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BFC and CFDA join forces to call for change

By Danielle Wightman-Stone

May 21, 2020

The British Fashion Council (BFC) and the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) have joined forces and issued an open letter calling for a global “reset” on how the fashion industry does business and presents its collections.

The letter, entitled ’The Fashion Industry’s Reset’, states that the Covid-19 pandemic has open up an opportunity for the fashion community to “rethink and reset” the way in which fashion brands and designers show their collections as well as how they work, including a focus on “no more” than two collections a year.

“We are united in our steadfast belief that the fashion system must change, and it must happen at every level. We are listening to many conversations taking place,” states the BFC and CFDA. “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 follows last week’s open letter from Dries Van Noten, signed by designers including Joseph Altuzarra and Mary Katrantzou calling on the transformation and reset of the fashion calendar, which was followed days later by a Business of Fashion initiative also calling for radical change.

The BFC and CFDA are encouraging its brands, designers and retailers, who are used to “fashion’s fast, unforgiving pace, to slow down,” stating that with existing inventory stacking up due to the coronavirus crisis that now is the time to look at the collections cycle and be “very strategic about their products and how and when they intend to sell them”.

With this in mind it is strongly suggesting that designers focus on “no more than two main collections a year”.

BFC and CFDA calls for “no more” than two main collections a year moving forward

The two organisations added: “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.”

This will allow a shift in the delivery schedule, allowing merchandised to be sold “closer to the season for which it is intended”.

With regards to fashion shows, the BFC and CFDA recommend that once the pandemic is over, that brands should attempt to show “during the regular fashion calendar and in one of the global fashion capitals in order to avoid the strain on buyers and journalists travelling constantly.”

Doing so would “avoid the strain on buyers and journalists travelling constantly,” the letter added, “and significantly increased each individual’s carbon footprint.”

For the upcoming spring/summer 2021 season it did note that “physical in-person presentations are likely impossible,” however, both organisations would help to organise “virtual presentations” to highlight collections.

The letter also placed an emphasis on keeping sustainability front and centre of the conversation: “Through the creation of less product, with higher levels of creativity and quality, products will be valued and their shelf life will increase.”

Concluding the joint statement, the BFC and CFDA, added: “The need to align as a global industry during these times has become more apparent. We will continue to work side-by-side, while each city will develop its own local initiatives. Fashion is a business of creativity and new ideas and difficult times are also ones for innovation. We will work to our industry’s benefit as we reimagine and create, with our members and partners, a successful future.

“We all understand the difficulties that all of you are going through in this devastating time and are here to help you and provide information in any way that we can.”

Image: courtesy of the BFC/London Fashion Week