Amsterdam Fashion Trade Event July 8-9 2019
The winter edition of Modefabriek held at RAI Amsterdam on Sunday 20 and Monday 21 January was all about the future: the fashion industry knows that things have to change, and is facing the challenge with a positive mindset. These are – no two ways about it – the Takeaway Trends for 2019: DO! & DISRUPT, MAKE IT FUN, TRUST & TRANSPARENCY and GO CHANGE!
The art of creation once again takes centre stage. The DO!SHOP offered plenty of inspiration at Modefabriek; how do you give the makers a face in your shop? Lidewij Edelkoort thinks we’re all going to get back into needlework, but working together. Not stuffy, but modern: as Tony Tonnaer from K.O.I. touched upon in his MF Talk when he suggested quilts made from old denim or ‘reuse & repair parties’.
Joost Hiemstra and Rob Schoof from Maats Cycling Culture are another prime example of DO! The pair participated in the Panel Talk on Community Building. Joost and Rob organize popular cycle tours out of their physical shop. After the tours, cyclists enjoy a cup of coffee back at the shop and take the time to check out their exclusive selection of brands and products, all of which are easy to purchase online.
On the DRESS LIKE A MAN platform, the focus is on the maker. Learn a true craft and make something unique, following in the footsteps of Trudie Wijnen from Sixty Ply Candies with her extravagant hand-knitted one-offs. Or create your very own Nike Air Max at Roel van Hoff’s Sneakersschool. He’s a textbook case of innovative entrepreneurship: instead of being scared of the competition, he believes in sharing expertise, and instead of fearing lawsuits, Nike and adidas are in fact eager clients and collaborators. Talk about ‘Just Do It’!
DO! is also DISRUPT. Do it differently, dare to be different,don’t follow the crowd, but be a gamechanger.Channel Vivienne Westwood (Buy Less, Choose Well, Make it Last). Protest with creativity.
How is your brand a rebellious?
What are you going to DO?
The Trend Talks from Ronny de Vylder and David Shah pull no punches: we are in trouble and we know it. But instead of wallowing in the great depression about the future of our planet, we want optimism, inspiration and FUN.
This is expressed in colour, lots of colour, and there was no missing it at Modefabriek: monochrome colours or some happy chaos; neon colours stay, they represent high-tech innovation; new is the aesthetics of healing, mysticism and fairies.
Colour is great for Instagram, and Instagram sells fashion (andbeauty: influencers are delving into vibrant make-up).
‘Living Coral’ is Pantone’s Colour of the Year 2019: ‘Living Coral welcomes and encourages light-hearted activity. Symbolizing our innate need for optimism and joyful pursuits, Living Coral embodies our desire for playful expression’.
There was certainly no shortage of FUN in the DOTSHOP ball pit – including the exceptionally cheerful ecological rainwear collection from INSANE IN THE RAIN – and in North, an enormous wooden racetrack weaved between the menswear, where you – ‘men will be boys’ – could race for pole with the help of a Go Pro and VR technology. The selfie playground on The Strip also drew the crowds.
The straight-up fun trend is art with a capital A. Ronny de Vylder and David Shah introduced extreme examples in their Trend Talks, of shops that more closely resemble modern art galleries and of ‘everybody who’s anybody collects art’. We want amazement!
What is your strategy for fun?
‘It’s becoming harder and harder to love fashion’, in the words of Caroline Holme from GlobeScan in the Panel Talk on Transparency. But by communicating honestly and openly about provenance, creation and sustainability, you create trust. In fact, international research conducted by GlobeScan reveals that customers actually appreciate it when you also tell them what isn’t quite coming off yet. After all: it’s a challenge, but ‘sustainability in this creative industry[DN1] should be a positive turn-on’.
Karin Brinck from ARKET: ‘We see it as an opportunity to help customers make more informed choices’. Chanel Trapman from Mumster Productions and The Impact Shop sees in-store contact with customers as a form of research; important because the growth is in online shopping. In her new film ‘The Positive Chain of Change’ (see mumster.nl), she explains her vision: sustainability isn’t something to tackle alone, but all together! ‘Everyone can do something right now to make the world a better place’.
Tony Tonnaer from K.O.I. shared this vision in his MF Talk on reducing environmental impact. ‘My ambition is to be the industry leader, so I share my expertise to inspire both the public andmy colleagues. If the major brands follow suit, we can save ourselves and the world. If we don’t, we’ll eventually run out of water and fertile farmland’. Motto: Just do it better!
Modefabriek was overflowing with real-life examples, such as Summum Woman who are introducing an AWARE label this season to communicate sustainable material choices to their customers. Only 10% of the collection currently has an AWARE label, but that’s only set to grow in the future.
Provenance is another major concern: the EUROPSHOP was devoted to a new generation of ‘local’ brands and makers. Storytelling – ideally with video, about where something comes from and how it is made – helps put the price tag in perspective for the customer.
Shops themselves are also becoming more transparent, more open: a giant display window in which customers can enjoy themselves and be surprised.
How are you going to open up and create trust?
We’re going full steam ahead: you better believe in Change! Yes, we are facing major challenges, but we love challenges! High-tech fans are in for a treat.
In the EUROPSHOP, Studio PMS – three recently graduated fashion innovators – demonstrated how Virtual Reality could play a role in the future of fashion, where we only actually produce something once a customer has ordered it. How can you introduce our senses to a design and material if it doesn’t yet exist?
‘Creativity is the answer’, cried David Shah. Collaborate with creative talent, but also with tech talent. Don’t only invest in your physical store, but also online. Shoppable Social (Media) is already huge – the budding Turkish women’s streetwear label SEBNEMGUNAY secures more than 90% of its turnover online – and is only getting bigger.
Robots and AI are the future, so let’s make the best of it. AR, as in Modefabriek’s Augmented Reality Arena ‘you should get a hobby, man’, is an exciting addition to the retail experience, and storytelling and complicated information about sustainability can by neatly hidden behind a QR code. Digital technology offers innumerable new layers.
And don’t forget new business models such as LENA the fashion library and Rent-a-Runway, the Reseller market that is expanding much faster than that of new fashion, Subscriptions, Repair, Recycle, Reduce, Reuse…. Just consider the refurbished smartphones success story!
And after vegan food comes vegan fashion, such as the young bag label FRAENCK in the DOTSHOP and vegan patches from sustainable denim labels K.O.I. and Kuyichi.
Plastic is a major challenge: how are we ever going to manage without it? Another priority is saving water. There is a great deal of technology and innovation under development, and who knows, in 10 years’ time, we may even be washing without any water at all!
All a bit too much to take in? Don’t worry. ‘This will be the year of baby steps’, say the trendwatchers. So it’s not about Thinking Big, but just about getting stuck in and seeing what works. Keep it manageable, keep it fun.
How are you embracing change?