Skip to main content

Fashion Business reports: 2020

Graphic design of multiple colours
  • Written byTony Glenville
  • Published date 30 December 2020
Graphic design of multiple colours
Fashion Business School 2020

In May 2020 it was decided that the huge amount of information, I was both receiving and investigating, should be communicated to students. The idea of the reports was formalised and I set out on a journey which is not yet ended. During the weeks and months, several key elements emerged as ongoing, strong and which reflected both fashion as a business and the global situation. Of course regional and cultural differences were there but the overriding stories were abundantly clear.

Sustainability and everything this represents - from fibre through to resale, from washing through to packaging. Ethical and the journey your clothes make, from the state of the factory to the air miles travelled for a T-shirt or a handbag. Gender - what it means in the twenty first century.Culture and ethnicity, race; and all that implies from food to religion, from family traditions to skincare. Thinking about fashion- “Local versus Global”, “Make less make better” and the entire business of producing garments. Communicating during a global pandemic - film, animation, press kit, news, PR, stories. How people responded became fascinating, with a huge variety of creative outcomes.

The Big Four Fashion Weeks - by the end of 2020 everyone knew that many people were not showing during the tightly controlled normal schedules. This is continuing. Publications and their response - Vogue Italia led  the way; how has the entire glossy print and online publications business reacted?

“The purpose of these reports, newsletters, journals or papers is to demonstrate how fashion and business in general is responding. How the creative the world of fashion can be in the current global situation. There will always be a variety of areas of activity, and indeed some of the information you may already be aware of, yet on balance it’s about those at the top and their creative teams basically ‘going for it’. Optimism in a time of stress and disorder is essential, and these notes will offer insights into how business and fashion invent, shift, propose and innovate. Some of these forms will gradually disappear, some are here to stay, and som eare merely developments of already established ideas. Notes are based on facts or conversations with industry people. I am not sure how useful‘educated guesses’ are at a time like this so I will always flag this up, we know this situation is unique in our history.There is the obvious, and there are surprises. I hope you enjoy dipping in and out and hopefully making some discoveries. “

During the first year these are some of the people we name checked and some of the news stories we featured.

  • Asia Pacific: Watch for New Local Names
  • Sara Maino: Deputy Editor-in-Chief, Vogue Italia
  • Artisan,  craft, heritage skills.
  • Crafts & sustainability
  • Loic Prigent Paris
  • Rewiring Fashion
  • Virgil Abloh Illinois
  • Magazines: Survival of The Fittest
  • Harris Reed London
  • Balenciaga Museum and research online access Spain
  • Kenneth Ize Lagos
  • Derek Blasberg YouTube New York
  • Christopher John Rogers Louisiana USA
  • Thebe Magugu. Kimberley South Africa
  • Rahul Mishra Malhausi India
  • Miss Fame     San Luis Obispo, California USA
  • Charles de Vilmorin France
  • Culture &  Clothes - cultural appropriation
  • Gender Specific & Genderless - Ultra feminine/masculine Tradition versus Genderless Future
  • Kanzai Yamamoto - Japan obituary
  • Robin Givhan The Washington Post

As we hit September 2020 the first complete season of the Big Four; that is New York, London, Milan and Paris, was about to start in the ongoing pandemic. During July and August the reports had covered Haute Couture and Menswear with almost all presentations in digital format or with tiny audiences, but this was the main event. The moment when the fashion world focussed for a month of the following season, on the trends coming out of these shows, of the established and the new, the classic, the luxury and the avant garde.

In the event it was much the way we’d seen at the couture and menswear, and was indeed the way the following season worked. It’s now an entire fashion year working  away from live shows, audiences, street style, influencers and a tight controlled and managed schedule. Working only through the official organisers, and showing only during the designated week has been blown away. Many names are working closer to season and deliveries, many major players are opting out of the fashion system. It’s all change, and poses the massive question “ When this is all over, will the fashion system return to exactly where it was before”.

In Issue 19 we noted that showtime continues in the time of COVID 19, so, we hit the beginning of September and things started to move, and many of the fashion week schedules were firmed up and announced. Optimism and dedication to professionalism and commitment. It was time to work with COVID 19 and show the virus, fashion means business. Not stupidly or badly, but thoughtfully and slowly. The seasonal offerings could not be just delayed indefinitely and even the idea of seasonless, meant that sooner or later collections had to be offered. Buyers requirements and retail rhythms are embedded in our calendar, so even with shifts we need to observe the lead times, the implementation of concepts and everything this means, from visual merchandising to stock control. Alongside however we subtly shift the timings we need winter clothes in for the coldest months, etc and the time to present, edit, photograph, buy, make and deliver cannot be tricked into anything other than the real time. Spring Summer 2021 was presented regardless of COVID 19. The fascinating part will be how and what, how will people decide to present and what will the fashion looks/stories/trends be that we are offered? The proverbial “watch this space” is the only possible answer.

Stories we featured included:

  • Diesel Italy
  • New York Fashion Week
  • London Fashion Week
  • Milan Fashion Week
  • Paris Fashion Week

In Issue 20 we asked the question - so, will we go back to fashion weeks, endless catwalk shows of varying amounts of lavishness, and the endless flights, travel, hotels, meals and cars required. Is this necessary? It’s not going to be easy but we edit each city, after it finishes, and point out key elements and styles. The only response we can evaluate will be in a few weeks time; for now we can only do the classic and, “wait & see”. I had an update - 16th September from a major Paris P.R. “We are as much in the dark as you are”.

Stories we featured covered:

  • CFDA Awards
  • Fendi - Kim Jones appointment
  • Cate Blanchett
  • F.A.C.E. & other initiatives……
  • Edward Enninful
  • Peter Do
  • Caroline Herrera
  • Street Style
  • Halpern
  • Matty Bovan
  • Jordan Luca
  • Robyn Lynch
  • Brunello Cucinelli
  • Boss
  • MSGM
  • Thebe Magugu
  • Cecilie  Bahnsen
  • Litkovskaya
  • Balmain
  • Anrealage

“The pandemic has been a wake-up call for many designers, making them turn inward, reflecting on their past and on the values they represent through their work.” - Vogue Runway, Milan, September 28, 2020 by Tiziana Cardini

In Issue 25 we observed; Paris basically presented us with one hundred collections, and many have little hope of surviving another online season. Especially if their poor online/digital offering this time is the direction they believe secures their future. The likelihood of a return to the old ways of fashion weeks for February/March 2020 is pretty remote.

  • The fashion circus has left town and may never return as it once was.
  • Germanier
  • Schiaparelli
  • Balenciaga -Demna Gvsalia
  • Anton Belinskiy
  • Hyeres - Tom Van der Borght
  • Ludovic de Saint Sernin
  • Sustainability
  • Heritage & Craft
  • Cultural Appropriation
  • Beppe Modenese
  • Elie Top
  • Kenneth Ize
  • Li Ziqi - Sustainability but not fashion

Miracles would have to happen worldwide to wipe the last year of Covid-19 off the map, and allow everyone to return to travelling, crowds and hotels.