Everyone is waiting to see how the future unfolds following the coronavirus pandemic and the fashion industry is no different. Designers Andrea Wazen, Nicolò Beretta and Titi Adesa, along with Liberty London’s chief marketing officer Madeleine Macey, came together today in FN’s virtual roundtable to discuss big-picture questions, including what will fashion look like in five years?
“We spend so much time predicting the future already,” Beretta told FN Style Director Shannon Adducci, who hosted the conversation. “It depends on what the pandemic turns out to be. We have so many questions, [but] there’s huge pressure on e-commerce and [that will continue]. Second, there will be a need for comfort, our lifestyle is changing.”
Beretta himself is focused on direct-to-consumer for his brand Giannico, which he launched in 2013 at the age of 17. Just last week, he showed his new collection at Milan Fashion Week, which he said he’s happy with “considering the situation.” He added, “We do fashion, we don’t save lives. We just need to be light and creative.” (In 2016, Beretta received the Vivian Infantino Emerging Talent Award at the Footwear News Achievement Awards, becoming the youngest designer ever to win the award. In 2018, the designer was named creative director for Italian brand L’Autre Chose, a position he balances with his Giannico brand.)
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For Beirut, Lebanon-based Wazen, five years will bring back aspirational desire for glamour. “Casual-wear is a phase,” she said. “We need to still sell the dream, [people] want to feel good. They are still buying that one pair [of heels] and waiting for the day to wear it again. I don’t think that will go away.”
Change is not only happening on the design front, but also at retail, too. Macey, the acting creative director for leading London department store and design brand, Liberty, was vocal during the talk about the challenges wholesalers were facing long before the pandemic. “It’s an old model,” she said. “It’s difficult. Everything is about cash flow. That’s what the crisis highlighted. Cash flow is king and if you shut your doors, where is the cash?”
Macey added that retailers need to think about they way they buy because how people shop and consume will be different in five years. “Digital needs to become more of an enabler,” she said. “And fashion will look a lot smaller. I think we will see a lot of big names fall.”
In the midst of COVID-19, a racism pandemic ensued following the death of George Floyd in May, which confronted the fashion world more than ever for its lack of diversity and inclusion. More change is needed in the industry, but new designer Adesa believes fashion is moving in the right direction.
“From a business level as a black brand, there’s been an overwhelming amount of support. And as new brand, I’m glad. The awareness is incredible and I couldn’t have predicted it, but it’s not about supporting black-owned brands [for just right] now. It’s much bigger. Diversity is great but inclusion [needs to happen] at all levels. We have to have a the conscious effort to keep going.”