While Business of Fashion used uncertain, challenging and disruptive to describe the fashion industry in 2021, the words I hope will describe the decade are accountability and innovation. The last year has been unimaginably difficult and has exposed old and new sources of pain in our society. Organizations have been forced to engage in a degree of introspection that many had avoided in fear of what would be revealed, or worse, indifference to how their operations affected the communities around them.
Fashion in particular has failed its fans in many ways, whether it be in lack of multivariate diversity, cultural appropriation, elitism, treatment of workers or environmental impact. As glamorous as the industry looks from the outside, it is rooted in a long series of hurtful decisions that need to be changed. It is long overdue that every facet of the industry, from designers and retailers to influencers and the media, takes responsibility for their history and creates actionable change. No one should have to feel guilty about supporting an industry that should be about pure love for art and self-expression, though its current state seems to be spreading a contradictory message.
"The future is coming, it just hasn't landed yet."
When I asked a friend currently in the industry for her thoughts on this project, she told me, “The future is coming, it just hasn’t landed yet.” We are living in an era of uncertainty and big questions, and while it’s uncomfortable, it is okay to sit with this inconstancy as long as we are learning from the world around us. There’s no playbook or one-size-fits-all solution to work from, but committing to finding the best framework for the scale of each organization individually is how we push forward. As I said earlier, it has been a defining year to be a young person in the United States, and a fascinating one to be a fan of fashion. So, I’ll close with the hope that the next decade of fashion will live up to the generation that wants to be part of bettering it.