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Gucci’s Creative Chief Pledges Seasonless Designs. Will Other Labels Follow?

As the coronavirus crisis prompts many in the fashion industry to re-examine sustainability strategies, luxury label Gucci is the latest to join the conversation.

In an Instagram post on Sunday, creative director Alessandro Michele lent his voice to the chorus of critics decrying the fashion industry’s widespread wastefulness and inefficiency.

Michele took to the social platform to release musings ostensibly from his personal journal. The designer pledged to abandon “the worn-out ritual of seasonalities and shows” in order to adopt “a new cadence,” closer to his “expressive call.”

Characterizing previous seasonal denominations—“cruise, pre-fall, spring-summer, fall-winter”—as stale labels increasingly devoid of meaning, Gucci will now adhere to a schedule of just two seasonless shows per year, Michele wrote.

Earlier this month, an open letter from from brands, retailers, showroom operators and factories to the fashion industry at large lobbied for the permanent adjustment of the seasonality and flow of footwear, apparel and accessories, in an effort to “slow down and rediscover the storytelling and magic of fashion.”

In the wake of the crisis, the idea of adopting seasonless collections has taken hold across the sector. Product launches often occur long before peak wear time, with fall apparel launching while shoppers are still sweating through the summer, and shorts and swim hitting racks while snow melts across the country.

Michele described this timetable as a “tyranny of speed.” As it sought to entice shoppers with a constant barrage of newness, the fashion world fell out of sync with the needs of its shoppers. “Now we know that too furious was our doing, too insidious was our ride,” he wrote.

Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele says the luxury label will shift its fashion calendar and host two seasonless shows each year
Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele Chelsea Lauren/Shutterstock

The arbitrary deadlines also threaten to “humiliate creativity” in the service of expediency, he wrote. Instead, the Gucci designer wrote of experiencing “the gift of inactivity, slowly” in order to “linger on the dream, on the play, on the prefiguration” that promises to bring about expressive epiphany.

That breathing room could bring about the spark the label needs to regain its footing. Within Kering’s stable of luxury brands, Gucci has been hit hardest by the coronavirus crisis. An April earnings report showed the brand’s sales falling more than 22 percent year-over-year. Still, the label’s influence shows no signs of slowing, as Gucci began the year with double-digit growth in North America.