Cruise With Us

©Matthias Carette

Digital exposure will bring resilience in 2021

At the end of 2020, Wear the Future created a virtual runway event called Digital Cruise. The show included 20 sustainable brands and 10 activist models and was broadcast on the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s (CFDA) Runway 360 Platform. Directed and edited by Matthias Carette, the Digital Cruise gave viewers a peek into the future of sustainable fashion and technology. Here are some of the shots captured, as well as insight into upcoming fashion technology from Wear the Future’s CEO Annabelle Azadé.

In the United States, retail stores have sharply suffered from the COVID-19 crisis, which was the final nail in the coffin for how we think about traditional shopping.

But what if 2021 was a look into the future of fashion? Since it will take up to four quarters to vaccinate the U.S population, most consumers have switched to online shopping. Even if some of us prefer the touch and the in-person elements to shopping, driving or walking to a store and having a chat with a salesperson, the internet is where our new clients are.

From TikTok to Instagram stores, Facebook marketplace to Shopify services, small businesses have understood that in order to survive, they have to be marketing geniuses on top of being fashion stylists and designers.

There are countless ways to shop online and catch consumers — Etsy, Bebop, Not Just A Label marketplace — and it is interesting to see that some independent designers might have seen the wave a long way before mainstream department and chain stores, who have massive trend budgets.

Luxury brands are said to have performed like no other year. Take Hermès in China, for example, or Tiffany in the United States. Each lockdown’s end brought people back to stores, but for many business leaders, this is not a sustainable way of doing things.

It is time for both big and small companies to come to the realization that resilience is key for 2021.

As Plato would say, the one thing that is for sure is that nothing is. We do not know if we will be able to roam free by the end of this year, if fashion weeks will resume the way they were or if buyers will be able to touch and see before they make orders. We do not know if people will be able to dress up for events or just upgrade their look a little from the stay-at-home/work-from-home legging outfit.

2021 can be the year of healing our industry and hoping for sustainable solutions. I have seen too many small business begging for a like, a save, a comment or a follow on social media. Participating in the digital sphere does save jobs, so just do it. Become resilient. Find inspiration online, and make sure to have a solid online store that can appeal to both physical and digital shoppers.

Because 2021 is a mystery like no other year, we need to approach it with hope for the best. But, maybe more importantly, we need to gear up with sustainable alternatives and digital solutions.