The fashion industry is ending 2022 uncertain whether it can sustain the impressive growth that it has enjoyed over the past two years. According to The State of Fashion 2023, a new report by McKinsey & Company and The Business of Fashion, the sector is heading for a global slowdown. More than 56 per cent of the fashion executives polled for the report are expecting market conditions to worsen, pointing to issues including the war in Ukraine, high inflation and skills shortages.
What the report couldn’t have predicted are the rising tensions among some of the biggest luxury houses, which are bound to shift dynamics and move both spending and attention away from several of the top players. The exit of Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele last month, for example, highlighted fashion’s ongoing dependence on fleeting trends. Michele (pictured) was best known for sticking to his aesthetic rather than churning out entirely different collections every six months. As the brand’s owner, Kering, searches for his replacement, what lies ahead for Gucci remains unclear. The same goes for Balenciaga, another of Kering’s highest earners, which is facing criticism over controversial advertising featuring children.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. The top end of the market has been unaffected by economic downturns and luxury demand remains robust, with attention now shifting to the Middle Eastern and North American markets. The global appetite for dressing up has also stayed strong, with formalwear for special events among the top-three growth categories for the year ahead, according to the report. So, despite the challenges ahead, the new year offers the fashion industry a chance to rethink its values, explore new territories and bring back the joy of dressing for the occasion.
Natalie Theodosi is Monocle’s fashion editor.