade bodies argues that coronavirus represents an opportunity to reform the fashion industry, with a particular focus on addressing fashion's calendar of buying, delivery and discounting.

Among the recommendations included in the statement are for the fashion industry to slow down. “For a long time, there have been too many deliveries and too much merchandise generated,” it states. “With existing inventory stacking up, designers and retailers must also look at the collections cycle and be very strategic about their products and how and when they intend to sell them.”

The statement also calls for a cessation of pre-collection shows, and recommends that designers produce only two main collections a year. “We firmly believe this can provide our talents with the time they need to reconnect to the creativity and craft that makes our field so unique in the first place. A slower pace also offers an opportunity to reduce the stress levels of designers and their teams, which in turn will have a positive effect on the overall wellbeing of the industry.”

A reduction in production, the statement argues, would improve the sustainability of the industry. It argues that this could be supplemented by a reduction of shows, with brands encouraged to ONLY show during the regular fashion calendar and in one of the global fashion capitals in order to reduce the carbon footprint of travelling buyers and journalists.

The ideas included in the statement are not new, but they are noteworthy for having come from two major trade organisations – a development of the debate that suggests the potential for coordinated action to affect change.