Legacy Fashion Summit Session 1 – The State of Fashion 2019

Fashion is one of the world’s biggest industries, impacting on people and the planet. For the first time, Ndless the New NormalFashion Revolution and The Australian Fashion Council have teamed up to present the Legacy Fashion Summit, a two-day industry gathering seeking to address the urgent problems faced by the fashion through in a practical and meaningful way.

In this era of transparency, the call is getting louder. Remaining relevant in a post growth world means radically reinventing value, purpose and profits. In so doing, we can recognise the vast ecosystem within which the fashion industry lies, unlocking numerous opportunities for creating a new legacy. One that is regenerative, restorative and empathetic in nature.’ Over two days, more than 300 attendees explored business models, new technologies, initiatives and materials with a view of redefining the business of fashion to create a more sustainable future.

Over two days, more than 300 attendees explored business models, new technologies, initiatives and materials with a view of redefining the business of fashion to create a more sustainable future.

We will be sharing everything we learned over the coming weeks.

Session One – The State of Fashion

Presented by: Jenny Cermak, McKinsey & Company

Jenny Cermak, partner at McKinsey & Company gave the opening keynote at the recent Legacy Fashion on their most recent annual report The State of Fashion published in partnership with the Business of Fashion. Now in its third year, the report offers trend data as well as key insights into the fashion industry.

Executives surveyed for the report identified uncertainty and volatility as key issues faced by the fashion industry. While technology and its integration is at the forefront of their minds, sustainability is creeping up into their awareness.

The key trends identified in the report relating to sustainability were:

  • The End of Ownership – the idea that a good has life beyond one purchaser, that there is elasticity to product. Similar to what we have seen with the rise of services such as Uber and Lyft, society is embracing the idea that you don’t need to own something but can make use of it if and when you need it. Pre-owned and rental businesses are more relevant today than ever before. Designer Stella McCartney has partnered with online reseller the Real Real to ensure her garments have a prolonged life cycle. Department store Neiman Marcus is facilitating customers having their pre-loved garments re-worked by a tailor. Jenny is sceptical that social good is at the root cause of this shift in ideology, she suggests that the change may be more financially driven. With less disposable income and more pressure from social media, people are favouring the lower cost and convenience of expanding their wardrobe through options such as rental.
  • Getting Woke – The rise of business embedding their values in the business model. More and more consumers are wanting to connect to brands that share their values and beliefs. We are now seeing a link between values and brand relevance — it’s now the bare minimum. Data is starting to flow through from Gen Z consumers and its been found that over 90% of Gen Z believe companies should have a stance on environmental, social and governance issues. But are consumers really willing to pay more for it? When it comes to the average consumer, probably not but there is a shift.
  • Radical Transparency – people increasingly expect businesses to be transparent about their policies and practices. Fashion business such as Everlane have built a model around radical transparency and are thriving. This also relates to the storage and use of customer data.

Sustainability does really matter but in order to activate the big companies who have the most to win or lose, understanding the definition of the word, and helping them be intentional about how they invest in it is imperative. They must understand the implications and the benefits. In addition, fashion businesses must question how they take a stance on social and environmental issues, seeking to satisfy customer demands for transparency and sustainability in an authentic way.

You can access the report here.

Emma Batchelor

Emma Batchelor

As well as a near obsessive interest in fashion, Emma is a former scientist, occasional contemporary dancer, avid reader and self-confessed cat lady (she has three). Emma lived in Leiden in the Netherlands as a baby and Leiden ought to have been her middle name had her mother thought of it at the time and not chosen Louise instead.

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