The fashion industry loves a good catchphrase.
We know the collections by names like “Spring/Summer” or “Cruise”. The word “craftsmanship” is invoked so often, you actually wonder what it entails. A while ago, the hot phrase was “see now, buy now”, succeeded by “sustainable fashion” and “circular economy”. Now, it’s “seasonless”.
A few weeks ago, in a series of posts penned by the brand’s creative head Alessandro Michele, Gucci made the surprise announcement on Instagram that it would be transitioning into a more seasonless business model.
Coming after Dries Van Noten’s impassioned plea for the industry to fix itself through several methods that include realigning manufacturing and delivery dates, as well as reducing the number of collections produced each year, Gucci’s involvement in this movement is likely to set precedence for other fashion businesses to follow suit.
But what does it mean for the industry, and for consumers?
For starters, Gucci will be slashing their annual offerings of fashion shows from five to two shows each year. “Clothes should have a longer life than that which these words attribute to them,” says Michele on Instagram, alluding to his plans of creating seasonless collections. “We will meet just twice a year, to share the chapters of a new story. Irregular, joyful and absolutely free chapters, which will be written blending rules and genres, feeding on new spaces, linguistic codes and communication platforms.”
What this will mean for shoppers is that they should start expecting a regular stream of small inventory drops in-stores, rather than the massive seasonal collections that happen in March or September. Going seasonless also would thereby reduce the need for putting clothing into the discount section – a move that was highlighted in Dries Van Noten’s own open letter.
Having a longer lead time to produce collections is also a boon for creatives. With the amount of effort and work it takes to produce some designs, a slower pace will allow for more focus to be place on the craft and the artistry behind certain methods.
Shoppers will also be able to keep things hanging in their closets longer because seasonless clothing has to retain a sense of timelessness that will translate beyond the current six-month season cycle. Sure, even your classic black dress might feel tired after a few years, but at least you get to wear it more than that one rainbow-colored sequinned skirt that everyone recognizes from a party that happened two years ago.
While the first amongst the Kering group of brands to commit to a solid plan of two seasonless collections a year, Gucci isn’t the first. Earlier this year, Saint Laurent announced that in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic that’s essentially put the entire fashion system on indefinite hold, the Parisian house would be taking over its own calendar. This means showing a collection only when the house is ready, rather than trying to catch up with the existing fashion calendar.
Besides Gucci, Dries Van Noten and Saint Laurent, designer Giorgio Armani has also recently penned an open letter obliterating fashion’s unrealistic demands when it comes to producing inventory, and the over-the-top fashion show productions that are hurting the environment.
With Gucci now backing the move to slow the industry down, this could finally be the change that sustainable fashion advocates have long been campaigning for.