Supporting the luxury fashion industry of the future
With September the home to fashion weeks in New York, London, Milan and Paris, there’s rightfully been a significant spotlight on the fashion industry, including a lot of talk about the status and the future of the sector over this busy time of the year for designers and brands.
Eye-catching runways shows in London from the likes of Victoria Beckham and Christopher Kane, followed up by Alberta Ferretti’s adventurous opening to the six-day fashion showcase in Milan, suggest the industry is in good shape.
But how has it evolved, and where is the future innovation coming from? These are questions that are always in focus during this part of the calendar.
An article from Anders Christian Madsen in Vogue magazine suggested we are currently at one of those moments in time, which come around every now and then, when there is designer talent creation so powerful, “it fuels us for years”.
“Michael Halpern, Matty Bovan, Molly Goddard, Richard Quinn and, at the London men’s shows, Charles Jeffrey are all on their way to new establishment territory, hoping to build companies with independent two-digit million turnovers like Erdem’s, or gain the backing of LVMH or Kering like JW Anderson and Christopher Kane, respectively,” he wrote.
It certainly paints an exciting picture and offers a positive nod to the universities, fashion colleges and institutions where these skills were honed, and suggests there is an abundance of creativity in fashion right now. But the whole industry needs to capture and use this to inspire and fuel yet more talent – it’s important for an industry which is defined by the new, the creative and the ground-breaking, but also for the wider business world.
In good health
Fashion and its relationship with retail, wholesale and the growing digital economy is big business; it creates jobs; and it helps support communities by filling high streets with shops and giving people something to aspire to.
The British Fashion Council (BFC) released a report in the build-up to London Fashion Week, citing statistics from Oxford Economics depicting fashion as a major UK employer with 890,000 jobs supported across the industry. That represented growth of 1.8% compared to 2016, so shows that the sector is growing in importance in terms of the overall economy.
The BFC said that UK employment figures rank fashion almost as large as the financial sector which further supports the notion that fashion is a key pillar of society as a whole. And that’s why addressing education in this sector – and looking to ensure the younger generation are being prepared with the skills needed to progress in this industry – is so worthy of attention.
Skills at grassroots
Fashion in general has always had a pull; there is an appeal to it, ranging from the glamour we’re seeing at the runways shows across the world throughout September, to the way it enables people a freedom of expression so important in forward-thinking societies. But one new way to get people into fashion at a young age – something to hook their interest, if you like – is its ever-growing link with technology.
For example, a group of students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York have been making practical use of the latest active textile technologies.
As part of a summer workshop collaboration between these two institutions and Massachusetts-based not-for-profit organisation Advanced Functional Fabrics of America, the participants – and potential designers of the future – created a T-shirt that can change colour to complement someone’s mood.
They also created an apron that transforms into a dress accompanied by interchangeable pockets with high-tech functionality.
Using advanced functional materials that incorporate 3D printing or advanced knitting technologies, those involved went someway to creating a path to the future of fashion. Using new skills, technologies and materials, there were plenty of new ideas, and innovative methods displayed – and it bodes well for the longevity of the industry that this type of experimentation is going on.
We at Dedagroup, where fashion and technology expertise sit at our core, feel well-positioned to help provide support to the future of the fashion industry through our education and learning platforms, and our engagement with the sector at grassroots. We feel it’s important to keep the momentum of fashion weeks going, and ensure the industry continues to be the talk of the town through the generations.