*written by Alice Beyer Schuch – September 2019
The well-known fashion fair Who’s Next, which happened between 6-9 September 2019 in Paris, just launched a new area! The salon IMPACT, with the slogan #ActNowForPositiveFashion showcased more than 70 names in its first edition – brands, material suppliers, services, retailers and organizations – beside talks and workshops. Outside, also an area focused on sustainable food and drinks, with music, flash-courses and second-hand tends for the final customer (as we all are…).
It is great to see such a change in the calendar, recognising that starting this conversation is more than necessary.
ISKO was a major supporter, showcasing their last innovations in denim production well-presented through design Collab’s! They had even prepared a USB-stick with all the LCA documents they have conducted for their products. I can’t wait to put my hands and eyes on this material!… Other supporter, Galeries Lafayette, presented their #GoForGood program – which highlights inside store those “good goods”, with a pink sign. Talking with one of the attendees, she said the conversation started around one year ago as an answer for the buzz around sustainability. Nevertheless, they have increased exponentially the product offer and participation of brands, as customer responded incredibly good for “going for good”! Currently, this category already represents around 7% of revenues, without considering the consignment products in store.
Far enough to say, the IMPACT communication left nothing to be desired! All around, on and offline, there were signs and indications pointing to IMPACT. Comparing both, with Impact representing less than 10% of the total area of the whole trade show, I do imagine there was, proportionally, much more efforts put onto divulgating IMPACT than WHO’S NEXT. Thumbs up!
Shadow side, it was at a corner of the fair plant, with direct access to the outside area. But at the entrance, a huge black video installation was placed, creating an unattractive first impression. To be reconsidered for the next season? Or how about placing sustainability at the centre of the fair, literally and physically? Another suggestion could be mixing all brands but highlighting the sustainable ones in the list/map.
The entry-price approach may be also seen as an opportunity to attract new sustainable enthusiasts, once Impact could be accessed for free versus almost €40 to the conventional area. Downsides also to be analysed, I do hope buyers did not considered it as a less important area to be checked, leaving the corridors free for students and new designers, only. I also do not say that all Who’s Next buyers and exhibitors are not care about sustainable practices, but walking aleatory through those many corridors, I only came across two brands with a spark of related information! I hope this group will also increase!
Now, tackling an inconvenient point, Impact lost the chance to introduce itself as high value trade fair. The location was rather an old-fashion cliché of sustainability. While the “normal” WHO’S NEXT area had ivory soft carpet and bright stand divisions, the Impact had bad illumination, got a rough concrete floor, no wall divisions, columns covered with wood and handwritten sentences which rather visually polluted the ambient, and (said to see) low-quality damaged wood furniture which gets far from rustic. I had the opportunity of talking to a WSN director, and she explained me this was part of their approach – considering using carpets and walls would not be as sustainable as not using them! Well, at least she agreed that seeking for a better furniture for the next season would be of support! Fingers crossed!
In 2019, when sustainability is at the front of many fashion discussions, it is a bit sad to see that it is still not possible to connect it with good quality, elegance and cleanness. So, here it is, a little wish from my side: please, take the chancem act NOW for a positive fashion, making it beautifully presented and valorised as it has to be!
At the end of the day, sustainable fashion has higher added value than the conventional fashion, being it a t-shirt or a hand painted silk robe!
Looking forward to seeing the improvements in the next season.