While Milan Fashion Week may be known for its calendar surrounded by a smattering of fashion behemoths such as Prada, Armani and Gucci, slowly but surely, a series of young talents have emerged during the years, favoured by industry insiders and celebrities alike.
Still, given the current situation, how will this crisis impact their businesses? Will we lose a generation of promising new voices or will these creatives emerge stronger than ever before?
On an economic level - most designers agree this crisis will have an enormous impact on them, a crisis that has already started to take a toll and whose signs are already visible.
“An emerging brand like ours has suffered and is suffering much more than a big brand for a thousand reasons, as not doing the pre-collections, for example, we certainly could not lean on those gains,” stated Marco Rambaldi.
Although, financially speaking, many designers are suffering - some are staying hopeful, finding the potential positive aspects of this crisis.
Gabriele Colangelo, for example, is focusing on the beneficial aspects of slowing down: “My attention, in these days of necessary suspension from everyday life to which we are accustomed, dwells even more - because it is a consideration on which I have long reflected - on time. I realise how in general the days have a frenetic, rapid development and how work is subjected to pressing rhythms without pause for elaboration.” The designer is now finding the time to dedicate himself to the study of details, new materials and craftsmanship.
Luca Magliano instead, is hoping his brand will come out of this crisis big and strong enough to make brave choices such as starting to made-to-measure or bespoke business on the side. Others, like Marco Rambaldi and Arthur Arbesser, are coming to the realisation that this is an opportunity to make their collections even more sustainable.
“I have decided to make future collections more edited, even smaller and even more personal. And for the next collection, we will use leftover fabrics from past seasons. My story will always be about a niche product and speak to a selected clientele and that is something I cherish and don't want to change,” said Arbesser.
Some others instead are finding creative solutions to solve their problems, inspired by their Chinese counterparts who presented their collections online at Shanghai Fashion Week reaching more than 2.5million viewers.
“We are developing strategies to define new timings and new formats for the next presentations such as digital platforms, virtual fashion weeks, interactive shows… At the moment, everything in the operational-production system has stopped but creativity, design and connection continue. If everything can start again soon, there will be time to create the collections,” explained Vivetta. “Companies are developing new ways of presentation and we set ourselves the goal of presenting the SS21 collection on the web at the beginning of July. Of course, there will be many limits and the experience and beauty of touching and feeling clothes would be lost, but we will do our best to have efficient results anyway.”
Like Vivetta, the duo behind Act N1 made up of Luca Lin and Galib Gassanoff has also been working on the digitalisation of experiences, which they believe will reduce costs and attract more customers abroad. However, although this could be an alternative solution to the upcoming problems, will this mean it will also change the way we shop?
While some designers such as Arthur Arbesser, Act N1 and Gabriele Colangelo believe it will, impacting also the way we travel, consume and more, others, like Luca Magliano, disagree: “If retail will change after this it will be because people’s perception of what is luxury or cool will change: in that case, creativity and retail will have to portray those new feelings.”