Can Fashion – As We Know It – Become Seasonless?
27 June 2020
Author: Jasmine Waters
The industry cycle becoming a seasonless one is something that has been on the lips of many over the last few years. With Gucci announcing they were switching to seasonless over during the initial lockdown period, the conversation has started up again but this time concerning whether a total change in strategy may be what saves fashion in our post-COVID future. Whether we like it or not, the pandemic has led to a serious reshuffling of brand ideologies, questioning if sticking with this development will continue to work for the industry in the long run. Will going seasonless see us through and will it have added benefits?
Though it is not yet completely determined exactly how consumer behaviour will change, our demand will have to – our collective want for all things excess is a wastefulness that is sadly unsustainable. Many industry professionals believe that we must cherish what we buy for longer and commitment for making sure what we sell is always of the highest quality. This is something seasonless planning has at its advantage, with products themselves designed to be timeless and can be sold and marketed year-round, something which could prove to be an effective solution for retail survival. There is an existing burden for many small and independent business of large quantities being turned around in short time frames, putting extremely pressure on staff and the business partners alike. A continuous flow of merchandise throughout the year as opposed to large bulks of collections several times a year could seriously be something we see more of, as fashion weeks, trade shows and other physical calendar events are still in uncertain territory.
Is there good reason to change?
One thing we do know about changes in consumer behaviour is that they are less likely to follow promoted trends. Our clothes and possessions are things that continue to reflect our personal style and can maintain continuity through what brands continue to prioritise and sell through the current period of uncertainty. For fashion shows themselves, there is argument that the market for it has been too saturated, losing credibility in favour of financial gain – something which is not going to sit well with the post-COVID consumer ethos. In addition to needing to capitalise on the ‘human’ side of business, being seasonless also enables brands to embody a greater sustainability agenda. Many have already taken steps to move past the traditional model as the climate emergency has worsened, approaching whatever form of traditional seasons still exist in a completely different way. From a broader perspective, it seems as it switching to seasonless encompasses many changes in the industry that were already occurring but rapidly increased by the pandemic – from the consumer’s point of view as well as brands and designers. If it is a successfully planned solution for the market, environment and adapting to suit all needs, it will certainly be one to look out for, and perhaps plan for, over the coming months.
Image source: https://www.pexels.com/@rethaferguson