Fashion is a funny old thing, isn’t it? I have a mostly love relationship with it but sometimes it leaves me scratching my head thinking WTAF – not in terms of the weird and wacky that it can bring us or the revisiting of old trends (hello matchy-matchy tracksuits!) but more in the way the fashion industry runs its schedule – in complete disregard to the weather at the time.
There are lots of good and bad changes that will happen with the fashion industry during and post-COVID times and this week it was heartening to see that some of the big global names seeing sense. A group of designers and retailers, led by Dries Van Noten, has proposed a reset to fashion’s deliveries and discounting calendar. You can read more about that HERE. The seasons they talk about are for the Northern Hemisphere but it’s just the same problem in reverse in Australia/New Zealand. Take winter clothes, for example. The first drops start late February in Australia, long before we can actually wear a knit or a coat. By the time we can wear these pieces (now), the big retailers have discounted them, leaving the small, independent designers and boutiques out in the cold (literally).
Now, I love a bargain as much as the next person but, for me, mindful shopping for quality pieces that last from independent designers and small businesses will always trump throw-away fashion. This article confirmed that and had me shaking my head in embarrassment/disgust that Australian brands/retailers would do such a thing to their overseas makers.
As I watched one of Australia’s biggest, most in-demand independent labels (Spell) get absolutely hammered this week by their customers/fans who were so keen to get on and buy from their newest collection that the site crashed, I was disappointed for those who missed out (I was one of them!) but I was actually heartened. You see, if you’re an independent and you’re creating fashion that makes your customer feel so great that they will spend an entire morning trying to get on and buy the piece they’re coveting, then you will actually survive these crazy times. And that makes me extremely hopeful and happy.
Yes, it’s very much in my business’ interest to promote buying from smaller, independent brands and boutiques – and preferably Australian-made labels. But if you’ve been following along here for even a few years, you’d know that that’s always been my focus and that I still buy and wear labels other than my own. Without the creative diversity that independent labels bring us, we simply won’t have fashion choices that enable us to express who we are through the clothes that we wear. And that will be a boring, uninspiring old world, for sure.
More from COVID fashion times …