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Sustainability, Flexibility and Social Concern: The New Attitude to Face the Crisis

By Lucia Panzavolta, student of Moodart Fashion School. 

The coronavirus health emergency has changed and will change our lifestyle by imposing itself as a real crisis: this is a fact that cannot be ignored. The fashion industry has confirmed to be one of the most affected sectors but, to the detriment of what we might think, not all brands have reacted the same way.

The case of Vestiaire Collective is quite important as an example of how a firm can go through a crisis in the best way and, most of all, why itwas able to succeed. Vestiaire Collective is a company launched after the 2008 financial crisis, a second-hand fashion marketplace that allows its clients to buy and sell second hand fashion items and vintage pieces. In this period, it has allocated a 59 million loan to transform the fashionindustry into a circular, more sustainable and responsible perspective. Furthermore, it is a social shopping website since the very beginning, so it has a strong digitalized base to reach its target and this has allowed the company to avoid being blocked by the lockdown. These are the goals that pay off, because Vestiaire Collective's sales have increased over the past few months, instead of falling as expected.

On the opposite side there is the experience of H&M and GAP, two fast-fashion chains that have had to close stores and stopped paying rents for the critical situation they are currently in.

From this analysis we can understand how sustainability and digitalization are crucial factors in this new post-coronavirus world. The industry needs to understand how this crisis did not lead to the creation of new goals, but only to the enormous growth of trends that had already emerged previously. First of all, sustainability.

Flexibility, speed and reactivity represent the attitude needed to face the coming months in the best way. Indeed, it is necessary that businesses accelerate progress with sustainable initiatives to be competitive in the market and emerge after the covid-19. It’s obvious that it will be easier for small and medium-sized enterprises to adapt and reshape themselves on this new paradigm than large international companies with long production chains that are not always so transparent to customers.

Consumers said they were very conscious of brand behavior in this period of crisis. Many individuals found themselves in trouble in this very complicated historical moment, and for this reason paying attention to those who have not left their employees behind is inevitable. In this way, the concept of sustainability also includes collective interests that are not concerning just the environment: a rethinking of priorities that will accelerate the importance of social issues. It will also may be easier for consumers to be directed to local shops, thus leading to a triumph of the small-scale companies in search of traceability, transparency, and support for local employment.

We then speak of innovability (innovation and sustainability) that now, more than ever, became a key concept. Innovation is not only technological but above all social, aimed at progress and at the destruction of guidelines and rules used so far in compliance with the paradigms of ethics, social responsibility, sustainability.

This is the direction taken also by Lone Design Club, which has always been concerned about sustainability by welcoming those brands that share these same imperatives. The company organized various meeting to help emerging sustainable brands to face this particular moment: LDC recommends designers, brands, new apps and innovative beauty products. "What's in this week" is an initiative that every week presents the most interesting events which can be an inspiration and an important moment of sharing. In addition, conversations with experts and designers are presented on Lone Design Club’s Youtube channel, to explore leading topics in this delicate phase of transformation and evolution. The plan is to support a community, help to face this storm and have fun along the way.

It could be assumed that in such a difficult time, sustainability could be set aside to resolve other priorities first, but all these factors indicate that sustainability is already one of those priorities, not as an improvement in the quality of life but as a new model of life.

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