Now that we are gradually emerging from the coronavirus crisis, the fashion world is once again facing the future with optimism. But what does the near future have in store for the industry? What trends and movements can we expect? In our ‘Crystal Gazing’ feature, we put this question to Dutch fashion researchers. For you to take note.
We kick off with Hanka van der Voet, researcher at the ArtEZ Fashion Professorship, founder of the independent, critical fashion magazine Press & Fold and fashion platform Warehouse.
"This generation questions existing systems, tugs and jostles them, and if they are not happy with what they’re told, they look for an alternative."
Hanka van der Voet: ‘The young generation will bring about change, also for and in the fashion industry. Take the racism debate, for example: that’s an apt reflection of just how ‘woke’ this generation is. This generation questions existing systems, tugs and jostles them, and if they are not happy with what they’re offered, they look for their own solution.
Generation Z and their predecessors – the millennials – are outspoken. As a result, political clothing – e.g. face masks featuring the text I can’t breathe, or a T-shirt with a political statement – are set to hit the streets. However, this generation also guards against the message being commodified. If the company behind the political statement manufactures the clothing in questionable conditions, this news spreads like wildfire on social media. The young generation is adept at joining forces and uses social media as a tool to bring abuses to light. @Diet_Prada (2.1 million followers), aka the ‘fashion watchdog’ is an apt example of an Instagram account that exposes abuses in the industry, and that symbolises a new generation of critical consumers.
Fashion labels cannot afford not to take responsibility for the reverse side of the industry. If a brand’s message is not aligned with their actions, this generation is onto it in a flash. They are averse to hierarchy and the capitalistic system. If you ask them, pollution and cheap labour are simply not done in this day and age.
In a nutshell: if the young generation has the idea that words are not backed up by actions, you can expect an intervention. New consumers will not stop buying clothes, but will constantly ask themselves: who am I giving my money to? What does the company receiving my money stand for? To end on a positive note: the world is not black and white, and neither is the fashion industry. You need to think in gradations. As a company, how can you do business as transparently and ethically as possible? The answer to this question is the future’.