12 May 2020

What is the new normal in fashion?

On 1 May 2020, Professor Dilys Williams presented at the webinar The New Normal, together with Fashion Roundtable’s Tamara Cincik (CEO), Jodi Muter Hamilton (Communications Director) and Karen Binns (Fashion Director).

Dilys discussed how the ‘New Normal’ may look like for creatives in a post-Covid19 era as fashion and textile industries will be hit hard by loss of sales due to store closures, disrupted supply chains, inventory misalignment, change in consumer sentiment and labour crisis. She spoke about how small UK businesses and creative designers are moving forward to a local and social industrial change.

“We need to have big systems change now by following small business examples, as the system of local supply chains and under-valued labour had been broken for a very long time” – Professor Dilys Williams

Key messages

  • Recognise small businesses and creative designers to bring manufacturing locally
  • Pause and reassess the opportunities for a better creative society
  • Use your decision-making power to change mindsets around fast fashion
  • Align yourself with creatives who are making a change in sustainable practices
  • Highlight your brand story and experience to educate people rather than selling a product

Three patterns to make and break in the ‘New Normal’ 

  1. Beauty and aesthetics: Honour the real beauty and get a better understanding of skills and crafts involved in each garment
  2. Close bond with nature: Have a close connection with the nature around you, live with and be respectful to it
  3. Less reliance on money: The real economy is love and care for others

Professor Williams is a lead researcher in BFTT’s Challenge 3: Sustainable industrial strategies for business and innovation, and the Director of the Centre for Sustainable Fashion at UAL.

Challenge 3 aims to map sustainability standards using R&D as a mechanism to capture, evaluate and educate practice and design in fashion and textiles industries. It is a partnership between UAL, University of Cambridge and ASOS.