With the coronavirus pandemic putting the brakes on manufacturing and retail activities on hold, European independent designers continue to work from home on their next collections.

Here, in the third part of a series on independent designers and how they are facing the crisis, creatives in Milan, Paris, London and Berlin discuss with WWD the status of their deliveries, what they expect from the near future, how they maintain an optimistic mood, and how they think consumers’ habits will change after the pandemic.

Glenn Martens, Y/Project

Glenn Martens

Glenn Martens  Alfredo Piola/WWD

What’s the status of your spring and fall collections, extent of cancellations and forecast for the seasons? For fall 2020, we managed to stay flat. I had 25 percent of our women’s customers who canceled orders, but men’s was our best-selling collection so far, which made up for it. Now we are working on men’s and pre-collection for June. We are still in the design process. The whole question mark is how are we presenting it?

How many people do you employ, and what changes have you had to make so far? No changes. We are around 20 people in total, and we are six in the studio. Right now, our chief executive officer would say we are at the right turnover we need to pay our employees. We will see in June if everything will have flattened out.

How are you approaching future seasons differently? What kind of production and delivery cadence makes sense to you and why? The brief I gave to the design team is a little less complicated. People definitely look to us for complex patternmaking and construction, and we won’t be able to develop that as much as we can’t meet for fittings and are designing mostly through sketches.

Your best advice for staying positive? After two weeks in confinement, you’re forced to be more attentive to the small things we take for granted, the simple things in life that can bring you joy: like opening your windows in Paris and enjoying the view and feeling the air being fresh. Hopefully when September fashion week comes up, we’ll all be a bit more chill.

Thoughts on how dressing and consuming habits will change after the crisis? I think it’s going back to what fashion used to be about: creativity, honesty and innovation. Design-wise, I think things were moving in that direction already precrisis: a little bit more authentic and a bit more real. Logo-mania was going away. It’s refreshing to be obliged to think differently about the system and how you are going to work going forward.

 

Giuliano Calza, GCDS

Giuliano Calza, creative director of GCDS.

Giuliano Calza, creative director of GCDS.  Ragazzi nei Paraggi/Courtesy Photo

What’s the status of your spring and fall collections, extent of cancellations and forecast for the seasons? At the moment, it’s almost impossible [to work] as we manufacture everything in Italy and fabrics, too, are not being delivered. Also, all communication activities are frozen for the time being.

How many people do you employ, and what changes have you had to make so far? We’re about 50 employees, including the staff of directly operated retail units. The Italian team has been smart working for three weeks and we’re also evaluating wage support [measures].

How are you approaching future seasons differently? What kind of production and delivery cadence makes sense to you and why? Strategically we never wanted to introduce pre-collections because it didn’t feel right for us, as the market is saturated with clothes and given the strong investments we made in online commerce, where hype comes from small and often sold-out drops. Starting this year, the main collection is released through multiple drops in line with the communication [strategy].

Your best advice for staying positive? @Mustafathepoet is one of my closest friends, a musician, composer and creative individual. After a few weeks in quarantine, his points of view are those I found myself considering the most.

What kind of help do you need the most right now, from whom, and why? What about three months from now? The government should undoubtedly acknowledge that fashion is not only about people producing runway shows, but that it’s one of the greatest Italian businesses. The fashion landscape will change, and there will also be positive aspects to it. Probably it will shape up as a real community to collaborate, support, exploit and create a safety net for those companies that are suffering… we will all need a new, slower and longer-term [business] plan, manageable and sustainable.

Thoughts on how dressing and consuming habits will change after the crisis? I see that GCDS customers look for lasting products. We have tripled sales of items over 300 euros and our wholesale accounts pick products that are averagely more expensive. I believe this crisis will change fast fashion, a scalable business that risks failing and losing millions if its growth is not linear and consistent.…From a social point of view, I think allowing the Indian and other [manufacturing] hubs to continue operating is cruel, as people are deprived of everything and are paid only 21 rupees for two weeks. What kind of world are we living in?

Sara Battaglia

Sara Battaglia

Sara Battaglia  Courtesy of Sara Battaglia

What’s the status of your spring and fall collections, extent of cancellations and forecast for the seasons? Thanks to our Made in Italy and quite short supply chain, we managed to deliver the whole summer collections before suppliers and clients were forced to shut down. For the winter season, we will collaborate with our clients to decide what to actually produce. I think that if clients will receive the fall collections when it makes sense to display them in the stores, rather than in May, I think it’s going to be even better and healthier.

How many people do you employ, and what changes have you had to make so far? We have less than ten employees. So far, we tried to take advantage of the potentials of smart working as much as we could and when productivity dropped we asked our employees to use their paid holiday days.

How are you approaching future seasons differently? What kind of production and delivery cadence makes sense to you and why? We are considering to set up digital showrooms, trunks shows, online line sheets and video calls. It might be smart to return to a more traditional schedule creating less collections, but  I think it will be crucial to preserve special moments during the year to physically meet, talk and discuss.

Your best advice for staying positive? One of my favorite quote is “Good manners are never passé,” as Slim Aarons used to say. Good manners will never be out of fashion. Calm, kindness and elegance are values which I try to inject into my idea of fashion and beauty, also in 2020 and in the Instagram age which never sleeps.

What kind of help do you need the most right now, from whom, and why? What about three months from now? It would be great if the government should start giving clear directions and offering concrete solutions, as well as giving an indication of a possible end of the lockdown.

Thoughts on how dressing and consuming habits will change after the crisis? I think that color and happiness should be seen as safe-haven assets. I hope that joie de vivre and the desire of feeling beautiful will be stronger than ever, and I wish there will be a deeper respect for both the environment and people.   

Sebastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant, Coperni 

Arnaud Vaillant and Sébastien Meyer

Arnaud Vaillant and Sébastien Meyer  Courtesy of Coperni

What’s the status of your spring and fall collections, extent of cancellations and forecast for the seasons? Spring 2020 is almost 100 percent delivered and fall 2020 will go into production as soon as our factories reopen. We’ve had the chance to make a strong first Coperni show during last Paris Fashion Week that was very well received by press and buyers. We have had a more than satisfactory market against the odds. We have had some disappointments, with some key retailers having to cancel some orders for the upcoming fall 2020 collection. However, we have opened new amazing partners including Totokaelo, Tsum and MyTheresa, to name a few, which we are very proud about. And we are fortunate to have recently launched our own e-commerce store at Coperni.fr, so people will be able to buy directly from us. 

How are you approaching future seasons differently? What kind of production and delivery cadence makes sense to you and why? There are things that should have stopped earlier such as mini trends, overproduction, rhythm of seasons, etc. So this will be a new chapter for everyone. Hopefully people will reopen soon and keep the spring 2020 collection in store, slightly moving the period of sales to a more logical period linked to the weather and to people’s desires.

Your best advice for staying positive? “Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” This is exactly the spirit we are in right now. We are staying positive and productive despite uncertainty. Take this difficult situation as an opportunity.

What kind of help do you need the most right now, from whom, and why? What about three months from now? We have the chance to work with Tomorrow and especially Stefano Martinetto, who is very involved and supportive in these difficult times. Our partnership is protecting us from the downside and cash flow disaster that unfortunately many of our friends will face. The French government has also set up some precious helps.

What are your thoughts on how dressing and consuming habits will change after the crisis? I guess this period will be enriching for the fashion industry. At least I hope. There are the terrible human and financial aspects, of course, but we believe that fashion is about cycles, trends, society, and that it will be a brand new chapter for all of us.

Benjamin Huseby and Serhat Isik, GmbH

Benjamin Huseby and Serhat Isik

Benjamin Hus<strong>eby and Serhat Isik</strong>  Courtesy of GmbH

What’s the status of your spring and fall collections, extent of cancellations and forecast for the seasons? We unfortunately have huge amounts of cancellations and delays in payments on SS20. Essentially, goods were ready to ship, and already an expense for us. We are working closely with shops to find solutions that work both ways to alleviate the losses. There is a lot of solidarity going around. But sadly, there are also some big accounts who totally take advantage of the situation, even ones that get support from the government.

How many people do you employ, and what changes have you had to make so far? Due to cancellations and fixed dates for our SS21 show and market, we have put our employees on a two-week paid holiday until we have revised the AW20 orders.

How are you approaching future seasons differently? What kind of production and delivery cadence makes sense to you and why? We have always felt that the drop schedules were off, like delivering puffer jackets in June. So we will for sure implement it to be more in tune with the seasons as of now.

Your best advice for staying positive? Take breaks. Breathe. Go for walks if you can. This crisis is changing how we live our lives forever, and it’s not only about business.

What kind of help do you need the most right now, from whom, and why? What about three months from now? We need the fashion community to work more together for this to work. We need to have a platform to exchange ideas, and have more influence on how governing bodies, like the French fashion federation, can help us. Right now, the German government is already helping a bit through the emergency aid measures with immediate running costs, but much more is needed.

Thoughts on how dressing and consuming habits will change after the crisis? We actually hope they will change dramatically, for the good of our planet. Fashion has the potential to be so much more than just consumption. GmbH is primarily about creativity and communities, and we will focus even more on this. People will still want to have beauty in their lives.

 

Simone Rizzo and Loris Messina, Sunnei 

Loris Messina and Simone Rizzo

Loris Messina and Simone Rizzo  Courtesy of Sunnei

What’s the status of your spring and fall collections, extent of cancellations and forecast for the seasons? We are aware that the current situation is extremely complex and constantly evolving, but in keeping with our brand’s ethos, we stay positive, working to achieve the goals we had set, even if these are necessarily revised day by day. As for sales, our primary channel is e-commerce, which is fully operational. Regarding retailers, we wait for the reopening of all our clients to implement a strong communication strategy on social media and in terms of events.

How many people do you employ, and what changes have you had to make so far? The team includes 16 collaborators who are working from home at the moment. The design team is carrying out the creation of the new collection; the communication guys follow the brand’s social media, while our store’s team is working to process online orders.

How are you approaching future seasons differently? What kind of production and delivery cadence makes sense to you and why? As soon as we noticed the first signs that the situation could have worsened, we developed a strategy to avoid stopping. It is a new sales model, which we are developing in detail. The launch is scheduled for June for both B2B for press and buyers and B2C for our top customers.

Your best advice for staying positive? We are trying to spread Sunnei’s positive spirit to our community through a project [developed] on various media, ranging from Instagram to Spotify. We asked international artists and creative friends, from different fields, who are experiencing the lockdown like us, to express their creativity freely and spontaneously.

What kind of help do you need the most right now, from whom, and why? What about three months from now? We feel the need for positivity and we would like the interest and support for independent brands like Sunnei to be strengthened, as we have decided not to abandon our projects, continuing to work and develop ideas despite the difficult period.

Thoughts on how dressing and consuming habits will change after the crisis? We have always thought that the old system was unsustainable for the pace it demanded to whoever wanted to continue being part of the game. This moment will undoubtedly serve to reestablish the priorities to focus on, which is something we have always insisted on with Sunnei focusing on what is timeless, valuable and of quality.

 

Levi Palmer and Matthew Harding,  Palmer Harding

Levi Palmer and Matthew Harding

Levi Palmer and Matthew Harding  Courtesy of Palmer Harding

What’s the status of your spring and fall collections, extent of cancellations and forecast for the seasons? Our current plans are to shift to a digital showroom for the Spring 2021 June market for any of our major retailers who have an appetite to buy. This collection will be for a January delivery and will be a tight and strategic edit. We will continue to sell this collection through October fashion market which, by that point, will have resumed some form of normality.

How many people do you employ, and what changes have you had to make so far? We employ 12 people, some who have children, we have had to put all but three people on furlough. The three people who are working have taken up to 40 percent cuts in salary.

How are you approaching future seasons differently? What kind of production and delivery cadence makes sense to you and why? Hopefully, this is an opportunity for retailers and brands alike to re-educate their consumer and really look at how they are delivering goods appropriate to the season and letting those goods sell for the appropriate amount of time before discounting. By realigning the seasons, we may find that collections return to a more season-appropriate design offering. I think this has been the problem with pre-COVID-19 collection presentations – the seasons never really aligned to the delivery so the message was always confused.

Your best advice for staying positive? We are young and talented boys and we will land on our feet no matter what.

What kind of help do you need the most right now, from whom, and why? What about three months from now? We need retailers to not place pressure on smaller brands and to ask their brands who have larger cash reserves (Kering, LVMH, Richemont, etc.) to weigh the burden of this pandemic so that the entire industry of small brands is not decimated, with talent and options for fashion lost. The unfortunate situation is that many of the largest retailers are trying to force consignment or up to 120-day payment terms on small brands for AW20 and SS21 seasons. This means the impact that we feel could continue into next year and the likelihood of closure due to retailer pressure is very high. We also need landlords to reduce or forgo rents temporarily and we need banks to offer unsecured loans based on business models and a realistic opportunity to survive this crisis rather than cash flow projections and assets.

Jane Lewis, Goat

Jane Lewis

Jane Lewis  Courtesy of Goat

What’s the status of your spring and fall collections, extent of cancellations and forecast for the seasons? At this stage we can only prepare for the worse-case scenario. This spring/winter are obviously going to be very challenging – a furlough of sorts. Looking ahead to spring 2021, we will be presenting a very tightly edited collection indeed.

 How many people do you employ, and what changes have you had to make so far? We employ 25 people and have furloughed as many staff as we can during this period. We have retained the full-time services of our web/distribution team, however.

How are you approaching future seasons differently? What kind of production and delivery cadence makes sense to you and why? Goat leans towards a slow fashion model in any event, albeit we present and deliver four collections a year. We aim to continue in the same vein going forward. We do not facilitate monthly collections/ diffusion ranges, like some bigger companies.

 Your best advice for staying positive? At the end of the day, there is no other option but to show leadership – be pragmatic, calm, compassionate and move forward. I try to keep everything in perspective. That keeps me positive.

What kind of help do you need the most right now, from whom, and why? What about three months from now? We have approached our landlords to seek rent/(business taxes) relief, halted any and all outstanding production and deliveries, whilst honoring any outstanding payments. We are in close contact with our key wholesale accounts and hope they, too, honor their invoice obligations.We have taken an incredibly firm grip on our cash flow and of course we have approached our bank. Basically we are streamlining our operation – essentially holding our breath until this time passes. Three months from now I hope we can begin to revert back to some kind of normality. My team at Goat are like a family and we will step up to the new challenges ahead stronger and importantly — together.

 

Arthur Arbesser

Arthur Arbesser

Arthur Arbesser  Courtesy of Arthur Arbesser/DennisonBertram

What’s the status of your spring and fall collections, extent of cancellations and forecast for the seasons? The fall 2020 collection suffered very much from cancelled orders. But I must say personal orders of the large group of loyal private customers definitely helped us a lot this time. I’m actually happily working on spring 2021 from home at the moment with lots of print ideas spread out on my living room floor and lots of face-time meetings with my team.

How many people do you employ, and what changes have you had to make so far? We are a tiny team: it’s me and three employees who have been with me since years. And then we always have two Erasmus exchange interns from fashion colleges around Europe.

How are you approaching future seasons differently? What kind of production and delivery cadence makes sense to you and why? My structure is small and we can handle two collections a year. I never did pre-collections and I will certainly keep it that way since we also work on other fashion consultancies and stage-costume projects. Now more than ever it’s clear that less is more, that it’s about quality, about identity, a story, emotions and not about more products. The plan for the future is to make well edited, small collections with different and fun ways of communicating them: all those thoughts actually feel invigorating and very exciting.

Your best advice for staying positive? The fact that the air is fresh and I can hear birds singing all day long for the first time in 15 years living in Milan: this I perceive as beautiful, inspiring and positive right now.

What kind of help do you need the most right now, from whom, and why? What about three months from now? Of course the financial instability and insecurity is the biggest issue. Especially now with some buyers canceling their fall 2020 orders you start to panic a bit. So what we very much need right now are loyal shops that you can trust and make up a plan together.

Thoughts on how dressing and consuming habits will change after the crisis? I sincerely hope that even more people will start to care properly about quality, fabrics, manufacturing, and that we all repair our clothes more instead of throwing them away. Some friends in quarantine started to fix the holes in their socks – brilliant!

 

Melissa Morris, Métier

Melissa Morris

Melissa Morris  Courtesy of Métier

What’s the status of your spring and fall collections, extent of cancellations and forecast for the seasons? I am fortunate because Métier is timeless and season-less so I did not have to cancel collections and I have not invested in prints or products that would need to be shelved due to seasonality.  That said, of course I am majorly feeling the effects.  As we produce 100 percent of our pieces in Italy, our spring and fall production is delayed until later in the year.  This means I cannot ship and invoice in line with what we had expected for the year, which of course has a huge knock-on effect as revenue forecasts are tied to the year’s cost lines you have signed up to.  

How many people do you employ, and what changes have you had to make so far? I have ten people on my team.  While day-to-day business has been paused, we are moving full speed with some key initiatives we had wanted to achieve this year.  We were fortunate enough to be selected as finalist for the British Fashion Council/ Vogue Designer Fashion Fund.  As part of the selection process, about a month ago, we had to present a business plan to the panel, so we’re already clear on what we wanted to achieve for the year.

How are you approaching future seasons differently? What kind of production and delivery cadence makes sense to you and why? Rather than offer four or five color variations per style, I decided to edit down to the two or three absolute favorites. I have always been a minimalist in many ways, but I think this whole situation has made me even more aware than ever of the importance of focusing.  

What kind of help do you need the most right now, from whom, and why? What about three months from now? I was terrified at first. I did not know how we could possibly weather this storm.  A wave of relief poured over me as [Chancellor of the Exchequer] Rishi Sunak unveiled the U.K. government’s plan to support us. I spent virtually all of last week mapping out a plan of how we can pause cost lines that are not adding value while moving full steam ahead on what can be done during this time. The only issue now is that we are waiting for the various government relief packages to become available.  

Thoughts on how dressing and consuming habits will change after the crisis? I have always believed in quality over quantity in everything that I do. I think this will be a view shared by more people after the crisis.  I also think it could be a really strong opportunity for the industry as a whole.  

 

Kevin Germanier 

Kevin Germanier

Kevin Germanier  Courtesy Photo

What’s the status of your spring and fall collections, extent of cancellations and forecast for the seasons? I have been lucky enough that so far our partners have been loyal to us and they are very aware of the situation and understanding.

How many people do you employ, and what changes have you had to make so far? As for now, we just want to make sure that everyone working for Germanier is safe and healthy. We did not have to make any changes yet and we are staying optimistic that our sales will secure our current teams. We are also producing in Shanghai, and our trusted factory has been tested by the Chinese government and has been working for one week now since everything is clear and safe.

How are you approaching future seasons differently? What kind of production and delivery cadence makes sense to you and why? I do feel like that this situation is only reinforcing the fact that upcycling and sustainability are the future for every business. Germanier is very transparent and we always produced in a slow way. We are also always adapting our products and window delivery to our retailers. It is more work, but I do think it makes more sense to take the time to talk with the retailers and buyers about what is the best for both ends.

Your best advice for staying positive? As a workaholic, I am realizing that taking the time to talk to your loved ones, friends and family and appreciate the life you have is extremely important. Also, when calling them, distract them and let’s not talk only about the virus. You have to cheer them up and bring them joy in this hard time.

What kind of help do you need the most right now, from whom, and why? What about three months from now? I am still devastated to see people not respecting the rules and not wearing masks or gathering en masse. As hard as it is to quarantine, you can save lives. I could say something about my business, but I sincerely am thinking that right now we need each other on a human level and not business and money all the time.

Thoughts on how dressing and consuming habits will change after the crisis? I strongly believe that people will get back the joy of dressing up. After spending two, three, four months in sweatpants, I am predicting a glorious optimism in the way people dress.

 

Vivetta Ponti, Vivetta 

Vivetta Ponti

Vivetta Ponti 

What’s the status of your spring and fall collections, extent of cancellations and forecast for the seasons? The [resort and spring] collections had already been designed in January and partially elaborated successively. We are developing  strategies with our licensee Gilmar to define a new timing and new formats for the upcoming presentations. The problem in the fashion industry is quite wide and involves a range of collections, from the spring 2020 now in the stores that has no chance to perform and the fall 2020 that has not performed as much as it should have, to the resort 2021 in development but now stopped, at least for its production part. Therefore there will certainly be repercussions on revenues, but we are trying to do everything possible by working also on this front, as showrooms are developing new ways of presenting the collections and we aim to release the resort 2021 collection around late June.

How many people do you employ, and what changes have you had to make so far? Our team has not undergone any change, it has always maintained its compactness and dynamism, even in the last few weeks, by communicating every day. We are currently smart working and we are trying to carry on the projects through video calls and WhatsApp.

How are you approaching future seasons differently? What kind of production and delivery cadence makes sense to you and why? For sure something has changed in the minds of all of us. Collections should have more energy, be more engaging to stimulate the market. We will have to find new and more contemporary languages, in sync with the real demand and the topics to which society is more sensitive today. We should not limit ourselves to think only about production and delivery cadences, therefore keeping up with the pace — which is often too hectic — but now more than ever we have to reflect on what we want to present and what message we want to spread.

Your best advice for staying positive? Listening to music.

What kind of help do you need the most right now, from whom, and why? What about three months from now? The first aid will have to come from institutions. I believe the whole industry needs to harmonize with current times and to finally structure itself and become a “system,” to be both more compact and to offer new synergies between the various parts in the supply chain. There is a need for support to manufacturing companies in terms of costs, for promotion of the “Made in Italy,” all executed with extreme cohesion and a proactive approach. The fashion system must be protected even by fashion’s big names, which should support smaller brands right now, maybe creating co-branding synergies.

Thoughts on how dressing and consuming habits will change after the crisis? The occasions of use will probably change and I also believe that we will get increasingly closer to a more ethical, transparent and sustainable fashion industry.

 

Balthazar Delepierre, cofounder of Ester Manas 

Balthazar Delepierre and Ester Manas

Balthazar Delepierre and Ester Manas  Courtesy pf Ester Manas

What’s the status of your spring and fall collections, extent of cancellations and forecast for the seasons? We delivered quite early. All of our spring deliveries have been paid as agreed, so we haven’t seen any payment cancellations, which is good news. As far as the fall collection is concerned, our usual clients have maintained their orders but there have been a lot of cancellations from the new accounts we gained through the LVMH Prize or our showroom in Paris this season. For the time being, we don’t really have visibility on any hurdles ahead, because we’re adapting in real time. It had been a long time since we had almost nothing else to do than design, and that’s both strange and fun.

How many people do you employ, and what changes have you had to make so far? It’s just the two of us, with the odd intern. Usually, we find we’re short-staffed, but in a situation like this, we’re realizing that being a small, relatively young company is probably what’s going to allow us to survive the crisis, because we’re not really dependent on external resources.

How are you approaching future seasons differently? What kind of production and delivery cadence makes sense to you and why? As a small brand, our current rhythm suits us because it allows us to be quite flexible. But it does raise questions about what kind of growth we want going forward. If we were to grow our team and take on larger orders, that might be hard to maintain in the future. With the LVMH Prize, we also have opportunities to freelance for other brands that want to explore a more sustainable approach. We’re starting to think that creating your own brand is perhaps not the most sustainable approach. There are lots of existing brands that want to do things, so why not work with them? That’s something we’re strongly considering right now.

Your best advice for staying positive? The French National Audiovisual Institute (INA) has posted a lot of clips from the Sixties on YouTube focusing on attitudes towards women, and the relationship between men and women. Watching those in confinement is a real eye opener and it feels strangely good.

What kind of help do you need the most right now, from whom, and why? What about three months from now? We’re a French brand, even if Ester and I live in Brussels, so if we get any help it will be from the French government. We’re in close contact with the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode so that’s quite reassuring. But the most helpful thing at this point would be for retailers to confirm their orders.

What are your thoughts on how dressing and consuming habits will change after the crisis? We don’t know if people are going to change, but our products are already one-size-fits-all, made with deadstock fabrics. We hope this makes our sustainable approach even more relevant. Fashion needs to change, coronavirus or not. It simply can’t continue as before, so we hope this will sustain those efforts.

 

Spencer Phipps 

Spencer Phipps

Spencer Phipps  Courtesy of Spencer Phipps

What’s the status of your spring and fall collections, extent of cancellations and forecast for the seasons? Fall 2020 was in production before the whole shutdown and will resume once factories are open. Aside from a few fabric delays, we don’t anticipate any major issues. Our spring 2021 collection was launched at the beginning of March, so we are now just finishing up some print artworks and managing the development with the factories, which is very lucky for us. We work a lot in Italy, so many manufacturers are closed and it’s a bit uncertain when samples will be ready, but we have still been receiving some prototypes (even this week) so it seems to be moving, albeit quite slowly.

How many people do you employ, and what changes have you had to make so far?  We are three full-time. I have put my two employees on partial government aid and we are all working remotely for now.

How are you approaching future seasons differently? What kind of production and delivery cadence makes sense to you and why?  We have scaled back on most new developments for spring 2021 to focus on our core products and building on the existing brand structure. We will be more cautious about adding new product categories going forward and focusing a lot more of our energy on our Gold Label vintage program. One question I keep having is that, as fashion week is cancelled and the normal schedule of working no longer really applies, are we more free to present and deliver our collections as we want?

Your best advice for staying positive? We cannot control this situation but we can control how we treat ourselves. I try every day to push myself in ways that I might not have done in the past, simple activities like stretching, meditation, or focusing more on nutrition. If I feel good in my body I feel much more prepared for any situation and it’s much easier to stay positive.

What kind of help do you need the most right now, from whom, and why? What about three months from now? I think the most helpful thing would be to keep an open dialogue with everyone in the industry, to be open and honest with each other. I would love to talk to as many people as possible and just get as much advice as possible on our strategy moving forward. I think the industry will need to come together as a community to make it through this, otherwise it will disintegrate.

What are your thoughts on how dressing and consuming habits will change after the crisis? It’s actually a very exciting time. During this moment of uncertainty and self-reflection we are all in a unique position to stop and truly create a new future. Together we can decide what luxury means in a post COVID-19 culture — and I think this will change dramatically. We cannot go back to the way we were. I think that people will be more focused on making meaningful purchases and buying with purpose. Sustainability and practicality will be non-negotiable, and the concept of glamour will shift to something new and perhaps more personal. It is really the start of a new era.

 

Martina Grasselli, Coliac

Martina Grasselli

Martina Grasselli 

What’s the status of your spring and fall collections, extent of cancellations and forecast for the seasons? The orders of the latest campaigns haven’t been modified so far. Luckily, we started selling pre-collections in December and the first part of the campaign closed in a positive way. But then we lost more orders in February and March since we had to interrupt sales and some buyers skipped Paris. Even if I’m usually very positive, I feel quite worried because when the emergency is over the sales in the stores are expected to be slow and they will have a lot of unsold items. This might have a negative impact on the future sales campaign because buyers will be much more cautious.

How are you approaching future seasons differently? I already delivered the designs for the spring 2021 collection, but the manufacturing companies are currently closed so I just have to wait to see the first prototypes. I designed a smaller and simpler collection, with a big focus on offering competitive prices, without renouncing the brand’s DNA.

What kind of production and delivery cadence makes sense to you and why?  It’s a moment for introspection and I haven’t imagined or found the right formula yet. I think that for my brand it would make sense to return to produce two collections a year. Everything got too fast and the rush we fell into is not helping creativity, quality and uniqueness. Nowadays, designers are always busy launching new collections and the requests we get are for products with lower and lower prices and a very standardized style.

Your best advice for staying positive? Despite we are worried and a bit anxious, we should try to enjoy this suspended time, trying to understand what makes us really happy and satisfied. Make lists of things to do, dream big, surround yourself with beautiful words.

What kind of help do you need the most right now, from whom, and why? What about three months from now? Despite the current situation, what I would love for myself is a tight-knit team, supporting me and enabling me to have more time to dedicated to the creation of my collections. I hope to be able to invest in communication, marketing and social media.

Thoughts on how dressing and consuming habits will change after the crisis? I hope that consumers will return to make more conscious purchases, based on product’s culture and quality.

 

Eudon Choi

Eudon Choi

Eudon Choi  Courtesy of Eudon Choi

What’s the status of your spring and fall collections, extent of cancellations and forecast for the seasons? We shipped most of the spring collection a month before the delivery window closes. A few stores had to postpone the shipment due to coronavirus. We are still waiting for some store’s payment but it is uncertain as these stores are closed currently. We do have quite good Italian customers who have been badly affected as well as Middle Easterns. We are probably down by 50 percent compared to our usual fall season. We also feel lucky we did pre-fall for the first time and we captured deposit payments.

How many people do you employ, and what changes have you had to make so far? There are five of us. The office has been closed for the past ten days and we have been working from home. So far we have been very busy with admin-heavy tasks due to literally everyday receiving cancellations of fall 2020 orders. We will have to review the resort collection and how we are going to make and how we are going to present.

How are you approaching future seasons differently? What kind of production and delivery cadence makes sense to you and why? Currently, all the Italian mills are closed — closure has been extended to Easter so we cannot even order resort sampling materials. We are currently making 80 percent of samples in our London studio. It is a possibility to go to Korea to create samples.

Your best advice for staying positive? I stopped drinking for almost three years but now I am back and drinking port every night. It helps. I feel I have been listening more to news than focusing on staying positive.

What kind of help do you need the most right now, from whom, and why? What about three months from now? Vaccine! Please let this disease go away! Other than that, we probably need the securities of the orders we received without the payment. Some sort of enforcement to get stores to pay their orders, as the biggest challenge will be a cash flow.

Thoughts on how dressing and consuming habits will change after the crisis? Difficult to say. Part of me thinks people will go for a totally happy vibe with lots of colors. The other part of me thinks people also might go for a somber/practical vibe.

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