Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Fashionistas rebel against ‘wasteful’ and busy calendar



Fashionistas rebel against ‘wasteful’ and busy calendar

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Belgian master designer Dries Van Noten has called for an end to the frenzy of discounting and Black Friday-type sales. AFP

Fashionistas rebel against ‘wasteful’ and busy calendar

‘Nothing will ever be the same again' has been the constant refrain of the coronavirus era.

But for the fashion world that may well be true.

Tectonic plates have been shifting inside the industry during the lockdown, with a wave of designers standing up to say that the mad whirr of the fashion circus has to slow.

While many have questioned its frenetic rhythm and wasteful over-production for years, few big-name insiders dared openly to question the hamster wheel of spring/summer, autumn/winter, cruise and pre-fall shows, as well as the now mandatory capsule collections.

The first cracks in the facade began to appear last month, when Saint Laurent designer Anthony Vaccarello said he was pulling out of Paris fashion week this year.

Henceforth “the brand will lead its own rhythm . . . and take control of its pace and reshape its schedule,” he declared.

‘Clothes need longer life’

This week Gucci’s Alessandro Michele joined the revolt by saying he was slashing his shows from five to two a year, and questioning the very idea of seasonal collections which have underpinned fashion since World War II.

“Clothes should have a longer life,” he said in a virtual press conference from Milan, insisting that his future collections would be “seasonless”.

Michele is no pouting rebel, but fashion’s commercially savvy darling who has turned Gucci into a cash cow for the French luxury conglomerate Kering with his ironic kitschy style that has echoes of Wes Anderson and John Waters films.

And it is not the just the young guns who have had enough.

The doyen of designers, Giorgio Armani – still working at age 85 – said it was time to “cut out the superfluous” and rein in fashion’s gruelling schedule.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Giorgio Armani – still working at age 85 – says it is time to ‘cut out the superfluous’ and rein in fashion’s gruelling schedule. AFP

“The times that we are living in are turbulent, but they give us a unique chance to see what is not working . . . to find a more human dimension to it,” he said.

More significant still has been an open letter initiated by the Belgian master Dries Van Noten and rising French designer Marine Serre calling for a rethinking of how luxury fashion works.

Several hundred industry players have since signed it including brands, creators and department stores like Chloe, Thom Browne, Y/Project, Lemaire, Alexandre Mattiussi, Nordstrom, Bergdorf Goodman, Selfridges and Harvey Nichols.

They call for “fundamental change that will simplify businesses, making them more environmentally and socially sustainable” and are now in talks with the organisers of the four big fashion weeks in Paris, Milan, New York and London.

Van Noten has also called for an end to the frenzy of discounting and Black Friday-type sales and pleaded for clothes to stay longer in the shops.

He wants winter clothes to hit the shops in winter and summer ones in summer, rather than months before as they do now.

“It’s not normal to buy winter clothes in May,” said Van Noten. Nor was it normal for a collection to be “discounted at 50 per cent a month after it hits the floor”.

He said current retail culture was creating a “vicious circle” of waste and over-production. “After the sales, shops need something new and we are pushed to make more and more collections,” he told the French daily Le Monde.

“I may be naive, but I think that maybe what happened with gastronomy a few years ago could happen in fashion. We saw the emergence of a wave of restaurants with shorter, seasonal menus that were less ostentatious,” said Van Noten.

Serre – who has made a name for herself for up-cycling and reusing material – said fashion should see the coronavirus crisis “as a chance take responsibility” environmentally.

“The advantage of being independent is that you are not motivated by money. What matters is the quality of our work,” she said. “That makes change possible.”

Gucci and Saint Laurent are part of Kering, one of two French giants that dominate luxury fashion. But contacted by AFP, it declined to comment on whether it supported the overhaul of the calendar its creators are championing.

LVMH, the world’s biggest luxury goods group, which owns Louis Vuitton, Dior and a plethora of other labels, has also remained silent.

MOST VIEWED

  • Municipal hall releases map detailing colour coded Covid risks by commune

    Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng released an official map detailing the red, yellow and dark yellow zones within the city under the new lockdown orders for Phnom Penh announced on April 26. The designation of red, dark yellow and yellow corresponds to areas with high,

  • Phnom Penh unveils rules for post-lockdown transition

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration issued a set of detailed guidelines for the seven days to May 12 after the capital emerges from lockdown at the onset of May 6. In the 14-page document signed by municipal governor Khuong Sreng released on the evening of May 5, the

  • SBI LY HOUR Bank Launches Cross Border Money Transfer Service between Cambodia and Vietnam on RippleNet, utilizing DLT

    SBI LY HOUR Bank Plc and Hanoi-based Tien Phong Commercial Joint Stock Bank (TPBank) on Friday launched the first Cambodia-Vietnam money transfer service in real currency via RippleNet, provided by SBI Ripple Asia Co Ltd to provide safe, fast and convenient services. SBI LY HOUR

  • Phnom Penh, Takmao lockdown extended for another week

    The government late on April 26 announced an extension of lockdown in Phnom Penh and adjacent Takmao town in Kandal province for another seven days – or longer if residents do not comply with Covid-19 preventive measures and the community outbreak does not subside – until May 5. According

  • Gov't mulls extension of Phnom Penh, Takmao lockdown

    The Inter-ministerial National Commission for the Control and Enforcement of Lockdown held a video conference meeting on April 25 to review a draft document on the extension of lockdown in Phnom Penh and adjacent Kandal province’s Takmao town. The meeting was chaired by Minister of

  • Gov’t issues guidelines as lockdown nears end

    The government has issued a five-page set of instructions to be enforced when the three-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Takmao town in Kandal province ends on May 6. According to an announcement signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 4, the instructions cover a