Are we on the eve of a new era? Wars, conflicts and catastrophes are not the only issues that change the way we view our world. There is no question: Digitalisation and globalisation enhance and facilitate our life, yet they also have a fundamental impact on the world. Smartphones make every networking attempt of the past look like a simple prelude. The start-up culture, shareconomy, co-creation, crowdsourcing and swapping, as well as the disruptive business models of international investors have created a completely new kind of economy. Hardly any industry remains unaffected by this change, whether it is the media, infrastructure, hotel business, work processes, shopping and last, but not least, fashion.
There was no fashion industry in the early 1980s, yet each season a new, and often radical, fashion statement appeared on the scene. Today there is a lack of variety in the stores, despite an oversaturation of designers, concepts and brands on the market. Promising young designers seem to appear and die out like shooting stars. Has commerce choked creativity?
At the same time, the on-screen “wow” effect and the distinction thus generated in social networks seems to have become more important than the effect of the fashion on the body. Thanks to the plethora of new communication channels, the power of bloggers and street style photographers large labels are losing significance. The consumer’s appreciation is waning: apparel costs as much as a cup of coffee, and some consumers wear clothes for only half the amount of time spent to make them.
Yet fondness for mass-produced apparel is considered bad taste. Even the shopping mall full of chain stores promotes: “This isn’t mainstream. This is street style.”
The European Fashion Award FASH 2016 with the subject “Change” is searching for visions of a new era. How can fashion react to all these changes? Should there be more adaptation, subversive strategies, or should we dream completely new dreams? Who will ride the wave of change and claim the future?