Fashion is one of many industries turned upside down by the COVID-19 crisis. With Men's shows and Couture Week crossed off the calendar, and the promise of a Fashion Month in September growing more elusive, designers small and large have been left to contemplate what's next. Of all the changes in constant consideration, the most frequently questioned has been the fashion calendar, which has run like a high-speed train for decades until, of course, it couldn't. In Gucci's fashion week announcement, creative director Alessandro Michele becomes one of the first major designers to blaze the trail away from the institutionalized schedule, leaving the masses scratching their heads at what, and who, may follow.
Michele's motivation for parting from the decades-old calendar is thus: restore a slower, more intuitive design process. "Above all, we understood we went way too far," starts Michele, who posted his news on Instagram on Sunday. He continued to speak to his issues with the current schedule, including its speed and wastefulness. "At the end of the day, we were out of breath."
In reconnecting with his original inspirations for entering the fashion realm, Michele has stated that he's abandoning "the worn-out ritual of of seasonalities and shows to regain a new cadence, closer to my expressive call." This cadence, as he indicates, involves two showings per year (a steep drop from the five Gucci had previously committed), as well as a deviation from the labels ("pre-fall," "cruise," et cetera) that have long compartmentalized the calendar.
With such a bold departure from the fashion system that so many giants still subscribe to, the greatest question of all seems to be: who's next? With the work stop beginning straight off the heels of the Fall/Winter 2020 season, those at the top have had a few months to reimagine what might make sense for their brands and for the industry as a whole.
Already the British Fashion Council and Council of Fashion Designers of America have united to push for reprioritization and a slower pace. Similarly, a group of designers led by Dries Van Noten have pushed to shift away from the current discount model and to rethink the operations of the industry. While things still lack certitude, Michele reminds us that in the end, one feeling that is surely shared: "Now that we are still apart, my love for fashion burns. Our species, after all, is like that: we love like crazy in the throes of what is missing."