What is the future of fashion?

Bazaar's fashion director Avril Mair weighs in

Fashion is on the brink of a revolution. Luxury groups such as LVMH and Kering – the most powerful forces in the industry – are working on sustainability charters that cover everything from how much water is wasted in manufacturing to how they look after their workers throughout the supply chain. Stella McCartney, who has long been a pioneer for conscious design, used more than 75 per cent eco-friendly materials in her S/S 20 collection – her most sustainable to date. Meanwhile, a new generation of designers, most notably Gabriela Hearst, whose last show was certified carbon-neutral, are building environmental credentials into their processes.

Brands are becoming less interested in seasonality than in making heirloom pieces. Pierpaolo Piccioli at Valentino doesn’t think in terms of trends; rather, he is building a back catalogue of beauty that pays no heed to old notions of how we shop. Hedi Slimane of Celine purposefully creates the same pieces again and again in his collections because he doesn’t want people to have to buy a new version the next time round.

And there is a real sense of history in Simone Rocha’s work: she looks back at the lives of women, taking inspiration from wedding dresses or christening gowns to design clothes with a powerful emotional charge. This is what true beauty looks like: things made with love, things that treat the Earth with care, that are respectful of our heritage.

"The future of fashion? Everyone’s going to buy less and think more" - Alexa Chung, designer

It’s a philosophy that increasingly lies at the heart of luxury fashion today – one that we saw manifested in the magnificent Alexander McQueenS/S 20 show. Some of the designs were based on archive patterns created two decades ago; there were elements of up cycling (the lace details stitched into models’ trains had been recovered from previous collections); and Sarah Burton worked with responsibly sourced materials, such as linen made using flax from a female-owned Irish farm. There’s also a sustained effort to support local craftsmanship among leading brands: for Dior’s 2020 cruise collection shown in Marrakesh, Maria Grazia Chiuri engaged the support of specialists in African textiles, including an Ivory Coast-based factory, a Nigerian mil-liner and a Moroccan women’s association that aims to revive traditional artisan skills.

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