Wemanage Journal: dataFORMAT_07 — Decolonising Fashion
We continue the monthly appointment with our column, in which we analyze the news and trends that are changing the fashion and luxury industry. An analysis that we carry out thanks to the data provided by the Fashion in Process Research Lab (FiP) of Politecnico di Milano. This month, after having talked extensively about technology in previous episodes, we will deal with a new perspective that is also changing the world of fashion: the focus on issues of inclusiveness. A feeling that unites many young customers and that is beginning to impact the way in which big brands communicate themselves and approach the market: but we are only at the beginning of a cultural revolution destined to change the way we look at the world, and there are many areas where brands should improve and keep in mind.
An interesting fact is that a half of the models for the New York Fashion Week 2022 show by Ay Lelum were Indigenous. This year, the house had 5 Coast Salish models representing their community and culture. The participation of the first all-Indigenous modeling agency Supernaturals in NYFW 2022 also saw various participations in the runway shows of designers like Rebecca Baker, Alicia Designs, Korina Emmerich and Copper Canoe Woman. Still, these are not the only Indigenous fashion houses that are making a presence in the fashion world where there has been a long underrepresentation of Indigenous faces and clothing systems. B. Yellowtail Collective, for example, understood the importance of sustaining Indigenous traditions to preserve their culture. Made up of Native artists and artisans from diverse origins, it fosters economic opportunities for their communities.
Another method to decolonize the fashion industry is to pay attention to the various steps of the supply chain, looking for sectors in which post-colonial inequities and distortions have now settled (but can be dismantled). A perfect example is Seed2Shirt Farmer Enrichment Program, which supplies organic cotton to 12,000 BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) growers, partnering with 350,000 cotton growers in West Africa (Seed2Shirt, 2022) Based in the United States, Seed2Shirt’s apparel promotes ethical and sustainable development, creating a positive social impact by empowering BIPOC cotton farmers, providing them with training and livable wages.
The world is undergoing profound transformation, and the fashion sector can only be the train and vehicle for many future trends. So it is necessary for many brands to change their perspective on the processes they are used to. Questioning the status quo, to improve the future.