The coming of a new year is always a good time for self-reflection, whether personal or involving an entire industry, and the Council of Fashion Designers of America CFDA has offered up some resolutions for the whole fashion world to aspire to in 2019.
The CFDA, an industry group comprised of more than 500 of the United States’ best designers, has released a new batch of fashion resolutions each January for the last few years. The resolutions often focus on the major issues of the time, offering a criticism of the industry along with some positive energy to spur forth change.
Last year’s resolutions included Growth, Being, Exposure, Inclusivity and Mindfulness. The year before, the CFDA suggested Creativity, Health, Philanthropy, Diversity, More Made in the U.S.A and Sustainability as the most important initiatives to follow in 2017. For 2019, CFDA says the industry should focus on Diversity and Inclusion, Sustainability, Body Positivity and Equality.
Here’s a look at what the CFDA had to say about each issue and how Sourcing Journal and Rivet covered these topics over the past year:
Diversity and Inclusion
Diversity in the fashion industry, especially in the United States, has always been an area that could use improvement. The CFDA, itself, gathered a panel of top industry executives in October to see where the industry is on the issue and where it should go from here.
“American fashion and the global industry have been slow to embrace diversity but this is the time to create meaningful change,” the group said. “The CFDA is committed to diversity and inclusion and we will work on programs to implement more paths for all people–regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation and more.”
There were a few bright spots for diversity in 2018, like H&M’s “Denim for All” initiative, which included a collection of denim jeans, jackets, dresses and accessories. The collection was marketed internationally with a diverse group of influencers including Adonis Bosso, Anaïs Gallagher and Suki Waterhouse.
Sustainability was a major topic in fashion in 2018 and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. Brands everywhere stopped solely searching for the cheapest needle and focused much more on longevity over the past year. However, there is still plenty of work to be done.
“We have programs guided by sustainability, among them the CFDA + Lexus Fashion Initiative and Elaine Gold Launch Pad. Now, we’re ready to add another facet toward a more sustainable fashion industry,” the CFDA explained. “This month, we’re launching a comprehensive guide to sustainability for people in fashion, which will include a materials index, sustainability directory and toolkit.” CFDA said the toolkit will be available in short order.
Sustainability also took center stage during London Fashion Week Men’s over the weekend. Christopher Raeburn, a designer whose brand’s core values are “remade, reduced, recycled,” celebrated his 10th anniversary in fashion with a ustainable collection, which he said goes so far as, “mulching, shredding and making our own insulation from the off-cuts of materials that are being made in our atelier in east London and then making them into Puffa jackets” for the runway collection, according to an interview with The Guardian.
Body positivity is finally having its moment in fashion, with more brands adopting inclusive sizing as demand for it has at last become apparent.
“We are beginning to see signs of fashion moving in the right direction. Designers such as Michael Kors and Christian Siriano are casting models that defy tradition, from Paloma Elsesser and Ashley Graham to Candice Huffine (our Facebook Live red carpet host for the 2018 CFDA Fashion Awards),” CFDA said.
7 For All Mankind chose Paloma Elsesser, the plus-sized model who took the industry by storm last year, for its own body-positive campaign in 2018. The campaign also coincided with the brand announcing it had expanded its sizing to appeal to a more diverse group of consumers.
NYDJ also launched a new body-positive and size-inclusive campaign in 2018 after a change in CFO led to new priorities for the denim brand.
Equality can mean many things to many people, but for CFDA, it means giving space to those who may not have had any over the history of the fashion industry.
“Fashion has a reputation of being an exclusive field to which many aspire but few succeed,” CFDA’s fourth resolution for 2019 read. “As we look to more diversity and inclusion, we also wish for more equity and equality so that everyone who loves fashion has a chance in 2019.”
No brand may have used equality and inclusivity to greater effect in 2018 than Levi’s. The brand rode a message of inclusion and equality to four straight quarters of growth over 2018 and the year prior.
However, not even Levi’s has come up with a solution for one particular inequality in fashion that everyone knows about but never speaks on: women’s pockets are scientifically smaller than men’s. It may seem like a small step, but that has proven the only way to affect change in fashion.