Gucci Reinvents the Fashion Industry: Fewer, Timeless CollectionsBy Daniel González | Wed, 05/27/2020 - 16:18
Creative Director of Gucci Alessandro Michele announced yesterday through a virtual press conference that the Italian brand will stop producing its five collections a year. This means breaking the usual calendar that has governed the fashion industry since the end of WWII. “There will be no seasons, just two collections a year,” said Michele from his home in Rome, Italy. “Clothes should have a longer life,” he added. Until yesterday, the collections that completed the fashion calendar were five: Spring-Summer, Autumn-Winter, pre-Fall, Cruise and Haute-Couture. However, Gucci’s decision may cause a tsunami that will sweep the entire industry.
Michele is considered one of the most influential personalities in the industry and responsible for returning Gucci to the Top 10 of the world’s most recognized brands. His decision comes at a key moment for the future of the industry. In late April, the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Mexico opened the way for digital presentations, a decision followed by the world´s fashion capitals. Shortly after, the fashion weeks of Paris, Milan, New York and London announced that they would make their presentations through platforms such as Instagram and YouTube. Gucci’s decision, which the brand supports with a commitment to sustainability and digitalization with the aim of saving costs, also comes at a difficult time for the retail industry in charge of selling the collections presented by the most important brands. Macy’s, JC Penny and Neiman Marcus, three US department stores that make the most profits by selling luxury products, are either bankrupt or on the verge of bankruptcy. Many of the department stores in Paris, Hong Kong, London, Madrid, Mexico City and Milan have temporarily closed their doors to stop the expansion of COVID-19 and stocks are piling up at stores’ warehouses, which are still thinking about how to get rid of the old collections in the shortest time possible.
Michele’s collections for Gucci will be timeless from now. Gucci, one of the top representatives of Italian design and manufacturing, will not attend the next Milan Fashion Week in September, which will generate a lower carbon footprint, reduce the company’s costs and cause a new commercial hype among the brand’s followers, thus helping to increase sales. “Our reckless actions have burned the house we live in. We conceived ourselves as separated from nature, we felt cunning and almighty,” said Michele through Gucci’s Instagram account.
The economic situation brought by COVID-19 is changing the way the fashion industry has developed since the late 1980s, with creative directors being responsible for the entire creative process, from the choice of a collection concept, fabrics and materials, to the production of advertising or the design of perfumes and accessories. This, according to Vogue, had led to a resigning trend among designers under pressure. This was the case with Raf Simons and Dior, Alexander Wang and Balenciaga and Hedi Slimane and Saint Laurent. The three designers, considered the most influential in the industry, left their respective positions only three years after being appointed.
According to Fashion United, the fashion industry is valued globally at US$3 trillion, equivalent to 2 percent of global GDP. The main players in this industry, which has digitalization and China as the main symbols of success for the future, are Inditex, LVMH, Kering, Gap, H&M, Nike, Abercrombie & Fitch, Dior, Arcadia, Prada and Burberry.