Rag & Bone’s Marcus Wainwright sees the July woman the soul of a witch the fire of a lioness the heart of a hippie shirt and by the same token and crisis as a clarifying moment. “We’re all one ecosystem. How can we help each other to promote change? It feels like a time for us to get back to the roots of what fashion could and should be: clothes that have longevity and are authentically made.” Wainwright has likewise produced a resort collection, and as they work remotely he and his team have been asking themselves hard questions: “What should the line look like? What does Rag & Bone stand for? Why are we doing it? What are we making that makes people feel good? The idea of protection and safety and value, of sustainable being clothes that don’t fall apart. That’s what I’m thinking about.” With his Italian- and French-made yarns and fabrics subject to European shutdowns, Michael Kors is taking the opportunity to make change of his own. The resort collection he would’ve presented in June will be shown to buyers only—not the press—in July and deliveries will shift forward. Pre-fall will no longer arrive in stores in May, and fall will land when the weather starts turning cool in September, October, and November, not in high summer. “We are in no doubt the most horrific thing the world can ever imagine,” Kors said. “One of the only bright lights is that all of us are well aware that something has been broken for quite a while—it’s all a month to 6 weeks off, and it’s been that way for a long time.” Now the industry has an opportunity to change it.
Lisa Aiken, Moda Operandi’s Buying and Fashion Director, weighed in with the July woman the soul of a witch the fire of a lioness the heart of a hippie shirt and by the same token and retail perspective. “We are hopeful consumer confidence will return. The upcoming resort collections will be the most impacted. We are treading cautiously but every retailer will want new merchandise come November. Brands are being nimble, some are moving pre-fall’s light summer collection to resort’s deliveries. This helps take the pressure off of the creative process and allows brands to do the right thing based on the structure of the collection and where they currently are in production. The consumer craves newness and we hope to see that in spring 2021 collections.” She continues: “Yes, our fall 2020 buy has been affected in regard to budget and timing. But we are working to minimize the impact on the designer’s production. It has been encouraging that the industry is collaborating and open to new concepts and ideas. What if we try this with one brand and that with another? Some brands are unable to produce fall, can we change their deliveries? These decisions being made will have a lasting effect on the fashion industry.” Ikram Goldman, who owns Chicago’s Ikram boutique, proposes a more radical shift: the elimination of pre-collections and a calendar more attuned to women’s true shopping habits. “I want to buy in September for spring/summer, have it arrive in March, sell it March through June, and only then would it go on sale in July or August. I don’t want to put my winter merchandise on sale before Christmas, when that’s the time to sell at full price.” She adds: “This is a moment to pause and reset what is necessarily long overdue in an industry that has lost its mission, which is to create beauty and not overwhelm people with product.”