Li Edelkoort’s ‘Anti-Fashion’ Manifesto | Podcasts

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When trend forecaster Li Edelkoort first published a manifesto called “Anti-Fashion” in 2015, people across the fashion industry told her that her critique had finally put how they felt into words.

“Fashion is old-fashioned,” said Edelkoort. But she believes the system can evolve to fit today’s reality and regain the cultural value it has lost over the years.

On the latest episode of The BoF Podcast, we revisit Edelkoort’s talk on the BoF VOICES stage in 2016. Her timely and applicable ideas will be more relevant in 2021, as the world emerges form a pandemic that forced it to reevaluate all aspects of its system, values, and place in society.

Fashion’s tendency towards individualism, which sees the industry place near-exclusive focus on the creator, doesn’t fit with today’s society, which is “hungry for consensus and altruism,” said Edelkoort. The problem stems in part from fashion schools, which, for the most part, have not updated their curriculum to reflect the current issues plaguing the industry.

The race to the bottom regarding prices is destroying fashion’s cultural value as well as harming garment workers. “How can a product that needs to be sewn, grown, harvested, combed, spun, knitted, cut and stitched, finished, printed, labeled, packaged and transported cost a couple of euros? It’s impossible,” said Edelkoort. She suggested that minimum prices be implemented as a starting point.

To make retail more efficient and better present to customers, it is necessary to reinvent the retail experience. Edelkoort mentions Dover Street Market’s curated approach, which sets it apart among traditional department stores. “Everything we do is from the 20th century. Even concept stores and online commerce were from the last moments of the 20th century,” said Edelkoort.

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