Some of fashion's biggest names petition to reset the industry calendar

Dries Van Noten, Marine Serre and Craig Green are among the designers behind an open letter calling for a fundamental rethink of how we create, present and view collections.

by Rolien Zonneveld
13 May 2020, 1:23pm

Still from Marine Serre’s SS20 campaign film

Much has changed in 2020, to say the least. Following a rethink of how we work and socialise, how we present, view and create fashion is next in line. The fashion calendar has traditionally been both extremely delineated along increasingly outdated gender divisions, and also a confusing timeframe, with summer collections shown in winter and vice versa.

While it's always been the norm, a group of esteemed designers are taking the global timeout dictated by the coronavirus pandemic to point out it does not make sense by any stretch of the imagination. Led by Dries van Noten, a group of the industry's biggest names have now penned a passionate call to the fashion industry to discuss some fundamental ways in which the industry needs to change.

In an online open letter, the group -- which includes fashion week favourites like Marine Serre and Craig Green, department stores Nordstrom and Bergdorf Goodman and e-commerce site Mytheresa -- proposes a reset to fashion's deliveries and discounting calendar, which they explain to be misaligned with real-world seasons.

"We agreed that the current environment although challenging, presents an opportunity for a fundamental and welcome change that will simplify our businesses, making them more environmentally and socially sustainable and ultimately align them more closely with customers’ needs," the letter reads.

In practice this means adjusting the seasonality and flow of both womenswear and menswear goods, starting with the coming AW20 season, which has been heavily disrupted by the ongoing pandemic. The letter calls for putting the AW season back in winter, and the SS season back in summer. Sounds pretty logical, doesn't it?

Speaking to Vogue, Dries explained that it's simply not normal to buy winter clothes in May -- nor is it normal to work with the design team on a collection that hits the shop floor one month and a half before it’s discounted at 50 per cent. According to the signees, this alignment will eliminate this detrimental need for season discounting. Ultimately it will mean less fashion products flooding the market and less fabric and inventory waste. So it's not only more logical, but more sustainable too.

"Working together, we hope these steps will allow our industry to become more responsible for our impact on our customers, on the planet and on the fashion community, and bring back the magic and creativity that has made fashion such an important part of our world," the letter concludes.

Dries Van Noten
Fashion Weeks
marine serre