Change is sweeping through the fashion world. Heritage houses from Gucci to Burberry have been parting ways with long-established creative directors; businesses big and small have been rethinking their supply chains and investing in better-quality manufacturing closer to home. In fact, the very definition of luxury has had to change at a time of economic and political uncertainty. Over the past few months I have watched designers acknowledge the current state of global affairs by sending pared-down collections down the runway – often to the sound of ominous music.
You could interpret this mood swing as a sign of darker times to come but I see it as a much-needed shake-up of the industry. It is pushing many businesses to reassess their values, refocus on timeless dressing and craft, rather than continuing to produce disposable, trend-based designs. New business models are also taking shape: resale and repair companies in particular are beginning to thrive. A fresh crop of talent is being given more space to shape a modern vision for luxury.
While putting together the Style Directory in Monocle’s April issue, we spoke to some of these talents, getting a glimpse into the ideas that will shape the future of fashion. We started off with a visit to Pontevedra’s boundary-pushing design school, where students experiment with everything from screen printing to tailoring while enjoying Galicia’s relaxed lifestyle and tight-knit community. Then we rounded up the brands and retailers that have been turning customers’ attention back to the value of classic design and artisanal manufacturing. From London’s SMR Days, with its commitment to handcraft in menswear, to family-owned Unfeigned (pictured) in Madrid, known for its high-quality natural fabrics, there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic. These are just some of the brands proving that it’s important to bring a human touch to the business of getting dressed.
Natalie Theodosi is Monocle’s fashion editor. For more opinion, analysis and insight, subscribe to Monocle today.