This is Autumn?

Global boiling & its impact on the fashion industry

September 23rd was the first Autumn day, but this is Autumn? Sunday, the temperature in Milano reached 32 Celsius (about 90 Fahrenheit). In other words, we don’t have to wait for climate change – climate change is here. For brands and fashion retailers, it is particularly odd.

Specifically, it’s the global boiling era. Yet, in every industry, as well as in fashion, people work like nothing serious happens. Do they wear blinders? Don’t they feel the heatwave? Or maybe they think: “Yes, it’s hot, but there’s nothing we can do.”
As a matter of fact, in every field, people like cogs dutifully do their job. No questioning. It seems money, budgets, and turnover is what counts. Who cares if we are boiling?

What’s the impact of climate change on the fashion industry?

Fall/Winter shop windows reveal the inadequacy of fashion. Fashion is out of sync with current times.
First, people still wear lightweight clothing. We don’t need warm garments now. Indeed, stores overflow with wool sweaters, coats, down jackets, and all the winter stuff. But who dares now to try a wool sweater when the temperature invites you to the beach?
Second: sooner or later, cold weather will come. However, because of the heat wave, retailers who sell mass-produced garments will lose about two full-price months from the selling season. That means mass retailers’ unsold stock will be huge. Therefore, they will sell most garments during the end-of-season sale.

Autumn fashion in the global boiling era

In this context, it is clear that the actual pattern (mass manufacturing/ overproduction and distribution) doesn’t work anymore. We must stop and rethink the fashion industry from scratch. Ignoring climate change is dangerous nonsense since it is now a tangible reality.

Also, the above points come from a financial perspective, while ethics should be our first concern. Raising awareness on climate action is crucial. We must reduce our impact on the planet. How do we do it? By limiting by far our consumption to what really counts. Consume less. Don’t buy pointless stuff. Avoid waste.

Above all, start asking yourself: This is Autumn?
Most people pretend nothing happens. But with what conscience do they keep their eyes closed?

The paradox of sustainability

Is sustainable overproduction a valuable strategy?

Do you know the paradox of sustainability? The paradox is this: making many more garments labelled as green products. In other words, it means perpetrating the same old overproduction pattern and marketing it as sustainable.

If that’s how you make money, why should you change? Okay, but the planet is dying, and we are facing a climate emergency the fashion industry should care about! Well, the attention towards this topic is just a facade.

In fact, according to Edited, “In the past four years, the number of clothes described as ‘sustainable’ has quadrupled.”

Green overproduction: the paradox sustainability

Yes, we know we write about this topic a lot. But when the data we ran across confirms our impressions and perplexities, it is appropriate to address it over and over.
Is sustainable overproduction a valuable strategy? Specifically, is that how we plan to save the planet? Making four times the stuff we made before is our strategy?

If this is true, we are far from reducing our impact on the planet. Of course, that is not sustainability. And it doesn’t take a genius to understand it. So, let’s call it by its name: this is marketing! This is greenwashing!

Sustainable fashion, like eco furniture, food, tourism or whatever, has become a profitable business. And more than an effective change of direction, it represented a change of marketing. Just call it green, and you’re going to sell it! Whatever object or service you are trying to launch on the market.

The solution the fashion industry ignores

Let’s be clear: sustainable fashion, rather than making new garments and new stuff in huge green quantities, is a matter of educating people towards conscious consumption. Indeed, the solution is producing way less garments. At the same time, we reuse, resell, recycle and upcycle existing clothing.

But, instead of educating people, for the fashion industry, it is easier to make money by flooding the market with sustainable products. Which, in the end, aren’t sustainable at all.

And so, this is the paradox of sustainability: making four times more garments and naming them sustainable. Unfortunately for us and for the planet, it is not a joke!

Free download our sustainability checklist here!

Sustainable Fashion Awards 23

What are we celebrating?

The Sustainable Fashion Awards 23 closed the Milano Fashion Week. Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana arranged this award ceremony to celebrate the designers who stood out for their environmental commitment, ethical practices and social rights.

We should be happy with it, celebrate the winners and move to Paris! No?

Held at Teatro La Scala, the Sustainable Fashion Awards reminded us that although the fashion industry is polluting, the Italian supply chain is progressing towards a greener way of operating the fashion business.

In other words, this event is a counterpart of the Milano Fashion Week. But you find the same names you’ve seen on the runways over the week, just under a different umbrella – a green one. And put into words with those labels so familiar to marketing blurring into greenwashing.

Sustainable Fashion Awards & The elephant in the room

Perhaps industry players, business owners, and designers are developing a higher consciousness about green matters. And, perhaps, some changes could be relevant. However, we cannot understand how these changes can still work in attunement to a production pattern based on overproduction.

It’s one or the other! And since the two elements aren’t consistent, they cannot stand on one plate because they clash.

The fashion industry has one major issue: overproduction, the elephant in the room, which none dares to mention. But if we still have overproduction, there’s no sustainability. No effective change in production chains will be enough without interrupting the overproduction pattern.

Sustainable Fashion Awards 23 witnessed a progression in the fashion industry towards greener practices, elevating environmental consciousness. But, as Mr Pierre-Alexis Dumas, Hermès creative director, said at Triennale: “Sustainability, that’s where we have a problem in fashion. We are making a change with low impact facilities and manufacturing practices. Perhaps in 15 or 20 years we’ll see the result and we’ll finally be sustainable.”

Unfortunately, according to climate scientists, we do not have that time. So, in the end, what are we celebrating now?

The sofa story

Is circularity feasible in the era of overproduction?

The sofa story is a personal anecdote we share. As a matter of fact, overproduction is devastating our planet. Since a large part of communication is about repair and reuse, we try to understand if circularity is feasible in the era of overproduction.

A couple of months ago we ordered a new sofa. When it was ready to be delivered, we called the seller to inform them we wanted to restore the old one and bring it somewhere else. They said they would take the measurements and let us know the cost.

The sofa: understanding quality

When they came to deliver the new sofa, we noticed some differences. The new one was much lighter. The old one was heavy. While the new one had no structure, the old one had a stable, solid body. Furthermore, the old one had a soft hand 100% cotton cover. For new sofa coverings, you mainly find polyester because cotton would be too expensive, so they say. In fact, the old one was a great quality sofa, which lasted about 25 years. We are doubtful the new one will last so long.

However, having the chance to check the internal structure quality, we confirmed the boy to bring it to their workshop and let us know the repair/restoration cost.

Repairing vs. buying a new one

Here comes the fun! When they tried to carry the old sofa downstairs to the ground floor, they realised it was too heavy. So they started disassembling it, but the boy in charge, all of a sudden, destroyed the sofa underneath his feet. “Yes, it was good quality but you better buy another new one. The repair cost would be too high.”

Obviously, he exclaimed that for two reasons:
First, he preferred to avoid the effort of carrying the heavy weight downstairs.
Second, he couldn’t understand, for real, the quality of what he had destroyed.

So, “buy a new one” is the easy solution in a consumerist society. But when sellers tell you there’s no difference in terms of quality from one item to the other, it’s not true.

It’s like you show us an archive Saint Laurent garment or a couture dress from your wardrobe, and we tell you to get rid of that and buy a new item! “You know, it’s cheaper than repairing the old one!”

That is a complete lack of understanding. Indeed, the sofa story represents the contemporary way of handling commerce and fostering a consumerist lifestyle. Also, whatever the category – fashion, furniture, technology, automobile – the trick doesn’t change. Industries do not stop their overproduction patterns, so repairing won’t work on a large scale, which we need in order to reduce our impact on the planet.

In the end, if those who sell products cannot distinguish quality, materials, and finishings, how can they even mention the option of repairing?

Secondhand and fashion resale

Circularity or marketing trick?

Driven by the popularity of secondhand, the fashion resale market is growing strongly, not only for luxury brands but mass-market brands, too.

“The explosion of cheap, mass-market brands over the last two decades has meant the secondhand market is now awash with polyester party dresses and synthetic sweaters.” via Business Of Fashion.

As a matter of fact, “I’m searching for a little something” – is still the NR 1 customers’ request. In other words, it means a low-priced, easy-to-purchase, easy-to-get-rid-of piece of clothing. Though we don’t sell that product, we often hear that request. That’s what people want! Sadly, the attractive price for clothes is now a burden we all pay. In fact, clothes end up in landfills, where trillions of “little things” are towering, polluting lands and seas. So, you may wonder, was it really so convenient?

Since our wardrobes are packed with clothing, reselling is a way to clean them out. Of course, donating, too, helps.

Secondhand and fashion resale: pros and cons

From the perspective of circularity, reselling represents a valuable opportunity. First, it prevents clothes from ending up in the garbage bin, giving them a longer life. Second, it makes luxury brands accessible.

But, in the case of fast fashion, there’s a big issue with reselling: mass-market brands use circularity to greenwash. Indeed, the fact that fast-fashion brands push people to resell their clothing is a marketing trick. They do it to sell more fast-fashion items. Reselling fast fashion to purchase more fast fashion is pure madness. Instead of limiting the problem, brands make it bigger by feeding the system.

Secondhand and fashion resale make sense for quality products, as clothing made to last deserves a second life, though brands should control production anyway. But it is dangerous with fast fashion. In fact, we’d better avoid producing new garbage at all, which would be the ultimate solution to fashion waste.

How do you make a positive impact? Don’t buy fast fashion. Buy less, far much less, buy better!

Stop sales!

Things that matter #formodernhumans

In order to promote a healthier consumption pattern, we need to stop end-of-season sales. In fact, sales, in general, are a short-sighted strategy that triggers compulsive behaviour and perpetrates a toxic productive system.

Fighting unsustainable consumption and production patterns is part of the new guidelines the UN released recently. The fashion industry contributed directly and significantly to the triple planetary climate change crisis, nature and biodiversity loss, pollution and waste.

This is what really matters! But changing consumption habits takes immediate action.

So, the purpose is to eradicate overconsumption. Therefore, we address high markdowns as an element of a money-driven system that has generated a devastating environmental impact. But first, we need to understand how the system works. Then, we find solutions.

How the fashion system works:

Brands ask for budgets (minimum amount or quantity) from retailers. Usually, these budgets increase season after season.
Because of this practice, retailers buy way more than they can sell. So, they generate overstock.
This overstock, in turn, leads to a higher retail price. That is because a high quantity of merchandise gets sold during end-of-season sales. And higher prices during the season covers partially this loss.
Because of this overstock, retailers apply frequent promotions, markdowns and sales in order to induce clients to purchase more.

It’s a vicious cycle where everything is connected. Consumption and production go hand in hand. So, we cannot fix one if we do not fix the other.

Stop Sales! How retailers can eradicate overconsumption:

  • reduced quantities of clothing and accessories ordered per season in store
  • avoiding overstock would allow equitable prices throughout the season
  • stop Black Fridays, promotions and sales
  • teach clients to buy less, much less, but only quality products. Clothing and accessories made to last over time. Also, teach them the value of their purchase.

Sales aren’t a sustainable strategy. The more you buy discounted items, the more brands flood the market with pointless products. And where are we heading with this behaviour? Read it here!

What consumers can do:

Don’t be part of the system that has generated the climate crisis. Try to change it instead.
Buy less, much less during the season. Take only quality garments you can match with the clothes you already have and that you can reuse.
Don’t buy trendy items, but choose a timeless aesthetic.
Quality, not quantity. And remember: good design doesn’t have an expiry date.

If you want to share your views or know more, comment here below or WhatsApp!

Paris Haute Couture FW23-24

Riots and Fashion in Paris

Paris Haute Couture FW23-24 risked cancellation due to five days of riots across France, which spread after the police killed a young boy. Though Celine cancelled its defile, the fashion shows took place.

We have seen so much vulgarity lately that runways like Chanel, Dior, and Armani, at least, gave a sense of elegance. That is on a positive note.

“In my opinion, today there are few maisons that really do haute couture. I’m starting to no longer recognise myself in this Paris. I have always placed myself in a more glamorous Paris, and now I no longer find myself there. I wonder if it’s not time for a change.” – said Giorgio Armani

However, it seems clear, once again, that megabrands aren’t willing to take any effective action to fight the climate emergency, apart from lots of talks about sustainable fashion. Which is pointless since nothing ever changes.

Paris Haute Couture FW23-24 vs sustainability

On the one hand, some brands had the plus of showing elegance, which stands out in an ocean of horrible and gross clothing. On the other hand, they sent on the runway countless numbers of new outfits. Precisely on the latter, we need to take into account two main points:
First, very few lucky ones can afford these couture clothes. Maybe they would have enough choices even with smaller collections. Even because couture is tailor-made, so it allows customising every single item.
Second, these clothes will be worn by celebrities who receive very generous compensation for wearing them. A marketing operation that isn’t free. Meaning it is not free for the fashion Maison but, in the end, for the final customers, too. In fact, consumers who purchase from those brands will bear the price. Indeed the cost of celebrities gets spread on the company costs in general and on any product category.

Therefore, we wonder: what is the point of the overproduction behind these couture shows? Who is it for? Is it to allure consumers while ignoring a climate emergency, but then, taking part in sustainability round tables? Please stop it!
Smaller couture collections would work anyway. By having, at the same time, a lower impact and less waste of materials and resources.

Further news: Saudi Arabia is a newcomer to Paris Haute Couture FW23-24. Indeed, they are investing billions to become the new favourites in the high-end fashion segment. Money that comes from oil, which, we expect, brands will invest in sustainable fashion!

In short, couture, by definition, is sustainable. But mega brands are doing their best to make it unsustainable.

Pharre-Well fashion designers!

Paris Men’s Fashion Week: Pharrell Williams debuts for Louis Vuitton

Fashion crowds, say Pharre-Well to fashion designers, and welcome to marketing!
During the Paris Men’s Fashion Week, Pharrell Williams presented his first release for Louis Vuitton. A big marketing show after which every fashion designer can quit their job. The fashion industry doesn’t need you anymore.

Pharre-Well & the rappers show!

The runway was all about creating the hype, though some titled he brought a gentle revolution in fashion. Wait, did you see anything new? So revolutionary? Really? It seemed like an ’80s flashback.
In fact, he brought up nothing in terms of design, zero new elements. Specifically, he collected all the rap imagery, threw it in a washing machine, and so he got the mix. The show, as well as the guests’ outfits, was a celebration of black culture and hip-hop, which is now the hook to attract masses of kids who want to look like their favourite idols from the star system. Indeed, that’s what the runway was. A show, a big parade of stars. Not fashion, nor an example of good design. And not even a gentle revolution, please!

Fashion & representation

Although it is perfectly understandable that centuries of white dominance in every field made many people feel unrepresented, it is unclear why historic fashion Maisons believe they should shift to a universe that does not belong to them.
Of course, one thing is the history, image, and tradition of a Maison. Another thing is what people, meaning the final customers, want to do with the clothes or accessories they purchase. So, the style they create by mixing them.

Fashion marketing

But does it make sense to take down Vuitton’s heritage? And is expanding the business a good reason to demolish brands’ heritage? How can loyal clients trust them? Sadly, LVMH’s strategy recalls what Alessandro Michele did with Gucci. When the market got oversaturated with pointless stuff, they realised maybe it was a mistake. Afterwards, brands can attempt to reverse this strategy, but they lose credibility.
Besides, it says a lot about what the fashion industry wants: growth! Which now, they like to call green growth. That is what corporations hide behind the facade, preserving their overproduction pattern.

Pharre-Well fashion designers!

However, the point is that being a fashion designer nowadays is really frustrating. After this LVMH move, we can celebrate the end of the fashion designer! A professional figure that needed specific skills and a creative vein now only takes big popularity!

So, Pharre-Well fashion designers out there! Adieu!

Sustainability is ridiculous

Why playing this shell game should be banned

Sustainability is ridiculous. Not because the concept per se is stupid or does not make sense. But because it is too broad, too vague, and, therefore, deceptive. 

Sustainable fashion? This is greenwashing

Sometimes for ignorance or superficiality, yet in most cases, with intentionality, as those who play the sustainable game are perfectly aware of what they do. But, in the end, sustainability is just a new way to make money by showing a green facade. The industry, which goes from consultancy to fashion brand retail to NGOs, is flourishing. As a matter of fact, industry players spend time on “eco – green – conscious” labels, but it seems they are playing a shell game. The purpose is to hide and manipulate truths. 

In most cases, the effort is all about running after the latest eco-friendly label. But is it enough to achieve sustainability? It is the case of Chloé, for instance. Richemont hired Gabriela Hearst for her eco credentials, and now, three years later, the designer is exiting the company. Though they say revenue increased by 60%, their design is far away from the beauty of the past. 

Why sustainability is ridiculous

However, we have some doubts about the strategy Chloé has promoted so far. How can a luxury brand based on seasonal trends manage its business without damaging the planet? We wonder how fashion brands that shift to a purpose-driven business can be credible if they still run their activity on an overproduction pattern. Also, they attain the status of B-Corp. Most importantly, we wonder how B-Corp certification can combine with overproduction.
That seems contradictory. In fact, in this context, sustainability is ridiculous.

Specifically, we wonder if a drastic reduction of supply by offering only beautiful design garments made with “sustainable materials” and respecting the production chain would be an effective strategy.

But, of course, we understand that manipulating reality with the effect of fueling overconsumption is the most effective way to make money. So keep up promoting a green world!

The elephant in the room

Overproduction & why the fashion system ignores it

The elephant in the room is a bulky presence that fills every physical space. A dominant companion whose effect we can see in every corner of the planet. The thing is, everyone ignores it, hides it, or pretends not to see it. 

But can the fashion industry make change without addressing its elephant in the room? 

Fashion industry: what is the elephant in the room?

It’s overproduction! An enormous, visible, tangible and destructive elephant. Is the industry aware of it? Fashion insiders, CEOs, fashion designers? And the group of all the new “sustainable labels”? And what about those who promote corporate change? Of course, they are aware. But they still put profit first, not the planet. Even new companies born to spread sustainable messages do not renounce the overproduction/overconsumption pattern. In fact, some deemed changing that system would be too radical, and bosses wouldn’t accept it.

But is it plausible to talk about sustainability regardless of overproduction? No! Of course, not! 

To make it more clear: can brands overproducing goods be sustainable? No, they can’t! It seems obvious!

So, why does every single brand involved in this overproduction system promote its sustainable practices? Marketing is the answer: the purpose is, selling more, feeding the system and their pockets.
And marketing takes the shape of greenwashing or social washing in order to show a clean face engaging with people. 

Specifically, are top brands and new green companies bringing real innovation? Are they doing the right thing with their sustainable marketing strategies? No, they simply found a new way, an updated way, to make money!

And so, in the end, it all boils down to this point: can the fashion industry attempt to make a change without addressing the elephant in the room? No! Of course, not! Indeed, the industry is far from changing for the better.